When it comes to renting a property, liability for things included as part of the tenancy is not always clear cut. Although some responsibilities are black and white there are areas where the lines get blurred. There are many grey areas in terms of who is responsible for what therefore, it is advisable to get these things agreed by both parties before the commencement of the tenancy. Some properties present circumstances where liability needs to be negotiated. Who bears the cost of sweeping the chimney above the log burner, or polishing that unique parquet floor for example.
Well, to help with these common conundrums, KeyRing Lettings has collated some of the most common areas that can cause confusion.
Who is responsible for…?
The landlord is responsible for the maintenance and repairs to the roof unless the damage has been caused by the tenant. As with all damages in a rental property, the landlord or letting agency needs to be informed immediately so they can arrange a repair and avoid further damage being caused. This is particularly poignant with roof repairs as a leak can cause a tremendous amount of further damage if left untreated.
The landlord should ideally have adequate fencing in situ before the tenancy commences. However, should the fence become damaged due to extreme weather conditions, for example, then this falls under the responsibility of the landlord.
During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the garden and should ensure that the fences are looked after and not damaged due to carelessness or neglect.
This one falls to the tenant. It is their obligation to keep the property clean and all appliances in good working condition.
That said, it is worth noting that the property should be presented in a clean and orderly condition at the start of the tenancy. Some landlords or letting agents will arrange for a professional clean prior to tenants moving in, however, there is no legal obligation to do so. In a property where there are communal areas, the landlord/maintenance company should arrange the cleaning for these areas.
The landlord is responsible for the decoration of a rental property, but they are under no obligation to decorate before, during or after a tenancy. While some landlords are happy for the tenant to give the property a lick of paint, others aren’t so keen or may refuse a request altogether. If a tenant views a property of which the décor is not to their taste they would be well advised to ask in advance if the landlord is happy for any decorating.
Also, it’s worth considering that the landlord may want to request the property is redecorated professionally at the end of the tenancy. If the decoration is not done to a workmanlike standard (is your cutting-in any good?!).
Damage to interior walls and fixtures
Well, this depends on the nature of the damage in the specific instance.
The most sensible approach is: if the tenant causes damage, they are responsible for the cost of repairing the damage to a workmanlike standard (no bodge jobs!).
If a fixture within the property breaks or is damaged through no fault of the tenant, the landlord will have to arrange the repair and cover the cost.
When the tenant leaves the property a certain amount of wear and tear must be taken into consideration during the property deposit release process, but the cost of actual damage can be claimed for from the deposit. Holes in walls from hanging pictures could be considered damage so from a tenants’ perspective it is advisable to ascertain where the landlord stands on putting things up on the walls.
If the tenant loses a key during the duration of the tenancy agreement, they must arrange and bear the cost of the locks being changed. The landlord or letting agent must be informed and provided with a new key. If the tenant does not return all the keys at the end of the tenancy, the landlord can arrange for the locks to be changed and, again, the tenant will have to bear the cost.
Overall the best advice is to encourage a harmonious tenant-landlord-agent relationship by pre-empting any situation that could potentially cause a disagreement, and iron out specific details where possible.
Special conditions can be included where needed when drawing up the tenancy agreement. It is essential that arrangements are fair for everyone (avoid unrealistic expectations) and don’t assume responsibility will be on the other party.
Always apply common sense in abundance (of course your landlord isn’t going to come and change a lightbulb for you, and no your tenant can’t rewire the property).
But if in doubt, ask your letting agent.
Regular property inspections as part of the property management can ensure that any issues get reported regularly and a signed inventory accompanied with adequate and extensive property photos will be worth their weight in gold at the end of the tenancy – if there are any discrepancies regarding tenancy deposit release.
If you need help with letting out your property or are considering doing so, please don’t hesitate to get I touch with our team here at KeyRing Lettings. We are open from 9-5 pm, Monday – Friday. Call: 01749 681356.