Landlords need to know how to find reliable tradespeople to maintain and repair their rental properties. When you find a great plumber or decorator, it’s a great feeling. You know your property is safe with them.
But if you need to find someone new, the prospect can be daunting. No one wants to pay over the odds for a sub-par job. Luckily, there are some tried and tested ways to get in touch with good tradespeople, even if you don’t live in the area.
We’re going to break these up into two groups: online and offline.
How to Find Good Tradespeople Online
Just like finding tenants, most people now begin their search for tradespeople online. Here’s where you should look.
There are many trades websites to explore. Two of the most popular are:
They allow you to read reviews from previous customers to get a sense of what the trader is like to work with. This feedback is very useful, but as always, keep in mind other trust factors, such as professional certificates.
Certification Sites and Registers
Some trades require traders to be certified to operate. Others have optional schemes that ensure a minimum level of competence. You can usually check the sites of these schemes to find a register of trustworthy traders.
The broadest such site is the Government’s TrustMark site, which covers every trade from air conditioning to window installation.
For gas work, you can go straight to the Gas Safe register. Although the register is best known for letting you check whether gas engineers have the mandatory Gas Safe certificate, you can also do a location-based search for an engineer near your property. And, of course, you know they will be Gas Safe.
The local authority website
The website of the local authority that your property is in is likely to have a list of approved traders. You can find the council area the property is in using this postcode checker.
Which?, the consumer watchdog, has its own trusted trader scheme. Every operator is checked and assessed by Which?. Which? are known for their unbiased and straightforward assessment of all consumer issues, and don’t let people use their logo lightly.
Ask the OpenRent Community for tips in your area
Want a more personal approach? Why not ask the thousands of landlords who use the OpenRent Community forum for advice. These experienced landlords love to share their tips and help others.
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Offline Ways to Find Good Tradespeople
The Internet, of course, does not have a monopoly on useful tips for finding an electrician. This is especially true of tradespeople — a sector better known for their beautiful plastering than beautiful websites! Here are some old school, ‘real world’ ways to meet reliable, professional tradies.
Ask other landlords
If you know other landlords in your area, they can be a great source of knowledge and information. Why not ask them if they have any recommendations? Even if they don’t, they may know someone who knows someone. Landlords like to help each other out — and your fellow landlord will understand your concerns and priorities.
If you don’t know any landlords, you can meet dozens of landlords at your next local NRLA meeting. This is the National Residential Landlord Association. They run regular meetings across England and Wales and offer some great advice and tips.
Check with your neighbours
If you know any people who live on the same street as your rental property, it is well worth asking them for a recommendation. This ensures the trader will be active in the right area. You can also ask your own neighbours or people you see having similar work performed on their property.
Speak to letting agents
If you’re really stuck, and live far away from the property, you could ask a local estate agent if they know any good tradespeople to recommend. If you let them think you may use their services in future when selling the property, they are sure to avoid foisting a cowboy trader on you!