Property Management Q&A: Opening up the swimming pool and sweeping the chimney

Property Management Q&A: Opening up the swimming pool and sweeping the chimney

Do property management companies undertake small, irregular jobs or do they only operate on a ‘contract’ basis that require a minimum financial commitment?

Most property management companies will offer at least some type of minimum required services, however, many of the larger property management companies are increasingly offering bundles of services at different price points. This implies that if you want priority and  exceptional service, they prefer that you purchase a package of services, which usually means signing a contract or agreement for those services.

There are property management companies out there who will take on small irregular jobs on an adhoc basis, and provide just as good a service. However, increasingly, these are the small independent operators who are fully registered and insured but don’t have the marketing budget that larger companies have, so you may need to do some leg work in your local area to find them.

With summer fast approaching, we are looking for help with the swimming pool at our Dordogne holiday gîte. What maintenance and servicing do property management firms offer?

Even if there are no hard and fast rules about pool opening, sooner is preferable to later. Mid-March is optimal after a mild winter, whereas April is best after a colder season. Algae and other organics will begin to grow if the temperature remains over 18 degrees Celsius for a lengthy period of time.

A property manager’s pool care services include opening and closing pools, evaluating water quality and pH levels, cleaning the pool, maintaining the right water level, keeping the water transparent and bacteria-free, and monitoring and applying chemicals to maintain the appropriate water balance. A property manager who knows your pool can spot leaks or replace a pool alarm early.

When your pool is open and in continuous use, it is exposed to a variety of dirt that will settle in the water, such as dead leaves, pollen, and other debris; thus, regular inspections would be included in the services offered. When it comes to fixing pool equipment including filters, pumps, chlorinators, and heaters, property managers will usually call in a qualified pool technician.

What are the regulations for chimney maintenance in France and who can help with this?

The bylaws of most municipalities under Article L2213-26 of the Code général des collectivités territoriales will outline the particular requirements for chimney sweeping in your region. Usually, the mayor mandates that chimneys be cleaned by a professional sweep once or twice a year.

The frequency of usage will determine whether it must be performed once or twice a year. If you notice performance deteriorating, call your sweep. Poor performance is frequently due to using insufficiently seasoned wood leading to an excessive build-up of tar and creosote in the chimney. Blockages caused by bird or hornet nests can also be issues, especially after a period of zero use.

Registered ramoneurs (sweeps) can be found by contacting your Mairie, a local stove installation company, looking in the PagesJaunes, your local press or social media groups covering your area. Before leaving, the sweep will issue you with a facture and a certificat de ramonage confirming that the entire length of the chimney and flue has been swept mechanically by a brush slightly larger than the diameter of the chimney or flue, with all deposits removed and that the chimney complies with regulations.


Carmel O’Connell is a Director at Les Bons Voisins, the leading property management and maintenance service in France. For a full list of Les Bons Voisins’ services, including caretaking, property management and gardening, visit 

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