There are many things that landlords must consider in order to run their business efficiently. In particular, it’s important to know where you stand when dealing with tenants. Issues can arise and it’s important to understand your rights in the event of a problem or dispute so you can reach a mutually acceptable solution.
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Some of the most common problems are what to do if a tenant has damaged the property in some way and what steps should be taken to resolve the issues. Read on for some tips on the rights and responsibilities of a landlord, when dealing with tenants…
What should I do if a tenant damages furniture?
If the landlord is providing furnished accommodation, the furniture they supply must meet recognised fire safety standards. It is the tenant’s responsibility to report any damage to the furniture or fittings right away. The landlord and tenant should then discuss how any repair or replacement is to be carried out and agree on a course of action, including the payment.
This highlights the importance of having an inventory: if the tenant doesn’t tell the landlord about the damage and then repairs or replaces a piece of furniture in a sub-standard manner, the landlord will be able to spot this when they do an inventory check.
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement should spell out the obligations of both landlord and tenants in relation to repairs. If the tenant is at fault for damage, the landlord should be able to deduct the required amount for repairs or replacement from the tenant’s deposit.
Who’s responsible for general wear and tear?
When it comes to general wear and tear in a rented property, it’s a different story. It’s considered normal that household furniture and contents will deteriorate over time with regular use. Items may start to look tired, or get the odd mark or pluck on the material.
When this occurs, the tenant can’t be held responsible, unless the damage is caused as a result of carelessness or an accident on the tenant’s part. Any wear and tear that has occurred naturally, over a period of time, will be the landlord’s responsibility to sort out.
When rugs become worn, or the paintwork gets tired, the tenant would not be responsible for this. If the wear and tear is so severe that it creates a hazard – such as an armchair’s springs starting to poke through the material – it should be repaired or replaced straight away, in case it causes injury.
Is the landlord responsible for replacing appliances?
If the landlord has supplied appliances such as a washing machine, tumble dryer or cooker that was working at the beginning of the tenancy, it is their responsibility to replace or repair it should it break down, unless the damage is the result of the tenants’ own negligence.
If the landlord has a valid reason for holding back part of the tenants’ deposit, such as paying for repairs the tenant has caused through carelessness, the rest of the deposit should be returned at the end of the tenancy. According to the law, landlords can only keep part of it for a valid reason. Tenants can ask the landlord to see any receipts or estimates for repairs or replacement items that have been deducted from their deposit.