Do you know your rights whether you are a landlord or tenant?
When a tenant moves into rented accommodation it can often be very confusing trying to establish which aspects of that property come under their responsibility and which aspects are the responsibility of the landlord.
More often than not even the landlord isn’t fully aware of his responsibilities and this can ultimately lead to disputes and misunderstandings between the landlord and the tenant. Although much of the responsibilities will be laid out in the tenancy agreement the legal terms used within the document make deciphering the agreement somewhat of a challenge unless the tenant has a certain amount of legal knowledge. Ideally the landlord should go through each section of the tenancy agreement with the tenant or, better still; the tenant should seek the advice of a solicitor to help get a full understanding of the terms and conditions of the agreement. However, this isn’t always possible and so below are the common responsibilities that both the tenant and landlord can expect to take on during tenancy.
A landlord is responsible for the exterior of his property and this includes:
- All exterior doors and window
- All exterior walls and roofing
- All gutters, drains and pipes
- Garden walls, gates and fences
- Gardens and patios – Although, in some cases tenants are often happy to take on this responsibility and this may prove more convenient for the both the tenant and the landlord.
A landlord also has specific obligations within the property and these include:
- The maintenance, repair or replacement of all interior electrical wiring and electrical sockets
- The maintenance, repair or replacement of radiators, water tanks and boilers
- The maintenance, repair or replacement of baths, basins, sinks and toilets
- If the property has a gas supply then the landlord is responsible for ensuring that the gas boiler is serviced every 12 months by a Corgi registered engineer
- The property should also have an up to date Energy Performance Certificate
- If the property is being let either part or fully furnished the landlord must ensure that all furnishings, white goods and other appliances are in good working order and safe for the tenant to use
- A landlord is also responsible for dealing with any issues of internal damp caused by external faults such as a leaking roof or burst pipes.
Responsibilities of the Tenant during Tenancy
The tenant is responsible for keeping the interior of the property and any furnishings already in the property clean and well maintained, this includes:
The up keep, maintenance and, if necessary, repair of all internal doors
- The up keep, maintenance and, if necessary, repair of any internal skirting boards
- The up keep, maintenance and, if necessary, repair of all internal plasterwork
- The repair or replacement of any breakages caused by the tenant
- The replacement of blown light bulbs
- The removal of any blockages caused by the tenant from sinks, basins, baths and toilets
- The replacement of blown electrical fuses
A tenant may take on the responsibility of the garden, patio or outside area and, on agreeing to do so, would be expected to keep the area in question tidy and well maintained.
The Tenancy Agreement
Although the tenancy agreement is a legally binding agreement between the tenant and the landlord and should be adhered to by both parties there are some instances where, even if the landlord has included certain tenant responsibilities within the agreement, a tenant is not obligated to carry them out.
This may include:
- When the landlord states that the maintenance and regular inspection of a gas boiler or appliance is the responsibility of the tenant. Under no circumstances should this responsibility fall on the tenant and the landlord should ensure that, before the property is even let out, a thorough check has been carried out on all gas appliances and boilers and that he is in receipt of a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate of which the tenant should receive a copy.
- It is also highly unusual that a tenant should be expected to completely redecorate the property at the end of their agreement unless it is clearly stated in the tenancy agreement and has been agreed by both parties. If the interior walls and ceiling of the property have been kept in good repair by the tenant and there is no mention of complete redecoration in the agreement then a tenant is not obligated to redecorate and the landlord has no right to withhold their deposit.
The deposit paid by the tenant at the start of their tenancy agreement is usually the equivalent to one month’s rent and, by law, should be held in a secure holding account with the Deposit Protection Service or DPS. On vacating the rented property a tenant will need to apply to the DPS for the return of their deposit and a landlord has no right to withhold a deposit without good reason.
However, there are some circumstances under which the landlord has a right to withhold some or even all the tenant’s deposit and this may include an occasion where the tenant had caused damaged to the property or furnishings belonging to the landlord and had not repaired or replaced the items in question.A landlord cannot withhold part or all of the tenant’s deposit for general wear and tear of the property or for the tenant refusing to replace furnishings which were already damaged when they moved in.
If you would like to know more about the responsibilities of landlords and tenants during tenancy or would like to find out more about property letting and renting visit lettingaproperty.com
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