As a landlord, what are you responsible for?

Sometimes, disputes arise between landlords and tenants, with each claiming the other is responsible for certain maintenance issues and other aspects to do with the property. As a landlord, what are you responsible for, and what should the tenant be doing around the property?

Here is a list of what responsibilities fall to who:

Landlord:

  • You are responsible for maintaining the property’s exterior and interior, including the pipes and drains
  • You should ensure the supply of water, gas, electricity and heat is in working order, and any sanitation facilities such as the toilet, sinks, bath and shower as well as any heating installations are working properly
  • The gas supply and any appliances need to be deemed safe, an approved engineer must carry out an annual check and provide a certificate. The same is true for any electrical appliances
  • You must also provide an Energy Performance Certificate
  • Any furniture must meet fire safety standards
  • You need to ensure the property is supplied with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors (where relevant)

Tenant:

  • They are responsible for any minor maintenance. Examples include replacing a fuse or a lightbulb. They don’t need to call you to do that!
  • They should keep the property clean. This includes the exterior too, in terms of keeping the lawn cut and windows clean
  • If they break anything, then they should fix this. So, if they make a hole in the wall, dent in the floor, break the oven, whatever it is, then they should fix it
  • If anything breaks down in the property, such as the boiler, washing machine or oven, then they have an obligation to report it to you, ideally in writing as well as verbally
  • They have to look after the rubbish and recycling at the property. They must ensure the right bins are put out to be collected on the right day as required by the council
  • They need to live by the terms of the agreement they signed. So if you have determined that they can’t smoke in the property, put nails in the wall, or anything else which affects the property, then that’s what they need to do
  • This next point is very important. They should keep the property well ventilated to prevent condensation or damp. Likewise, they need to ensure the property is adequately heated in winter to avoid problems like burst pipes. This includes undertaking any precautions for any periods they leave the property as part of their agreement, such as when they are away on holiday, or visiting family and friends
  • They are also responsible for paying all relevant utility bills, such as the council tax and gas and electricity

Hopefully this clears up any doubt that you or your tenant may have. I can’t count the number of times I have had to play mediator between parties to resolve situations such as the ones above. And if any of the above seems like too much hassle, then why not hand it all over to me! Then your landlord obligations become the letting agent obligations!

 

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