Can we fix it – Yes, WE can!
One of the common questions asked by a tenant is ‘Who is responsible for fixing any problems?’ Many feel it is up to the landlord to fix every little issue, so we’re going to discuss the issues here and identify who is responsible to fix them.
A tenant is expected to live in rental property in a way that will not cause damage to the fixtures and fittings. This means that they should act with care and attention, and do not neglect or sabotage anything to cause damage. Smoke alarms are a common issue – a tenant should not remove the batteries from an alarm, and should report it to the landlord if the alarm warns of a low battery.
A landlord has some responsibilities that – if they did not take care of – could mean a tenant could take legal action, and the local council could prosecute.
You need to make sure you have working, appropriate safety equipment (e.g. smoke and carbon dioxide alarms, fire doors in flats and shared properties, etc), and that they are maintained to good working order.
Bricks and mortar – the fabric of the building – falls to the landlord to look after. So if (for example) some roof tiles were blown off in a high wind, it’s the tenants’ role to report it and the landlord who would deal with it. The same goes for the toilet(s), sinks, bath/shower and the kitchen sink, and the associated plumbing/electrics attached to those items.
The provision of working utilities to the property is also the responsibility of the landlord – including safe installation. Heating is included in this, and any gas appliances e.g. gas fire in the living room – safety certificates for any work carried out and for gas inspections are very important.
With everything else, it just depends. If the landlord provided it, in the case of furnished properties, then it’s their responsibility to replace it if it becomes damaged. If the tenant brought in their own white goods (like a fridge freezer, for example) it’s their item so they are responsible for it.
Tenancy agreements should state who is responsible for what items and tenants should be encouraged to read their agreement thoroughly and ask questions about specifics if the tenancy agreement isn’t clear.
Landlords can save a lot of money by using trusted tradespeople to perform regular maintenance and repairs to the property. And tenants could really help with that by reporting any signs of issues whilst they’re small and not waiting until something breaks to report it.
Back to the (Bob the Builder) song – Can we fix it? Yes, WE can! It is a bit like a partnership – both sides need to work together!
This year we celebrate 10 years in business. Foster Lewis & Co Letting Agents, Coventry are here to help.