The issue of ‘wear and tear’ and damage to a property is a thorny one, which forms the basis of many disputes between landlords and tenants.
Whilst landlords will factor in finances for replacing worn out items, which have only been subjected to normal use rather than heavy-duty wear and tear, damage is another matter. Landlords know their obligations and duties regarding their buy-to-let investment, but it is also important that the tenant knows where his or her responsibilities lie as well.
Firstly, tenants need to treat the property as they would their own home, being careful with fixtures and fittings. All items should be used properly, for example, not blocking drains or toilets by putting unsuitable items down them. Tenants need to carry out minor works themselves, such as changing light bulbs. They also need to keep the house clean and in the same state as when they moved in. If they have children who have scuffed the walls, these areas will need to be cleaned or painted, for example. Any damage needs to be reported, and the landlord can decide whether to repair any damage but charge the tenant, or let the tenant arrange to fix it.
It could be specified in the tenancy agreement who is responsible for any repairs. You could put into the contract that the tenant needs to mow the lawn or decorate the home. The landlord would be responsible for the structure of the building, such as walls, roof, drains, guttering, windows and external doors, as well as any pipes, wiring, boilers, radiators or other heaters, and bathroom furniture.
If repairs are needed, then tenants need to inform their landlord or letting agency in order for the work to be done, and to provide access to the property for this work to be carried out. It should also be included in the tenancy agreement that any problems, no matter how trivial they may seem, need to be pointed out. The landlord or agent has the right to get into the property to see what works are required and to carry them out. At least 24 hours’ notice in writing must be given, unless it is an emergency and you cannot get hold of the tenant. Then you can force entry, if necessary, to mend a burst pipe or gas leak, for example. Any damage caused by forcing entry will also need to be repaired.
Looking for a property inspection? Try InventoryBase for FREE today