There are many upsides to renting – the freedom of not being tied to a particular area, nor into a long-term mortgage and not having the responsibility of owning and maintaining a property.
But there are also a few downsides, most notably the property not being your own and so therefore you are bound by someone else’s rules. This could include not putting Blu Tack on the walls, redecorating, damaging the property in any way or adding features or structures such as an extension.
There will also undoubtedly be occasions when things go wrong such as the boiler breaking down or the sink becoming blocked. But don’t assume it’s always the landlord or managing agent that sort these issues out. Some things are down to the tenant.
So, what are your responsibilities? It may sound obvious but apart from paying your rent and bills on time and allowing access for essential repairs and any inspections, tenants should take care of the premises and treat is as they would their own.
So, if you spill wine on the carpet, clean it up or get a professional in to do the job if you don’t know how. But the cost is yours. This goes for any other damage done by you or any visitor such as breaking a window – even if accidental – or damage to any fixtures or fittings.
Tenants must also keep the property clean and tidy and allow plenty of ventilation to stop any condensation and damp. If there is an outside space, such as a garden, it is up to the tenant to keep it tidy, but check the lease as it may be the landlord has engaged the services of a gardener so you don’t have to worry about it. Make sure you take photos of how the garden looks when you move in, study the terms of the lease to make sure you fully understand what you can and can’t do and what you have to do, such as mowing the lawn.
Other responsibilities include replacing any lightbulbs that go and unblocking the drains. To stop this from happening in the first place, try not to put coffee grounds, oil or grease or any other food item down the kitchen sink. And remember hair in the shower can also cause blockages.
Keeping the property safe and secure is also a tenant’s responsibility as is insuring your belongings. If you go away on holiday or even just for a weekend it’s always a good idea to tell the agent or landlord. If you are going away for a long period you must alert your insurance company.
Finally, and perhaps most crucially, you need to report any issues immediately. If you find water dripping into a room, if there are tiles missing from the roof, you get an infestation of mice or other pests, the boiler packs up, the washing machine breaks down, the shower stops working, or if a tap won’t stop dripping, flag it up to the landlord, or agent as soon as possible.
Remember if you don’t look after the property, your landlord could deduct money from your deposit when you move out, or withhold it altogether.
If you have any questions about being a tenant or your tenancy agreement, it’s always best to speak directly to your landlord or agent and get advice from a good solicitor.
As always, our lettings team at Sheldon Bosley Knight is on hand to help with any query no matter how small. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!