14:35 PM, 27th October 2010, About 12 years ago
Tenants pick up the phone and call the landlord or letting agent at the first hint of a problem with the home they are renting – but it’s not always down to the property owner to foot repair bills.
The landlord has an obligation to make sure a rental property is fit for someone to live in – but that does not mean they are responsible for every problem once the tenants has moved in.
Most property investors find five main areas of conflict with tenants over looking after a home:
Condensation and damp
One of the biggest causes of problems is drying washing on radiators with the windows closed rather than hanging clothing and bedding out to dry.
The other is taking hot showers and baths without ventilating bathrooms.
Both lead to condensation that turns in to damp and mould over time.
If the house was damp and mould-free when the tenants moved in and needs cleaning and repair as the result of problems from condensation, then the tenant should foot that bill as their action has caused the problem.
Blocked drains are another common problem – and once again if the pipes were clear when the tenant moved in, clearing a blockage is a cost that’s down to them.
No self-respecting landlord should let a property infested by rats, mice or insects, but on the other hand, tenants should make sure rubbish is collected and they don’t keep a home in a state that encourages vermin.
Providing a full inventory is completed on moving in, picking up damage on inspections and moving out is straightforward.
Fittings, carpets and decoration will deteriorate over time however a tenant treats the property. Claiming back these costs is unreasonable.
Completing a video inventory with the tenant when they take on a property is the best way to agree the state of repair. Signing off the inventory should include handing over a house guide that details where stopcocks and fuse boxes are located and how to operate appliances.
Don’t forget to include a guide to ventilating the home and a statement that explains if you need to call out workmen to deal with condensation, vermin or clearing rubbish, then that cost may be passed to the tenant if the problem results from their misuse of the property.