What is a property maintenance company?

What is a property maintenance company?

There’s a lot of work that goes into taking care of a building. From simple tasks like changing the lightbulbs in the hallways to doing bigger jobs like repairs after storm damage, if you’re lucky it can sometimes seem like these things magically get done. But there aren’t any handyman fairies looking out for your block of flats - this is where property maintenance companies come in.

Whether you’re a landlord trying to figure out if it’s worth hiring a property maintenance company, or you’re a leaseholder or tenant trying to figure out exactly what you’re paying for each month, it’s worth brushing up on your property maintenance knowledge. So stick around, in this blog we’ll take you through it all.

Property maintenance companies - what are they?

First things first, what are actually are property maintenance companies? Are they the same thing as property management companies? The answer there is no - but they’re often confused with each other.

A property management company can be like a middleman between landlords and leaseholders or tenants in a block of flats. So, they’ll be responsible for things like finding new tenants, charging them rent, handling any complaints they have, or even evicting them if necessary. A property management company usually employs a company for property maintenance services, but that’s where the overlap ends.

The property maintenance company is responsible for keeping your property in good condition. They’re often employed when a landlord manages multiple properties, their property is large (like blocks of flats), or it will be vacant for an extended period of time. So, your landlord might have you contact the local property maintenance company next time you’re in need of a handyman.

What do property maintenance companies do?

A property maintenance company provides services like fixing, cleaning, and building work for residents of a property. Some of the services that will generally be covered by them are:

  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Carpentry
  • Graffiti removal
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical work
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) work
  • Pest control
  • General repairs

So, what can you actually ask them to do? The company’s services will depend on the type of property and the work they’ve agreed to do with the landlord or property manager. The perfect property maintenance company would be able to fix, clean, or build anything you can think of, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Once you’ve got a job you need them to do, you might be wondering how you actually get them to do it? Do you ask your landlord or property manager first, or can you go directly to them?

In general, if you have the property maintenance company’s contact details they will be used to tenants and leaseholders coming directly to them with issues that need fixing. When you move in, though, it’s always best to check with your landlord or freeholder whether they’d prefer you contact them or the property maintenance company directly. To make sure you’re not asking for something that’s not paid for, it’s also always worth asking exactly what services they’ll provide.

What are the advantages of a property maintenance company?

Now you’ve got the low down on what property maintenance companies do, you might be wondering whether it’s worth paying for one? Or maybe you’ve seen the charge for the company as part of your monthly rent and you’re questioning whether you’re getting your money’s worth. To help, let’s break down some of the advantages of having a company for building and property maintenance.

Advantages for tenants

As a tenant, seeing that a property maintenance company is included in the service charge can be a big plus. As you’ve essentially got someone on retainer to fix things that go wrong in your flat, there’s likely to be less of a delay getting repairs done, as your landlord won’t have to find a contractor first. Once you know them as well, you’ll be able to reach out to them directly and will be able to establish a good relationship with them.

Advantages for landlords

Although it comes with additional costs, property maintenance services for landlords also come with plenty of advantages. Here are some of the top ones:

  • Help maintain the value of your property. Keeping things clean and in a good state of repair will help you in the long run. And having someone in to fix little things decreases the likelihood of something big going wrong.
  • Save money long-term. Constantly hiring individual contractors for different tasks can end up costing more for each of their fees than paying a blanket cost to a property maintenance company - and you’ll be able to plan how much money you’re spending in advance.
  • Saves you time. Having a property maintenance company means you won’t be having to find and organise lots of different contractors' visits.
  • Keeps tenants happy. You’ll be more likely to have a good relationship with your tenant and keep them long-term if they’re living somewhere that’s kept clean and in good condition.

What are the disadvantages of a property maintenance company?

Although there are quite a few advantages to hiring a property maintenance company, there are of course some disadvantages that are worth taking into account. The biggest thing to consider when weighing up the pros and cons of having a property maintenance company is that you’ll pay a monthly fee.

Although it’s definitely a pro to know exactly how much money you’ll be spending each month, if the building doesn’t need many repairs that month you may end up paying for work that didn’t actually get done. So, if you’re a landlord with low maintenance tenants, or your property is generally in pretty good condition, you may want to think twice before you shell out that extra bit of cash.  

Another thing to note is that because a property maintenance company generally operates on a one-size-fits-all approach for repairs, if you have some work that will need a more specialised approach you may still need to hire another contractor for the work.

A final disadvantage to note is that property maintenance companies tend to only be prepared for the work they expect each month. So fixing a couple of tenants’ toilets? They should be able to handle that. But if you’re having large-scale plumbing issues affecting every flat then some of your tenants could be waiting weeks for help - and as the landlord, you might be out of pocket to compensate them for that time.

A few final tips…

If you’re a landlord trying to decide whether to hire a property maintenance company or not it’s worth going through everything on-site that would benefit from regular attention. Is there a garden that will need tending, lots of communal areas that need cleaning, or maybe a rubbish room that will need emptying?

You’ll also want to consider how many people from the company you’d need to employ to maintain the property. Once you’ve weighed these up and checked out some costs of the local property maintenance services you’ll be on your way!