A difficult part of residential property management that many people don’t naturally think of is how to employ and manage contractors. Finding and hiring the correct gardener with a green thumb for the block of flats you manage is sometimes easier said than done. Learn how to begin with our top tips:
The first task you need to do is to take a good look at the garden of your residential block and evaluate what you need. Individual gardeners and general contractors will need to know what is required of them. Gardeners will all have a basic knowledge of horticulture, but the trees, flowers, fountains and decorations in your communal garden may require a contractor with particular specialities. Even if you have only a simple strip of British lawn surrounding your residential block of flats, you may need to investigate specialised lawn treatments after droughts and hot spells.
Finding a good gardener, especially at a good rate, can be surprisingly hard. While you might instantly run to Google, word of mouth, as well as estate agents & tenants themselves, can be a good source of contacts and recommendations.
When you have done a bit of research, you should check the following questions:
- How experienced is the gardener/contractor?
- What references do they have? Can you trust their references?
- Do they have a complaints procedure?
- Do they have experience with managing a block of flat’s communal garden?
The answers to these questions will depend on what and who you are looking for. If you have a large communal garden for your residential property, you may want to even investigate if your potential gardener has a license to spray pesticides.
Whether working with an individual or an agency, you must ensure that they are not at risk as well as any residents, employees and visitors are not at risk from the gardener’s actions.
An extract from the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states:
“Section 3 requires employers to ensure that:
- their activities do not endanger persons, not in their employ, and
- information is given concerning potential health and safety hazards.
Section 4 places duties on occupiers and/or owners of premises to ensure that:
- the premises, plant and substances contained in them are safe and without risks to health, and
- reasonable measures are taken to provide safe access.”
If you are managing a block of residential flats and responsible for hiring contractors, we recommend Directors & Officers Liability insurance. This provides you with protection against claims for financial losses by residents or third parties.