Landlord Responsibilities V’s Tenant Responsibilities
Tenant and landlord responsibilities are bound by law and failure to obligate can result in facing legal action.
Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, it’s important to be conscious of others’ rights and obligations, as well as your own. Understanding your obligations helps you to avoid conflicts and unnecessary issues.
These rights are enforced under tenant and landlord laws. Failing to follow the terms of a lease agreement can result in eviction for tenants, and landlords can end up having to face legal consequences.
Landlord Responsibilities UK
Your landlord could be a person, a private company, or your local council. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act, the property provided for rent has: to be structurally sound, have sufficient ventilation, have water and electricity supply, have drainage and sanitary facilities, with natural lighting, have facilities for cooking and food preparation, and be free from damp.
Landlords have many duties, and this involves more than just collecting rent from tenants. The main role they have is to provide decent accommodation.
Landlords are obliged to ensure the rental is clean, safe, and liveable. They have both legal responsibilities as well as to their tenants; they are expected to comply with national, local, and federal laws.
If you want to be a successful landlord, you must fulfil your obligations. Each property must meet basic requirements such as certain health and safety standards and general cleanliness.
The following are the key responsibilities you will have when managing your buy to let property investment and tenants:
- Safety Regulations
- Carrying out Repairs
- Property Maintenance
- Legislation Updates
- Handling Security Deposits
- Pay Utilities
- Pest Control
- Landlord’s Right to Enter
- Maintaining insurance.
As a landlord, you are required to keep up with safety codes. You are liable for providing a safe and secure property that is fit for habitation.
You also have to keep common areas safe and to ensure the property is free from health hazards such as structure instability, mold, and lead paint.
Tenants are entitled to a property that meets safety standards for gas, fire, and electricity.
All gas appliances must be safe and in good working order. The landlord must have gas safety certificates which will need to be renewed annually.
The landlords and tenants act 1985 require the electrical wiring in rental properties to be safe when the tenancy begins and is maintained by the landlord throughout the tenancy.
Fire safety is another important part of your responsibilities as a landlord. For obvious reasons, you must take fire safety seriously.
Any furniture you provide in furnished properties must meet specified ignition resistance levels according to The Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988.
Fire-resistant furniture won’t produce fume-filled smoke if they ever do catch fire. But you MUST ensure the original fire safety label is attached or furniture will need to be replaced or re-tested.
You also need to fit a smoke alarm on each floor and carbon monoxide detectors in ‘at-risk’ properties.
Fire safety regulations apply to the following items, sofas, beds, futons, headboards, mattresses, pillows, cushions, nursery furniture, and any garden furniture that could also be used indoors.
The regulations do not apply to, antique furniture made before 1950, duvets, pillowcases, sleeping bags, curtains, and carpets.
Failure to comply is a criminal offense and is punishable by a £5000 fine or 6 months imprisonment. In the worst-case scenario, you could even face manslaughter charges for failing to install smoke alarms.
The last thing you want is to be responsible for the loss of life on your properties so you should make fire safety a top priority.
Carrying out Repairs
You will need to carry out repairs occasionally to provide a safe and secure property. Your property must always be free of any health hazards and any appliances you provided must be repaired when reported by the tenant.
Keeping up on repairs is essential to protect your rental property and avoiding costly issues much later.
You should fix faulty appliances, peeling paint, clogged drains, and blocked gutters as soon as possible.
Landlords are responsible for any repairs to the structure or exterior of the property. Pipes, drains, ventilation, and of course, sinks, baths, toilets, and showers. They must also repair any damage that has been caused by any other attempted repairs.
Any plumbing work needed to be carried out will also fall under your list of responsibilities. This includes things like clearing blocked sewers and drains, boiler and radiator repairs.
The doors, locks, and windows are to be safe and secure and in good working order.
A landlord has the obligation to keep up with property maintenance and ensure tenants have access to basic utilities such as clean running water.
There are varied laws on the standards of your property; depending on your town, city, or local government.
You are also responsible for water, gas, electricity, sanitation, and heating and hot water systems.
You are not allowed to pass these responsibilities onto your tenant even if it was stated in the tenancy agreement.
Property maintenance also involves waste management, lawn care, and snow removal. Be sure to maintain your property so you can ultimately steer clear of major issues.
As a Landlord, it is your responsibility to stay up to date with changes in the law and to stay on top of any legislation updates.
Failing to adjust to the changes can lead to legal offenses which could pop out from all angles unexpectedly. This can be a very good reason to hire a letting agency to manage your property.
