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Maintenance and Repairs: Tenant Responsibilities
Perhaps the greatest cause of contention and disputes between landlords and their tenants is either party’s responsibility towards repairing the rental property, and having the appropriate remedial work carried out in a timely manner. Although as can be expected the owner of the rental property will shoulder a great deal of the obligations for maintenance, the tenants’ responsibility for repairs should not go dismissed.
What Is a Tenant Like Manner?
Upon moving into a rental property and singing the tenancy agreement, tenants will undertake a series of obligations and responsibilities for the extent of the fixed term. Alongside notifying the owner of any needed repairs, the occupants will be expected to behave in a tenant like manner.
Although the phrase may be a little ambiguous the duties that it encompasses are rather simple. The tenants’ responsibilities would comprise the regular cleaning of the property, alongside regularly checking all smoke and carbon dioxide alarms. This will also typically include disposing of any waste, unblocking drains and potentially maintaining any outdoor areas.
Allowing Access for Repairs
Although when moving into a rental property the occupants will have a right to quiet enjoyment, allowing them to dictate which parties, including the landlord, agent and their representatives, are able to access the grounds of the property and when.
With this being said it is not uncommon for tenancy agreements to stipulate that the occupants of a rent property have an obligation to permit access to the landlord and necessary parties’ when the visit concerns repairs.
In order for the landlord to not infringe upon the occupant’s right to quiet enjoyment they must supply them with notice of their request to enter the grounds at least 24hours before their visit takes place. The visit must take place during a reasonable time of the day, with tenants being able to negotiate a time with their landlord or letting agent for a time that best fits their routine.
With this being said, if the occupants of the rental property consistently refuse the landlord access, they may be compelled to allow a visit through a court order, providing that the judge believes the request by the owner to be reasonable.
Regardless of if any prior notice has been provided to the occupants, if an emergency situation taking place at the rental property the landlord is able to immediately gain access.
Reporting Repairs to the Landlord
Although landlords will be no stranger to carrying out periodic inspections of the rental property, unfortunately they will be not able to catch every bit of damage, or appliance that may need replacing. With this in mind the tenant’s responsibility to keep the landlord informed of any remedial work that needs to be carried out. Not only does these mean issues can be resolved far faster, maintaining the tenant’s quality of living, but also prevents smaller issues from being exacerbated over time and having a significant detrimental impact on not only the property, but the landlord’s wallet.
It is important to outline to occupants that reporting such issues to the owner is not a matter of etiquette but a responsibility that is legally enforceable through the tenancy agreement.
Are Tenants Responsible for Accidental Damage?
It is essential to note that if the damage has been caused by the tenant it is likely that they will be obligated to cover the associated costs of repair. In such instances the occupants of the property are still obligated to notify the landlord of the needed repair work. It is not uncommon for landlords to arrange for the repairs and then simply supply the tenants with an invoice for the completed works. However, if this is not the case the tenants will need to independently source a contractor.
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