I would say that one of the most important things to a tenant – once they have found their dream home of course – is the Landlord. I am often asked when a tenant is viewing a new property “What is the Landlord like?” You want assurances that you will be looked after in your new home; you want to know that should the situation arise, then your boiler will be fixed promptly or a leak will be attended to without delay and that I can fully understand. However, let’s have a quick chat and iron out a few issues and potential grey areas…
You, the tenant, do have rights and your tenancy agreement will provide you with those rights. However, with rights also comes responsibilities and not sticking to those responsibilities will undoubtedly weaken your rights.
First and foremost, pay your rent and pay on time! You are obliged by the terms and conditions to ensure that your rent is paid by a certain day every single week (or month) without fail. If you have any problems related to housing benefit, don’t assume that the council will sort it out. As the tenant it is your responsibility to ensure that the rent is paid, so get advice as early as possible and keep your agent or Landlord informed.
It may be someone else’s house but it is your home – so take pride in your home and look after it! You, the tenant have some responsibilities regarding the upkeep of your home. You should always look after the property as best you can and avoid causing damage to it or to your neighbour’s property.
In general, landlords are responsible for repairs and maintenance of the exterior and the structure of the property, as well as the plumbing, wiring and central heating. They are also required to ensure that gas and electrical installations comply with safety standards.
As tenants, you are responsible for:
- Looking after internal decorations, furniture and equipment. This doesn’t include ‘fair wear and tear’. If the carpet becomes a little thin, it’s fair wear and tear; if you burn a hole in it, you’ll probably have pay for it!
- Keep the property clean & tidy. Sounds obvious yet so many tenants do not keep an acceptable level of cleanliness.
- Report any repairs needed or other problems that you are aware of. If we don’t know about a problem then we cannot fix it.
- Minor maintenance – such as checking smoke alarms are working, changing light bulbs, etc. Please do not call us to change a light bulb – you WILL get the bill!
- If you cause any damage or break anything, you will need to repair or replace it.
- Dealing with your rubbish properly. Make sure it’s bagged up and only put out when and where it’s supposed to be.
- Heating the property adequately and making sure it’s kept well ventilated. One of the biggest complaints we receive from tenants is that there is damp in the property and nine times of out ten it is usually just condensation. You can cure this very easily by properly ventilating the rooms & not drying washing on radiators, to name just a couple; but should black mould appear then this is a sure sign that you need to air the room more. The mould needs to be cleaned off carefully with neat bleach; otherwise it will continue to grow back thus giving the impression that you have a more serious issue.
- The gardens are part and parcel of your rental agreement and it is your responsibility to maintain these. If you are not a keen gardener then please opt for a property with low maintenance gardens or employ a gardener to do the hard work for you.
Ask permission! If you want to make alterations to the property and you want to ensure that your bond is not affected, then just ask. A quick call or preferably an email to the office ([email protected]) so we have everything in writing will seek authorization for the work that you want to do. Please remember that Landlords may not see the work that you do as ‘improvements’. Please make sure that any work that you are authorized to do is done well. If you are given permission to decorate a bedroom but you damage the carpets with paint, then the cost of replacing these will be deducted from your bond.
Don’t be a nuisance to neighbors and those living around you. Anti social behavior is a legal reason for eviction and you are responsible for the behavior of everyone in your household, so be responsible. We understand that you have to live and we do not want to intrude on how you do that but we do ask that you please be mindful of others.
Antisocial behavior can include things like:
- Having the stereo or television on too loudly
- Not keeping pets under control
- Allowing your children to be a nuisance
- Leaving rubbish piled up everywhere
- Making lots of noise outside your home or when you come in
- Using the house for illegal activities, such as drug dealing
Ending your tenancy properly – If you want to move out, it is very important that you provide your landlord with the correct notice first. You can’t just post the keys through the letterbox and walk away. Otherwise you could end up still being liable for the rent, even though you’re no longer living there. It may be possible to end your tenancy immediately if the landlord accepts this (best to get their acceptance in writing) but you normally have to give your landlord the necessary one months’ notice in writing.
I could talk for hours about the do’s and don’ts, the where’s and what for’s about renting a property, however I cannot possibly cover all topics here today. Should you have any questions or concerns about your tenancy then please, don’t be shy, come forward and let’s have a chat.
I will conclude and sum it up in a way that I’m sure that most Landlords will agree…If you pay your rent on time and look after the property to the very best of your ability, your Landlord is far more likely to look after you. You scratch their back and they will scratch yours!
Sally Snowdon, Queen Bee!