When you move into a rental property, there are many legislations that your landlord has to abide by to ensure that you are safe, but under Section 11 of the housing act, you too are responsible for certain aspects of safety whilst living there as well as small repairs.
This post is to highlight just some of the areas that you are responsible for whilst living in the property. It is not an exhaustive list and you should seek advice if you are unsure, but it is a gentle reminder to you so that you can ensure that you have a safe and pleasant occupancy at the property.
Remember:- if it was your own home, would you ask another person to attend to the job, or would you do it yourself?Many tenants have the incorrect impression that whilst in a rental property the landlord is responsible for all repairs. This is not true. Landlords have lots of legislations to abide by for your safety and they have to provide heat and hot water to the property (this does NOT mean you can claim if it breaks. The landlord/agent can only get plumbers there as quickly as you could too if it were your investment)
So who does that? Tenant or Landlord?
Checking smoke alarm batteries Tenant responsibility. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are checked on entry to the property that they are in working order and noted on your inventory. Once you take occupancy, it becomes tenant responsibility to check these. AT LEAST once a month is recommended. If these are not working at your move out, we will request that you change them / replenish batteries and may be deducted from your deposit if not done.
Changing a lightbulb Tenant responsibility. If the fitting it too high then you will need to either purchase/ borrow ladders or alternatively we can arrange an electrician/ maintenance operative for you but this will be charged to you.
Clearing the gutters, gulleys and drains. Tenant responsibility. Specifically, in the Autumnal months of the year when leaves are falling, tenants should ensure that the gutters are clear of leaves, that water has a smooth flow down the gullies and that all outside drains are cleared of leaves and other debris to avoid damp issues and leaks. We appreciate that this is difficult in certain properties but it is your responsibility to look up and report any problems if they are unreachable. Low-level gutters should be attended to by you.
Internal drains and sinks. Again, please treat the property as though it is your own. Genuine blockages can be sorted by the landlord, but it is important for you to regularly clean drains and sinks by using bleach and drain unblocker. Think about the debris that you are putting down the sink; food waste such as rice and oils do cause blockages and this would then be chargeable to a tenant. Sanitary items must not be flushed down the toilet or baby wipes. Showers and bath wastes need cleaning out to remove hair build up – these often cause blockages.
Heating on through winter months and when away. You as a tenant are responsible for keeping the property warmed and aired as per your tenancy agreement. Heating should be kept on low in freezing conditions to avoid bursts – we have a HELP video to help you – https://stuartshomes.co.uk/emergency-contact-details/
Infestations / pests. As occupants of the property, you can get assistance from your local council for many pest problems. This usually comes under landlord responsibility but if found that your living conditions are the cause of the infestation, then you will be expected to pay the contractor yourselves.
Gardens / Paths / Decking areas Unless specifically mentioned in your tenancy agreement that the garden areas are attended to by the landlord, then you as a tenant are responsible. Please sweep leaves and debris regularly to avoid accidents, steam clean pathways and decking to keep them clean and non-slippery and keep all lawned areas and bushes /trees well-trimmed, particularly if they are overhanging the public pavements.
Wheelie Bins Tenants as the occupant of the property are responsible to ensure that all wheelie bins are filled correctly. If they are stolen then it is tenant responsibility to replace them as the local council will only deal with the occupant of the property.
This is not a full list so please ask if you are unsure. Our tenant help page also answers many other queries that may arise during your tenancy:- https://stuartshomes.co.uk/tenants-help/