Flats To Let, Who Is Responsible For The Maintenance?
The maintenance of a rented flat incurs the responsibility of maintenance. This issue is often thorny and has been the subject of many law suits and unpaid rents in the past and will continue to remain a thorny issue untill all parties to a contract abide by it.
There are hundreds of flats to let across the UK and Ireland with most large towns and villages offering a wide choice of sizes and styles, as well as catering for a variety of budgets.
When searching you will find that there will be properties that have designer fixtures and fittings or properties that have very basic facilities.
It's probably true that most will be somewhere in-between and that the rental price that you pay will depend upon the exact location, neighbourhood, standard of decoration, local amenities and furnishings.
Flats to let might be advertised by a letting agent or a private landlord and the standard of maintenance and servicing you can expect will not necessarily be affected by this.
What you will definitely discover is that may be offered various types of maintenance schemes ranging from self maintenance to landlord or estate agent call out services.
A letting agent may only be in charge of advertising and arranging the initial contract but in other cases they may be the managing agents of the property and therefore be your point of contact for the whole of the rental period.
A private landlord may take responsibility for all of the repairs and maintenance and arrange repairs with a specialist contractor as at when due or when necessary.
Other landlords may be clever enough to have service level contracts with various companies e.g. utility companies now offer maintenance contracts for various types of utilities.
These are usually offered as insurance policies or may be sold as direct home maintenance packages which are readily available to landlords and estate agents.
As a new tenant, you will need to decide if you are happy with the managing arrangements - if your hot water boiler breaks down in the middle of winter then someone needs to be able to arrange for it to be fixed.
Your landlord will hopefully have an insurance policy and be able to arrange a repair, a letting agent will probably have a contractor who can come quickly but as a paying tenant you need to know that the problem will be dealt with as soon as possible.
It is a good idea to make sure that you know the maintenance and repair arrangements before signing any tenancy agreement on flats to let, if an emergency arises then you need to know exactly who to contact.
In matters related to minor maintenance eg mowing the lawn, cutting the edges, fitting a new light bulb or even changing fuses or replacing a circuit breaker, a lot will depend on your personal maintenance culture.
While in real terms the landlord may be responsible for any of these issues, most if not all landlords will expect you to be able to carry out these activities yourself.
You should clarify the landlord or estate agents position on these issues as some landlords or agents may actually opt to mow the lawn, in certain cases, an expense may be incurred by your person e.g. replacing a circuit breaker will cost you some money.
In situations like this, you may be able to pass on the cost to the landlord or estate agent. As always, please ensure you clarify the landlords position on reimbursing maintenance expenses.
Of course such drastic issues are rare but nevertheless you need to be confident that your landlord or letting agent will be able to resolve them if they arise.