There’s surely nothing worse than knowing you’ve upset someone or jeopardised their health, right? Because the two most common problems tenants experience with landlords is unhealthy or uncomfortable conditions that never get fixed, or security deposits that never get returned.
In order to prevent yourself from becoming one of these dreaded landlords, you need to take the following steps.
The bulk of uninhabitable properties have damp problems, faulty heating systems and extreme draft problems such as poorly fitted or old windows and doors. This can, of course, be easily avoided by carefully checking your property every few months. Simply look for signs of damp on the walls, get the boiler checked regularly (especially in the summer months when it’s not necessarily in use) and ensure you have good quality double glazing. It’s always handy to give your tenants brochures on preventing condensation; this is something we do with every new tenant we deal with at our lettings agency in Newport.
Of course, if you do have a tenant in the property and these issues arise then it is your or your agents’ responsibility to fix the issue. Ensure you document every step correctly, for example quotes from contractors and dates that the works will be done. Always keep up-to-date records, even if it’s the smallest detail it needs to be documented.
Did you know that Landlords are obligated to return a deposit to the tenants within 21 days of the end of the tenancy? Minus the cost of fixing any damage to the property of course, but there is a vast difference between serious damage and ordinary wear and tear; the deposit can only be used to fix the former. The longer the tenant has been in the property, the stronger their case would be for damage being classed as wear and tear rather than new damage. For instance, if your tenant was in the property for a number of years and you want to paint when they leave, it’s your responsibility. But if they leave after six months and re-painting is needed, it’s the tenants’ responsibility!
Here at our letting agency in Newportwe always do a pre-move out inspection (which we call a ‘check-out’). At the end of this inspection you should give the tenant a list of all the repairs, and give them the chance to fix them themselves. If you have a solid inventory from the beginning of the tenancy, then you will be covered if there are any damages. If you hand the tenant a list and they make all the repairs, they are then entitled to get the full deposit returned to them. If not, you’re entitled to an itemized list of charges for the repairs, including receipts or good-faith estimates. Of course, before you do any inspections always give the tenant at least 48 hours notice and ensure they are aware inspections will be carried out before they move in!
Here are a few ways on how to avoid becoming a problem landlord, if you have any ideas to share, please feel free to comment.