“Prevention is better than cure.” Nice proverb, but analytical pre-emption is better than both. Some things are predictable, even inevitable, like the proverbial “death and taxes.” Planning is unnatural – effort is required to provide solutions to alleviate the spectre of problems yet to manifest. Meantime, a lack of urgency placates all but the most determined to de-prioritise preparations. The natural tendency is to trade proaction for procrastination. Few could envisage an ambulance arriving at an emergency without oxygen or bandages on board – life and death situations allow no scope for such dereliction of duty. Maintenance is seldom critical – so sloppy disorganisation is tolerated. Preparation reduces stress, and once disciplined, requires far less effort. Ask yourself: “What is required to motivate kick-starting myself into action?”

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Landlords conducting their own maintenance, take heart! The Landlord’s Boot focuses on being prepared for likely emergencies and maintenance matters, during the course of an academic year. How do we best prepare and utilise storage space within a vehicle: car, van, etc. In order to quickly access the requisite tools and spares to effect a speedy repair The Landlords Boot or vehicle is, ideally, compartmentalised into appropriately sized pockets, to hold the minimum number of specific spares likely needed at any time unique weed pipes.

The aim is to avoid unnecessary time-consuming duplicate trips to DIY stores to procure items predictably needed, sooner or later. An efficient operative could instead, be onto the next job. Carrying a spare stop-cock can save more than time, it can prevent a leak becoming a flood! But without foresight such items are not to hand when needed.

Having everything one might need may be unwise. A problem with having a well stocked Landlords Boot arises when searching for what is needed amongst what is not. Too many spares clutters both the boot, and the mind. By the time the tidy boot has been emptied and hastily refilled during an emergency search, a leak might have become a flood. So how is a balance achieved between carrying too many, and too few, spares?

The first step is to analyse an average twelve months’ call-outs. Good record keeping makes this job very easy. Estate Agents have expensive software detailing exactly what, where and how many different categories of call-outs occur per year. At its simplest, this might translate into a printed laminate table of four seasons. Each season’s needs then correspond to the contents of the Landlords Boot . This table prompts progressive Boot change-overs at the turn of each season. For those without state-of-the-art software – experience and memory might need to suffice, until a clearer pattern emerges following the awareness of the need to keep records. In time, it will become apparent what is needed. The reason for twelve months analysis is logically that there are four seasons in a year – each with its’ own unique demands. In winter a broken down boiler might be an emergency, unlike in summer. So the contents of The Landlords Boot might vary to include small portable electric radiators in cold seasons.

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