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Maintenance and repairs during a tenancy

Article Posted - 17th December 2013

Landlords' responsibilities do not end when a tenancy agreement is signed. Taking a professional approach to being a landlord involves meeting legal obligations and maintaining the rental property in good condition.

It is not only best practice for landlords to keep their properties in a good state of repair – it is also a legal requirement. In addition to any repair responsibilities expressly set out in the tenancy agreement, common law and statutory obligations are implied in all tenancy agreements.

Most landlords find it useful to have a calendar scheduling check-ups on their properties together with a planned programme of maintenance jobs over the course of the year. Experienced landlord, Marion Money who is the NLA Local Representative for Kent, recommends taking a seasonal approach to maintenance tasks. For example, after autumn she arranges for all the gutters in her properties to be cleared, and in spring, she undertakes an exterior painting programme for her properties by rotation.

Regular inspections of the property

By following a schedule of regular inspections, ideally on a quarterly basis, it is easier to identify any issues before they become costly emergencies.

Safety

Regular inspections should aim to ensure that your rental property complies with all relevant safety rules and should be followed up with any appropriate maintenance or repair work.

Damp

All rental properties needs to be free from damp.

If you spot condensation or mould, remove it with a fungicidal treatment and work out where ventilation in the property can be improved.

It may be worth investing in an extractor fan for the bathroom, even if it has a window. Although only new-builds are required by law to supply all bathrooms with extractor fans, if you install one, you will not have to rely on your tenants remembering to open the window after showering. You may also want to try an anti-mould decorative paint to protect against fungal growth.

Watch the NLA's video on damp and mould, here

Machines and appliances

Landlords are responsible for the state of any machines and white goods they provide in the rental property.

Keep records

An up-to-date log is a practical way of organising your maintenance and repair works. It also forms a record which could come be useful during any disputes with a tenant over the state of the property.

Keep an up-to-date record of:

Trusted suppliers

It is not advisable to allow tenants to carry out repairs to your property as you will have no control over quality. It could also invalidate insurance. While allowing tenants to do decoration work may be temptingly inexpensive, this can backfire if the work they do is of poor quality.

It is also not advisable to do specialist repair work yourself, unless you have a relevant qualification and experience. A London landlord was jailed recently for endangering his tenants after he illegally installed a boiler that he then repeatedly tried to fix after it developed a leak.

Avoid storm damage

The NLA has published a handy checklist for landlords to minimise damage to their properties which include the following tips:

 

 

 

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