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Responsibility of a tenant

As a tenant it is important to understand both yours and your landlord’s responsibilities for the condition of the property you are renting. The rights and obligations should be outlined within a tenancy agreement, so ensure you read through this fully before signing anything at the start of your tenancy and if you are unclear about anything you bring it to the attention of the landlord or letting agent.

The landlord is usually responsible for any communal areas surrounding your property, which should all be highlighted within your lease or tenancy agreement. The landlord should also be responsible for ensuring the property is in a good state of repair, and any issues are dealt with in a reasonable time frame. If you have any queries regarding the state of your home or there are any repairs that need attending to then you should contact your landlord immediately, who should aim to deal with any repairs as quickly as possible.

However certain things may be the tenant’s responsibility which you will need to check within your tenancy agreement. The landlord will only become responsible for carrying out repairs once you have contacted them and brought it to their attention. If you delay and the problem proceeds to get worse then you could be liable for the cost of repair. Likewise if the problem has been caused through damage or carelessness then you may be liable also.

Unless the repair is classed as an emergency, you need to ensure you allow your landlord a reasonable amount of time to complete any repairs before contacting them again, but try and clarify a time frame for repair on your initial contact. You will also need to give your landlord access to the property so they can carry out repairs or maintenance. They will usually need to give you notice of approximately 24 hours beforehand.

General upkeep of the property and gardens usually lies with the responsibility of the tenant, ensuring that all areas of the property are clean and tidy. Structural damage or general maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord, and any problems with things such as windows, walls, doors or boilers and heating systems should be brought to the attention of the landlord. Should they wish to end the tenancy at any point due to selling the property quickly, they will need to go through the correct procedures and give notice, but the property should remain in a good state of repair upon the tenant leaving.

If you suspect you have a pest infestation within your home you should bring this to the attention of the landlord immediately. Depending on the issue will depend on who is directly responsible. You can also get advice from your local environmental health or citizen’s advice regarding yours or your landlord’s obligations to treat any kind of infestation.

If you have any kind of disability, you may be entitled to certain adaptations to your home. Your local authority will be able to advise you, but you will need to speak with your landlord about potential alterations to the property.

by Cormac Henderson

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