A well-kept property will not only be easier to rent out, but you are more likely to keep your tenants if they are comfortable and happy. Your property is your investment, and as such, you should take care to maintain it well.
Your tenants are the eyes and ears of the property. They are there every day and should feel comfortable informing you about any issues as soon as they arise. Don’t delay with repairs; the problem will most likely get worse, and if it’s serious, the tenant can even get the local authorities involved. Recently a landlord in Tooting was fined over £30,000 by the local council for failing to improve the condition of his rental property after he was notified of leaks and defective fire safety equipment.
Paying for property repairs is frustrating, but don’t be tempted to pass on all the costs to the tenant. Buildings and appliances do need regular upkeep, and you should factor these costs in when renting out a property. Take out boiler insurance, and only get reputable companies to do major repairs. If an unqualified person tries to fix your appliances, you could find the problem only gets worse over time, or that your insurance is void. It could also be against the law.
Sometimes, a property ends up in disrepair due to damage caused by the tenant. Even a good tenant can make a mistake, so it’s sensible to schedule regular inspections and take photos of the property at least once a year for your records. This will help if there’s a dispute, or if you need to recover the cost of repairs from the deposit. Keep a detailed inventory even if your property comes unfurnished; items that are not usually considered furnishings, such as carpets and light fittings, are also costly to replace.
In order to inspect your property or carry out repairs, you need to gain access. However, you do need to arrange this in advance with the tenant so as not to invade their privacy; after all, they pay rent and have the right to enjoy the property day-to-day. On the other hand, a tenant refusing access could mean there are more problems with the property than they let on.
Even when you do your best to keep your property in good condition and maintain a friendly relationship with your tenants, you can still end up with problems. Your tenant may deny causing damage, or consider their own negligence to be ‘wear and tear’. Exactly who is responsible should be outlined in the lease, but the lease terms might not be clear, or there may be multiple problems. In such cases, you need to seek advice from a solicitor specialising in landlord-tenant disputes as soon as possible.
Despite your best efforts, it’s possible that your tenant will bring a disrepair claim against you. You might also find that a tenant has caused significant damage and is denying responsibility to avoid losing their deposit, or that they are not allowing you access to the property. At Romain Coleman, we only represent landlords, and are experts in such disputes. If you need a London landlord solicitor, talk to us, and we can advise you on what course of action to take.
If you need help from our specialist landlord dispute solicitors, call us on 0208 520 4555 or use our simple online form.