Being a landlord might seem like an easy way to bring in some extra income each month, but do not be mistaken: it is equal to having a part time job and can, on occasion, be very costly. The most important thing to do before letting a property is to educate yourself on exactly what your responsibilities are.
A tenant is legally responsible for maintaining the gutters and drainage of a property. If a flood occurs because they have not cleaned out the drains and they are blocked with hair, technically they are liable. However, whenever the property is vacated between lettings you should perform a deep clean, in case tenants have not been diligent in such responsibilities.
New tenants will not be responsible for the damage caused by past tenants, and it can be difficult to prove in either case, so regularly reminding the tenant to remove hair from plug holes, or, indeed, fitting preventative measures such as plug hole drainage covers can be a cheap and worthwhile investment.
Drains, Pipes and Guttering
Your property can receive serious damage from the lack of drainpipe clearance, so if pipes are inclined to become blocked with leaves because of a nearby tree, prompt your tenant to clear these out, or, again, it may be best to just organise to do it yourself to ensure you don’t suffer brickwork damage or damp, due to poor drainage.
If a tenant allows a bath to overrun because they forget about it, or fail to report a slow leak or damp so that you can repair it and take preventative measures, then they are responsible for the repair cost. Again, this can be difficult to enforce, so it is best to remain amenable and to be clear at the start of a tenancy contract about your expectations. Show that you are diligent and expect them to be too.
Boilers can be the bane of a landlords life if you do not choose a high quality one and have it fitted by a certified plumber. Never skimp on tradesman costs as it is a false economy. Be sure to fit the right size boiler for your property, in order to avoid undue stress on your boiler and to achieve lower energy bills.
Be rigorous about annual boiler maintenance. You should also be sure to fit a carbon monoxide detector, as this is a legal requirement to protect tenants.
If a tenant reports a slow leak, or damp and you do not attend to it in good time you may be liable for any ill health effects they experience or damage to their personal property. Always act quickly if they contact you to raise concerns and show gratitude that they have communicated it to you. Good tenants are incredibly valuable, as they will not only prove to be lucrative relationships, but they will also help to maintain the value of your property through good care.