Repair and maintenance responsibilities - a Landlords guide
Posted on 13th June 2017 at 11:21
6 areas of responsibility every landlord should be aware of. Our useful guide.
As a Landlord you will know that your responsibility doesn’t end once 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. If you own property in Leicestershire or Nottingham, Birmingham or Stafford, your obligations remain the same.
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, known as PPM, for jobs to be completed over the course of the year.
Here's our quick rundown on the 6 key areas every landlord needs to make themselves aware of.
1# 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.
• You or your property manager should inform your tenants about your plans for maintenance and repair visits.
• Have a qualified person check for problems such as fraying electric cables, leaky taps, cracked tiles, or a broken showerhead.
• Look out for any signs of damp or mould throughout the property (see below).
• Check that the toilet flushes and shower and/or bathtub drain properly.
• Make sure the heating and hot water systems work efficiently.
• Check that any stair rails are sturdy.
• Check any guttering and the roof.
• Ask your tenants to alert you as soon as possible to any problems that may arise in the property in the future.
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.
• Check that your tenants have an up-to-date list of emergency contacts
• Make sure any existing electrical installation is in a safe condition. Check for any electrical defects such as frayed wiring, cracks and chips in casings, charring, and burn marks. If in doubt, organise an Electrical Installation Condition Report to identify any deficiencies if you are in England and Wales
• If you need to install a new installation, replace a fuse box, or have work done to electrical circuits in England and Wales, the electrician should provide a (Domestic) Electrical Installation Certificate. A Minor Works Certificate should be provided for alterations or additions to an existing circuit (e.g. extra socket outlet)
• Arrange for annual gas safety checks to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
• If you need to have a new gas appliance fitted, make sure this is installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
• Consider installing a carbon monoxide alarm and if your property is in Scotland, make sure you do as it is now a legal obligation.
• Keep all records of annual gas safety checks reports, electrical certificates and reports, receipts and invoices for maintenance and other work done to the rental property.
• It is best practice to carry out a fire risk assessment in your properties. For some properties, such as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), this assessment is a legal obligation on landlords. HMO landlords should check the fire alarm system regularly to ensure it is working properly
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.
4# 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.
• Depending on the type of maintenance or repair work, it makes good sense for landlords to build a network of trusted suppliers. The National Landlord Association or NLA has recently launched a new online scheme of Local Suppliers who are recommended by NLA members and then vetted by the NLA.
• Meet with builders and decorators in January, when their business is often slower, to plan works to be done in March/April.
• Be sure to detail every job that is required and the materials needed, and get a firm price for both.
• To keep your suppliers loyal, pay them promptly once you are satisfied the work is completed.
5# Avoid storm damage
The NLA has published a handy checklist for landlords to minimise damage to their properties which include the following tips:
• Ensure you have a comprehensive property insurance policy in place
• Make sure pipes are adequately insulated
• Clear gutters and drains and check overflow pipes are connected
• Cut back low hanging tree branches
• If the area is prone to flooding, ensure the tenants have a stock of sandbags
• Ask tenants to leave heating on a timer and turn off the water supply if the property is vacated for any period of time.
6# Machines and appliances
Landlords are responsible for the state of any machines and white goods they provide in the rental property.
• Remove any unsafe machines or appliances.
• If a machine or an appliance is not working properly, take a decision whether to repair or replace it. In the long run it can often work out less costly to buy a replacement.
• Although yearly PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) testing is not obligatory for landlords, it is a good way of ensuring the electrical appliances in your property are safe.
Always check out a company's independent client reviews before placing your business with them.
Make sure the company you decide to work with has experience in PPM, Planned Preventative Maintenance, and a great track record across all social platforms such as the following:
& other independent platforms
Don't just rely on their own website but cross check and reference as many sources as possible.
Navas Associates offer a free no obligation meeting with landlords and property developers.
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