back Posted on 29 June 2023
Taking ownership of rental problems - are you as responsible as the tenant?
When you rent out a property, all responsibility related to care and maintenance of the property is not passed to the tenant. In short, you cannot simply forget about property maintenance after letting it out. Similarly, a tenant cannot ignore the maintenance issues of a home just because they do not own the property. It is their responsibility to keep the property clean and livable. There is often confusion over who needs to take ownership of repair and maintenance issues encountered on a property.

The best way to define ownership of any rental problem is through the rental agreement. In some cases, instead of the landlord or tenant, the letting agent takes ownership of any problems faced in the rental property. So, it is really important to have a clear and well defined rental agreement. Here are a few maintenance things defined under the law –

Landlord responsibilities

Condition of the exterior

Structure of the property

Drains, pipes, sinks and other fittings

Electrical wiring

Ventilation, gas pipes, appliances and flues

Any damage caused during repair

Repairs to the common areas of a building like stairs

It is the responsibility of a landlord to provide trash bins for tenants to dispose any garbage or waste. A landlord needs to contact the local authority to know the requirements regarding garbage bins and their enclosures for a property.

It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure there is running water available for the tenant. They are also responsible to clearing any pest infestations on the property.

Mold and damp

One of the common areas of confusion is who is responsible for mould and damp present in a property. Well, it is a problem related to the structure of the home, so it is the landlord’s responsibility. Also, in this case, it becomes critical to hire a professional company to find the root cause and fix the problem.

When a tenant faces problem like damp or mould in the property, it is their responsibility to bring it to the notice of the landlord. A landlord won’t be able to fix any issue unless they are aware of it. The tenant needs to report the problem as soon as they notice it. Under the law, the landlord is required to provide in writing what they are going to do to solve the problem and when. This needs to be done within 14 days of receiving information about the problem.

If the tenant does not receive any response from the landlord, they must approach their local authority with the problem. The authority will serve a notice to the landlord. There are several acts and regulations in UK that govern how repair and maintenance problems are handled.

Tenant responsibilities

Keep the property free of any sanitary hazard, including piling up of garbage.

Maintain the safety - keep all emergency exits accessible at all times.

They are also responsible to follow all of the housing and building rules. They are not allowed to have more than the required amount of people to stay in the house in regards to the rental agreement.  

They need to be respectable towards the property, maintain the condition of appliances provided by the landlord and ensure there is no damage to the property.
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