Gavin Castle, Director at leading London Property Maintenance Company, Zest Property Services believes that Letting Agents should be encouraged to carefully vet any contractors they use in the course of their Property Management duties.
He is quick to note that a prestigious chain of leading London and national Estate / Property Management agents have already taken this on board, and given all of their contractors up until the 31st May 2016 to provide satisfactory Health & Safety accreditation, or face being removed from their list of preferred contractors.
As a major player in the London property rentals market, this property management company have taken it upon themselves to move away from the trend of Letting Agents shifting the responsibility for full accreditation onto the contractors themselves, and not asking for any proof of the same. By insisting that their property management agents only ever use fully accredited contractors, they are offering an extra layer of security for landlords, tenants and the contractors themselves.
Castle wholeheartedly believes that Estate Agents should not be relying on contractors to vet themselves, which is what is happening in the market currently, and that it should be mandatory that contractors achieve a Health and safety accreditation at the very least. This ensures a uniform standard of work across the board.
Castle is keen to question why more agencies aren’t adopting this approach. As a fully accredited company, Zest Property Services recognises the benefits for all involved and is more than willing to adhere to compliance requests from Agents. From personal experience he knows just how important the correct training and awareness is for his own staff. When a member of his roofing team was recently faced with a roof panel ladened with asbestos, he was competent enough to recognise the substance, isolate the area and call on the services of a dedicated asbestos removal team. He says “if our roofer had not completed his Asbestos awareness training then he would not have spotted the potentially lethal Asbestos, making the situation very dangerous for both our roofer and the tenants”.
Castle would like to see a minimum standard of accreditation brought in across the board, including:
· A legal requirement to vet contractors.
· A legal definition of the absolute minimum standards expected of contractors.
· The Government to make this a priority given the nationwide domination of rental properties, especially in big cities where house purchase prices are at an all time high.
· A review of the current Government measures to tackle the housing crisis that have been laid out without any additional safeguards to protect landlords and tenants from unregulated contractors.
· Mandatory membership of trade bodies like Acclaim, CHAS, SafeContractor or similar schemes that can check, inspect, validate and enforce safe working practise’s throughout the industry
· Regulating Estate Agents to only use accredited contractors as a minimum safety standard for both landlords and tenants. Most Agents are not experts in property maintenance, but by ensuring that their contractors are members of approved SSIP Health and Safety scheme, they can reduce the responsibility of the health and safety burden which current legislation places upon them.
Zest Property Services are a fully accredited property maintenance company offering a wide range of services to Landlords, Tenants and Agents within London. You can find out more about the full range of services they offer at www.zestpropertyservices.com.
Zest Property Services, Windsor Park, 50 Windsor Avenue, Wimbledon, London SW19 2TJ
Telephone: 0208 871 9323
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