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18-01-2022 - By Nihal Mohammed - 0 comments
What Are Tenants Responsible For Living In A Rented Property?

Table of Contents

Sometimes the line between the landlord, and tenants responsibilities can be skewed, have a read of this article to get some clarity on the subject.

Both landlords and tenants understanding their responsibilities will help negate future frustrations between the two parties.

Obligations Of A Tenant

 The obligations of a tenants should be set out in the tenancy agreement, of what is and isn't permissible in the property or on its grounds. As well as this, there'll be points referred to in the tenancy agreement relating to:

  • Payment of rent, made on time.

The agreed rent will be specified on the tenancy agreement, as well as the date it is due every month. The agreement will have been signed by the tenancy as a binding document that they are obliged to stick to.

  • Payment of all utility bills, including water rates and council tax.

As the tenants live in the property and have full use of the facilities there. They will be responsible for the payable bills, and all suppliers should be made aware of the tenants details, including the date they moved in. This'll absolve the landlord of needing to make any payments if the tenants don't. 

In some cases, landlords will offer some, or all of the bills inclusive of the asking rent. But bear in mind that usage of energy (gas and electricity) could be a fluctuation of how much you'll pay on their behalf.

  • Keeping the property and it's grounds in good repair. 

They should be keeping the property in a well-maintained standard during their tenancy. This'll often include upkeep of any green or garden spaces. Dumping of rubbish and failing to keep the property in clean condition could attract unwanted infestations of rodents and insects. 

Not only that, but it'll be detrimental to the rate of wear and tear occurring, meaning the landlord will be paying for replacement and repairs sooner than necessary.

  • To not sub-let the property, unless consent has been given by the landlord. 

The tenancy agreement signed will have the authorised tenants to live there specified on it. The tenant finding further tenants to live in the property whilst paying them rent is sub-letting. If expressed permission isn't obtained from the landlord, it will be deemed illegal. 

If consent is obtained, the original tenant should be following due diligence of conducting checks to ensure the applicant they're taking on is suitable, and is trustworthy of following the guidelines set out in the original agreement provided by the landlord.

Otherwise, illegal sub-letting is a risk for all involved. With no idea of the type of people living in the property, the landlord and original tenant is exposed to legal issues, not to mention a lack of rights if possession needs to be gained of the property again. A landlord or letting agent should be conducting periodic inspections of the property, including a visual check of who is residing there.

  • Allowing for periodic inspections to be carried out. 

Which moves me onto inspections, there is no set period to inspect a property. Not too often as to inconvenience the tenant, but not to far-apart as to potentially miss issues or neglect on parts of the property.

We recommend an inspection every 3-4 months, whilst checking the people living in the property, that the condition of the property is being maintained well, and that there is no illegal activity happening there.

  • Repair or replacement of any accidental damage.

Unless it's as a result of a failure, mechanical breakdown, or general wear and tear, a tenant is responsible for any breakages to be repaired or replaced.

For example, the fridge freezer provided as part of the white goods in a property stops working. As long as it didn't stop working as a result of someone doing something to break it, the landlord should seek to repair or replace. However, if the tenant tips the fridge freezer over when moving it, it would be their responsibility to deal with. The expectation for the landlord to fix someone else's fault is incorrect.

  • To ensure any of the tenants guests are well-behaved. 

A tenant is responsible for anyone they willingly allow into the property, and as such, should be held accountable for their behaviour. Whether it be noise pollution, or damage to the actual property, regardless of how or why it's the tenants job to seek to mediate or repair the issue. 

  • Repairs and decoration.

Reasonably, there should be a discussion and agreement in place, so the tenant understands what repairs or decoration they're responsible for.  This'll iron out any confusion should you expect them to do any work on the property.

Bear in mind that light scuffs on paint etc, will usually be classed as wear and tear. However, if a child has been scribbling on walls, wallpaper has been maliciously peeled or damaged, or there are whole rooms needing to be repainted due to negligence on the tenants behalf, the tenant will usually be responsible to make the necessary repairs. This is where inspections will benefit a landlord, as it'll get the tenants an opportunity to carry out the work whilst still living there, as opposed to making deductions from the tenancy deposit on their departure. 

Maintaining A Good Business-Like Relationship

Regardless on the experience you've had with them, keep a good business-minded relationship with your tenants. Maintain a good level of respect and treat them equally as you would any other client.

Remember, your commitments are outlined in a tenancy agreement, just as the tenants commitments are. Both parties have signed to this effect and are expected to uphold them. From the beginning of any tenancy, start a steady relationship from then. 

Bear in mind these three points for a simpler route to renting your property:

  • Remember that all properties, no matter new, require regular maintenance. Whether it be your legal obligation to arrange a gas safety check, or periodic decorating to ensure upkeep, this should be kept in mind.
  • Insuring appliances that you include could save you money in the long-run. Many more landlords are now, more than ever, including white-goods in the tenancy agreement. However, having to repair or replace a cooker-oven, fridge-freezer or washing machine is an unexpected cost that isn't usually welcome. This is where insurance can be beneficial, as it usually means paying a small excess, whilst the rest is subsidised by the insurer.

The same principle can be followed with the gas appliances such as boilers and radiators. Having to repair or replace can be quite costly, so having the necessary covers will most likely save you a lot of money.

  • Having local tradesmen that you can trust is priceless. Initially it may be a case of trial and error, finding the right contractor for you and your needs. But once you've settled on one, providing them with the work that comes your way will build a working relationship, and it'll make it more likely they can be on hand for those jobs you ask of them at short-notice!

What Else?

A main factor to remember is that a tenant will be responsible for the property whilst living there, and unless its legally a landlords responsibility, the tenant should be taking up a normal tenants duties wherever possible.

Have a clear line of communication with your tenant if they ever need a direct contact for emergency issues. And if you're an overseas landlord, you should definitely have a letting agent or friend/family member managing the property and being the tenants main point of contact.

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