Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, nobody wants to end up fighting over whose responsibility it is to fix a particular problem with their rental property. However, in many cases it can be inevitable because things have not been decided clearly enough in advance. In all cases, the best thing to do is ensure you have a written agreement that both parties sign, meaning that in future you can refer back to your document and establish who needs to deal with a particular issues as and when it crops up.
However, it can be tricky to know where to start when drawing up your agreement. Here are a few ideas of where the responsibility lies for a few specific examples.
The landlord is normally responsible for…
– Emergency plumbing and heating repairs, such as when there is no hot water or the heating doesn’t work properly in the winter
– Safe and functional electric wiring
– Security of the property, including locks and all exterior doors
– Serious leaks of any kind, whether water or gas, in the roof or the floor
– Damage to the property from a storm, a fire or other accidents
– Failure of essential appliances in the property that the landlord provided
– Reimbursing tenants if they had to pay for any of these emergency services
Landlords are also generally responsible for smaller repairs and anything that goes wrong with something they have provided. However, not all of these things have to be dealt with immediately, only within a “reasonable” amount of time. For this reason it’s a good idea for tenants to request everything in writing, so there is evidence that the landlord was informed of what needed doing and had the appropriate amount of time to ensure it was completed.
Tenants, meanwhile, are generally responsible for…
– Keeping the premises tidy and presentable
– Cleaning surfaces and ensuring the property is hygienic
– Preventing damage to floors, walls and ceilings by cleaning up spills
– Keeping away vermin and other pests
– Ensuring the garden or any outside space is safe, clean and tidy
– Reporting any issues to the landlord immediately
– Paying rent on time
– Everything else that has been agreed in writing with the landlord
If you are a tenant in a situation where your landlord is not keeping their end of the bargain despite what you have agreed in writing, it might be necessary to do some research and look for advice on where to turn next. However, in the majority of cases having an agreement from the beginning that seems reasonable to both parties will hopefully eliminate the problem of disputes in the future.