Dealing with tenant requests
According to some estimates as much as 19% of all property in the UK is now owned by private landlords, which means a lot of people living in rented accommodation. Tenants naturally expect and require a certain level of support from their landlords, and often this means that landlords are called out at the request of their tenants to deal with problems. However, not every problem should be left to the landlord to sort, and under UK law repair requests should be ‘reasonable’ as we will explain.
While many repairs may fall under your jurisdiction as a landlord, there are many things that your tenant is responsible for too. Examples of this include minor repairs like changing fuses or light bulbs. Tenants also have a responsibility to keep the home reasonably clean and should look after fixtures and fittings responsibly using them for their sole purpose. So with that in mind, if a tenant asked you to visit the property to change a light bulb you would be within your rights to refuse. However, there may be occasions when it might be a good idea to do so. Perhaps to help out an elderly or less able tenant, or to show a tenant who is living alone for the first time how they can do this task independently.
For more serious repairs, for example issues that are affecting the exterior of your property, then you cannot reasonably expect the tenant to deal with them themselves. Examples of this might include problems with pipework, roofs, walls, or foundations of the property. The cost of these types of repairs cannot be passed on to your tenants either. It’s also important that you make it clear to your tenant in their tenancy agreement that they need to report problems to you as soon as they notice them so that they can be dealt with quickly. If a problem such as damp is left unattended it could become more widespread and ultimately cost you more money in the long run to repair.
Tenancy agreements also imply a clause that tenants must provide you with access to conduct the repairs that you need to have done. However, don’t forget that you need to give 24 hours notice to your tenant that you will be visiting to have work carried out, unless there is emergency work that needs to be carried out and you cannot get hold of your tenant. However, any damage that is caused to the property from gaining access should be dealt with quickly.
Any requests made to landlords must be ‘reasonable’ and not be something that they could easily handle themselves. Your tenant should seek to inform you of a problem at the earliest opportunity and they should allow you a reasonable amount of time to assess the issue and have work carried out to repair it.
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