Landlord lowdown: how to deal with repairs

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As a landlord, one of your main responsibilities is to keep your rental property in a good state of repair. But when something breaks, how do you know if you or the tenant is responsible for fixing it? Here’s how to deal with property repairs so you can have satisfied tenants and a happy home.

Your responsibilities

There are certain parts of a property for which the landlord is always responsible. This includes the structure of the building – roofs, walls and foundations, windows and doors, drains and guttering – as well as the property’s amenities such as the gas, water and electrics. Some of the property’s contents are also the landlord’s responsibility, including toilets, showers and baths, and any furniture or appliances that you might choose to provide.

Of course, if any of these things are deliberately or carelessly damaged by your tenants, beyond reasonable wear and tear, then it will usually be up to them to pay for repairs. To be sure that there is no confusion, the responsibilities of both parties should be laid out in your contract, and you should make an inventory at the start of the tenancy to record the state of the property at the time the tenants moved in.

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Planning ahead

The most important part of managing a property is to be prepared, so, whether you give your tenants your mobile number or an email address that is linked to your phone, make sure they are always able to get hold of you in case of an emergency. Not only will this give them peace of mind, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be there to take charge should there ever be a problem.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to be constantly on call, there are people who can help. Some letting agencies such as Gough Quarters offer a ‘managed’ service, whereby they will take care of property problems for you, including arranging any necessary repairs. Other services, such as British Gas’ HomeCare agreement, allow you to pay a fixed monthly fee so your tenants can easily organise boiler and central heating repairs themselves without having to contact you first.

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How to make repairs

If your tenants contact you with a property problem, it’s important that you try to deal with it as soon as possible, especially if the problem is dangerous (gas leak, faulty wiring). Once you’ve arranged for somebody to come and fix it (you could do it yourself if you feel up to the task), make sure that you give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice, and find out whether somebody will be around to let the repairman in, or whether you should provide keys yourself.

Once the job has been done, be sure to follow up with your tenants and find out if the problem has been fixed. It’s a very good idea to get written confirmation at every stage of the repair – from the tenant’s original request, to the dates and times of the repairs, as well as receipts for the work and a statement signed by your tenants to confirm that the job has been done. This will make things a lot easier should any dispute arise and when it comes to checking the property for damage when the tenant moves out.

With just a little forward planning, dealing with property repairs can be a breeze!

Interested in renting in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters to find out more.


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All images courtesy of Pixabay

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