However, ensure you do your due diligence, as you are 100% responsible for your property so ensure you are dealing with an agent you can count on.
To ensure you are compliant with all updates and industry standards we have compiled a shortlist of the top resources you can follow online to ensure you don’t miss the latest industry changes.
As the landlord, you will be responsible for holding onto tenants’ deposits. At the end of a tenancy, you must return the deposit as long as all terms of the tenancy agreement have been met, there is no damage and no unpaid bills.
Once you have agreed upon the amount payable, you will have 10 days to return the deposit to the tenant.
Tenant deposits must be held in a government-approved deposit protection scheme. You have 30 days after receiving the deposit to put it into a scheme.
Failure to follow your state’s policy on security deposits may lead to you forfeiting the money regardless of tenant damages.
In England and Wales you can use any of the following; Deposit Protection Service, My Deposits, and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. There are separate TDS schemes for landlords in Scotland and Ireland. If there is a dispute, the deposit will be held and protected by the TDS until it is resolved.
Paying Some Utility Bills
A lease determines which utilities are to be paid for by either the landlord or the tenant.
Water bills, property taxes, sewer line fees, and fees for garbage collection need to be paid promptly to avoid closure of your rental property.
It is wise to settle utility bills instead of leaving them to your tenant because it could lead to your property being foreclosed by the authorities.
You have to follow up and ensure fees such as water bills and electricity bills are settled in time, in case your lease gives the tenant responsibility to pay them.
Ultimately, as a landlord, you are responsible for dealing with any reported pest problems. After all, it is your property so it’s in your best interest that it remains pest free.
You should always aim to get the issue dealt with quickly, not only because of the health risks but they can cause structural damage to the property.
Pests can come from many different places and are often the result of natural infestations. In these cases, the landlord is responsible for handling the problem. Common natural infestations include things like rats, ants, wasps, and bedbugs.
If any infestations are reported and are not the fault of your tenant, you are responsible for solving the issue.
There are situations when your tenants living conditions have led to an infestation. In these cases, your tenant will be held responsible, but we recommend dealing with it yourself immediately and billing the tenant later.
If your tenant was causing the problem, you probably can’t trust them to deal with it promptly. And you are responsible for ‘public health’ meaning the neighbours or other residents in the property.
Start making a log of the cause of the issue by taking photos and writing down as much detail as possible.
Tenants sometimes deny responsibility and it helps to have some evidence since you will be sending them the bill.
Depending on the severity of what was causing the infestation, you can either send the tenant a warning along with the bill or start an eviction process straight away. If tenants refuse to pay, evict them, and deduct your expenses from their deposit.
Landlord’s Right to Enter
Some laws dictate a landlord’s right to enter into their rented property because tenants are entitled to privacy in their homes. You are required to inform the tenant before entering the rental.
Landlords can only enter rented establishments if: there is an emergency, there is a need to perform repairs, and if they need to show the property to potential new renters.
You are allowed to reclaim your property back from your tenants reasonably following the eviction procedures stipulated by the law.
You have to serve your tenant with a Section 21 notice after clearing some conditions. The notice allows you to end a tenancy two months after issuing it.
If a tenant violates the tenancy agreement, you can initiate faster repossession of a property through a court order.
As a landlord, you must have and maintain insurance for the property. You should also have insurance that covers fire, water, and flood damage.
Not sure which insurance is best fit for you? Check your available options over at one of our earlier posts “Do I need Landlord insurance for My Buy to Let Property”.
The tenancy agreement stipulates what the tenant can or cannot do at the property. Tenant responsibilities are much simpler, it comes down to keeping a clean and tidy property.
As a tenant, you have to report any faults within the property, and repair or maintenance issues as soon as they arise.
The property and appliances are to be maintained in good working order. They are also responsible for the care and upkeep of gardens and hedges and maintaining a clean gully trap.
Tenants must always comply with the tenancy agreement and are expected to pay the rent on time.
You need to pay utility bills as well as council tax unless otherwise agreed with the landlord. Tenants also need to keep the interior in good repair.
Tenants are responsible for their visitors and are not to cause a nuisance to any of the neighbours. And tenants are responsible for any damage to the property they or their visitors’ cause. Tenants have a responsibility of being respectful to their neighbours.
That’s pretty much it for tenants. Pay rent, pay bills, clean, take out the trash, and report problems.
Tenants must also grant landlords access to the property if reasonable notice (24 hours) has been given or there is an emergency.