What Are a Tenant’s Responsibilities?
Moving into a new home can be exciting, but renting a property comes with responsibilities. To avoid disputes – or paying for things that don’t fall within your obligations – it’s useful to know your obligations as a tenant.
If you’re a tenant in Preston, read on for a broad guide to a tenant’s responsibilities (but please note that for specific detail, refer to your tenancy agreement).
It’s a two-way street
The crucial thing to remember about the tenant/landlord relationship is that both parties have an important role to play. The landlord has a duty to ensure that the property they’re letting is safe and habitable, and the tenant should treat the property respectfully.
Your tenancy agreement
As with most relationships, things work best when everyone understands what’s expected of them. And that’s why your tenancy agreement is so important – it’s a legal contract that defines the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant. It should cover everything from rent and repairs to how to end a tenancy.
Always read, and make sure you understand the terms of a tenancy agreement before you sign on the dotted line.
While your contract will cover most eventualities, here are some common causes of confusion regarding tenant/landlord responsibilities.
Repairs and maintenance
Generally, landlords are responsible for the property’s structure (walls, chimneys and the roof), sanitation (toilets, sinks and pipework), boiler (heating and hot water) and electrical wiring.
Landlords are also responsible for the furniture if furnished and some electrical appliances that are in the property when the tenant moves in.
Any items or goods brought into the property by the tenant are the tenant’s responsibility.
If a tenant (or their guest) causes damage to the property, then the tenant is obliged to handle the repairs. So if, for example, you invite a friend around and they spill red wine on the carpet, it’s your job as the tenant to get rid of the stain.
While the landlord has to take care of structural and external features, it’s a tenant’s responsibility to report problems. It’s best to do this when you first notice an issue so that it’s resolved promptly and is usually less costly than if you leave the problem to worsen, something your landlord will be grateful for.
If you’ve reported an issue to your landlord, a tradesperson will need access to the property to do the repairs. This work should be conducted at a reasonable time, and you should be given 24 hours’ notice of their arrival. If the appointment is not convenient a tenant can refuse access on ‘reasonable grounds’. But to get the problem resolved as soon as possible, it’s best to be accommodating.
Landlords are typically responsible for fences, guttering and lopping trees. The tenant is obliged to carry out tasks such as weeding, maintaining existing plants & shrubs, mowing, watering and disposing of waste. This is one of the most common issues highlighted at inspections or the end of the tenancy and often results in deposit deductions. If your rented property has a garden but you don’t have the time to maintain it then consider employing a local gardening service.
Cleanliness can be a thorny issue – half of all end-of-tenancy disputes are about cleaning*. Before moving out, a tenant should ensure the property is cleaned to the same standard as it was at the start of the tenancy (although allowances are made for general wear and tear). If you really don’t like cleaning then speak to your landlord or their letting agent as they may be able to recommend a cleaning service for either regular cleans or just an end of tenancy clean.
Talk to your landlord – or their agent
While it’s important to adhere to the terms of your tenancy agreement, if you have a question, raise it with your landlord or their agent. Sometimes disputes are caused by simple misunderstandings that can be sorted by having a quick chat.
To find out about rental properties in Preston, Chorley or Leyland, get in touch with us here at PR Lettings & Management.
*Tenancy Deposit Scheme