Sometimes the line between the landlord, and tenant’s responsibilities can be skewed, have a read this article to get some clarity on the subject.
Both landlords and tenants understanding their responsibilities will help negate future frustrations between the two parties.
Responsibilities Of A Tenant
The obligations of tenants should be set out in the tenancy agreement, of what is and isn’t permissible in the property or on its grounds. As well as this, there’ll be points referred to in the tenancy agreement relating to:
- Responsibilities for rent payments made on time and in full.
The agreed rent will be specified on the tenancy agreement, as well as the date it is due every month. The agreement will have been signed by the tenancy as a binding document that they are obliged to stick to.
- Responsibilities for all utility bills, including water rates and council tax.
As the tenants live in the property and have full use of the facilities there. They will be responsible for the payable bills, and all suppliers should be made aware of the tenant’s details, including the date they moved in. This’ll absolve the landlord from needing to make any payments if the tenants don’t.
In some cases, landlords will offer some or all of the bills inclusive of the asking rent. But bear in mind that usage of energy (gas and electricity) could be a fluctuation of how much you’ll pay on their behalf.
- Responsibilities for keeping the property and its grounds in good repair.
They should be keeping the property to a well-maintained standard during their tenancy. This’ll often include the upkeep of any green or garden spaces. Dumping rubbish and failing to keep the property in a clean condition could attract unwanted infestations of rodents and insects.
Not only that, but it’ll be detrimental to the rate of wear and tear occurring, meaning the landlord will be paying for replacement and repairs sooner than necessary.
- Do not sub-let the property, unless consent has been given by the landlord.
The tenancy agreement signed will have the authorised tenants to live there specified on it. The tenant finding further tenants to live in the property whilst paying them to rent is sub-letting. If expressed permission isn’t obtained from the landlord, it will be deemed illegal.
If consent is obtained, the original tenant should be following due diligence by conducting checks to ensure the applicant they’re taking on is suitable and trustworthy in following the guidelines set out in the original agreement provided by the landlord.
Otherwise, illegal sub-letting is a risk for all involved. With no idea of the type of people living on the property, the landlord and original tenant are exposed to legal issues, not to mention a lack of rights if possession needs to be gained of the property again. A landlord or letting agent’s responsibilities are to be conducting periodic inspections of the property, including a visual check of who is residing there.
- Allowing for periodic inspections to be carried out.
This moves me onto inspections, there is no set period to inspect a property. Not too often as to inconvenience the tenant, but not too far apart as to potentially miss issues or neglect parts of the property.
We recommend an inspection every 3-4 months, whilst checking the people living in the property, that the condition of the property is being maintained well, and that there is no illegal activity happening there.
- Responsibilities to repair or replace any accidental damage occured.
Unless it’s as a result of a failure, mechanical breakdown, or general wear and tear, responsibilities are with the tenants for any breakages to be repaired or replaced.
For example, the fridge freezer provided as part of the white goods in a property stops working. As long as it didn’t stop working as a result of someone doing something to break it, it is the responsibilities of the landlord that should seek to repair or replace it. However, if the tenant tips the fridge freezer over when moving it, it would be their responsibility to deal with it. The expectation for the landlord to fix someone else’s fault is incorrect.
- Responsibilities to ensure all of the tenant’s guests are well-behaved.
A tenant is responsible for anyone they willingly allow into the property, and as such, should be held accountable for their behaviour. Whether it be noise pollution or damage to the actual property, regardless of how or why it’s the tenant’s job to seek to mediate or repair the issue.
- Repairs and decoration.
Reasonably, there should be a discussion and agreement in place, so the tenant understands the responsibilities they hold for repairs or decoration. This’ll iron out any confusion should you expect them to do any work on the property.
Bear in mind that light scuffs on paint etc will usually be classed as wear and tear. However, if a child has been scribbling on walls, wallpaper has been maliciously peeled or damaged, or there are whole rooms needing to be repainted due to negligence on the tenant’s behalf, the tenant will usually be responsible to make the necessary repairs. This is where inspections will benefit a landlord, as it’ll get the tenants an opportunity to carry out the work whilst still living there, as opposed to making deductions from the tenancy deposit on their departure.
Maintaining A Good Business-Like Relationship
Regardless of the experience, you’ve had with them, keep a good business-minded relationship with your tenants. Maintain a good level of respect and treat them equally as you would any other client.
Remember, your commitments are outlined in a tenancy agreement, just as the tenant’s commitments are. Both parties have signed to this effect and are expected to uphold them. From the beginning of any tenancy, start a steady relationship from then.
Bear in mind these three points for a simpler route to renting your property:
- Remember that all properties, no matter new, require regular maintenance. Whether it be your legal obligation to arrange a gas safety check, or periodic decorating to ensure upkeep, this should be kept in mind.
- Insuring appliances that you include could save you money in the long run. Many more landlords are now, more than ever, including white goods in the tenancy agreement. However, having to repair or replace a cooker-oven, fridge-freezer or washing machine is an unexpected cost that isn’t usually welcome. This is where insurance can be beneficial, as it usually means paying a small excess, whilst the rest is subsidised by the insurer.
The same principle can be followed with the gas appliances such as boilers and radiators. Having to repair or replace can be quite costly, so having the necessary covers will most likely save you a lot of money.
- Having local tradesmen that you can trust is priceless. Initially, it may be a case of trial and error, to find the right contractor for you and your needs. But once you’ve settled on one, providing them with the work that comes your way will build a working relationship, and it’ll make it more likely they can be on hand for those jobs you ask of them at short notice!
The main factor to remember is that a tenant will be responsible for the property whilst living there and unless it’s legally a landlord’s responsibility, the tenant should be taking up normal tenants’ duties wherever possible.
Have a clear line of communication with your tenant if they ever need direct contact for emergency issues. And if you’re an overseas landlord, you should definitely have a letting agent or friend/family member managing the property and being the tenant’s main point of contact.
As property experts here at Abbey Property, we’re well versed in establishing clear and separate landlord and tenant responsibilities to ensure there are no qualms in having them sorted.
Contact me to discuss how to have your property, its tenancy and the associated responsibilities managed for a small monthly fee so that you don’t need to worry about issues such as these!