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What Are My Maintenance Responsibilities As A Landlord? - Abbey Property Luton

What are my maintenance responsibilities as a landlord?

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It is, and always will be your responsibility as a landlord to keep your property in a fit state to be rented. That all water, heating, and electricals are easily accessible and safe to use.

It’s for your best interests too, if tenants can prove you weren’t providing them with those necessities, or weren’t addressing them promptly, it could lead to being unable to evict them if needed.

There isn’t an exact list of the requirements of what must be done, however acting with intention and reason will help steer away from any unwanted issues. The property is your asset, we’d recommend you treat it as such and go beyond expectations to rectify any issues. This’ll mean your property is well looked after, and your tenants will be pleased that you’ve been so helpful.

Landlord responsibilities can be, but are not limited to…

  • An Electrical Installation Condition Report. To be renewed every 5 years by a qualified electrician, it ensures the safety of the electrical features of the property. A legal requirement.
  • A Gas Safety Certificate. Conducted by a Gas Safe Engineer who will provide you with a certificate to keep for your own records as well as supply to the tenant. A legal requirement.
  • A Fire Risk Assessment. There are guides online to help you through this process, but for novice landlords, calling in a professional is recommended.
  • Smoke, Heat and Carbon Monoxide Tests. These should be tested and recorded on when the tests were carried out.
  • A Legionella Bacteria Assessment. The assessment will analyse and determine the risk of this deadly bacteria.
  • General Maintenance Issues. Things such as loose or broken fittings, windows and fixtures, décor, and flooring. These should be inspected and addressed so the tenant moves in with no complaints.
  • Wear and Tear. Things such as cleared drains, tidied gardens and green areas, light bulbs etc. Sorting these will give the tenant an indication of what standards should be upheld.
  • Landlord Insurance. As a responsible landlord your insurer will have a ‘Reasonable Standard’ expectation, meaning you should be taking reasonable precautions to ensure the property is in good standing. And not neglecting issues expecting the insurance to pick up the slack upon you making a claim. Hazards such as gutters, drains, bannisters, roof tiles etc should be maintained to minimise loss.

How quick should I work? What’s acceptable?

This is subjective, put yourself in a tenant’s shoes. Would you be happy with waiting days on end with no help?

Respond to the query within 24 hours to let them know you’re aware of the issue, and that you’ll be on the case to get it sorted. Be clear and concise with your tenants, make them aware of what steps you’ll be taking to help them, and they’ll appreciate your time and hopefully they won’t keep calling you!

Efficiency 

The EPC register reads the scale from ‘A’ to ‘G’, ‘A’ being most efficient, to ‘G’ being the least.

Be aware that an ‘F’ or ‘G’ rating is not legally acceptable to let out, improvements must be made to the property to increase the efficiency rating to ‘E’ or above, then it’ll be suitable and legal to have tenants in.

Communication

It’s imperative you keep communication to tenants in writing either by recorded post or in receipted email form. Any telephone communication should be followed up with the same information in writing, this helps negate any deniability of any information discussed between both parties. Not following these procedures could sting you in the future if the tenant disputes an issue, it’ll make it difficult to evict them if necessary.

minimum of 24 hours should be given when access is needed into the property, good practice is to make a direct phone call and reinforce it with an email supporting the same information. There should be no confusion that way. Include details such as approximate time, purpose of visit, and information of the contractor or representative visiting.

Withheld rent

In no circumstance is it acceptable for a tenant to withhold rent, an agreement would have been signed, and one of the conditions will have been paying the rent on a certain date every month without fail.

In the unlikely situation they’re not satisfied you’re meeting the properties needs or not being communicative enough, they have appropriate legal processes that can be taken to action upon any issues. Tenant’s that stop paying rent could be giving you ammunition for grounds to evict them, but this is on the basis you have done everything you need to as a landlord and it’s been done efficiently.

Charging tenants for repairs

In most cases, no. General repairs to meet the standards of living will need to be funded by the landlord. The only time a tenant is liable, is if they’ve damaged something themselves, this would be best noticed by looking back at the check in/schedule of condition.

Are property repairs tax deductibles?

Questions surrounding property tax is a tricky area, and you should approach a specialist in that area for the relevant answers. 
Generally, bills for repairs or maintenance are deductible. However, home improvements aren’t usually deductible.

Having an accountant that specialises in this field will usually be kept up to date with the legislation and will be able to guide you in the right direction.

Maintenance Insurance

Most maintenance is down to wear and tear, and insurance policies don’t cover for that. It is something you’ll have to keep up with regularly to ensure the property doesn’t start to degrade.

In some instances, such as boiler breakdown cover, you’ll have specific policies to cover certain items that need repairs or replacement occasionally.

What else?

Delving into the world of owning and/or managing rental properties is a complicated one, getting in contact with your local authority or council will be of use as they should have a housing team to help you familiarise yourself with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

Keep up with repairs and maintenance, maintain consistent contact with your tenants, and carry out work steadily so it doesn’t all creep up on you at once, usually meaning a heftier bill to pay all at once. A satisfied tenant will hopefully mean no void periods, rent arrears, or troubled experiences.

Landlord Advice