How to Handle Repair Requests From Renters
One thing is certain, as a landlord you will get a request for repairs from your tenants at some time or another.
It could be something as simple as fixing a dripping tap and a tear in the curtain to a more complicated scenario such as the washing machine appearing to have broken down. Whether you have the time and/or inclination to handle these repairs by yourself remains to be seen. And, in fact, it’s why many landlords with professional full-time jobs find it easier to pay a property management company to look after this side of things for them.
The company – often part of a letting agency – will usually require you to sign off on those repair jobs once they have been completed. However, they will deal with finding a tradesman and ensuring the job is handled correctly. They will then invoice you for that amount. Big repairs may cost quite a lot at the time, but good news is that many repairs can be offset against tax in your end of year self-assessment tax form.
It’s the landlord’s duty to attend to repairs which aren’t due to negligence or stupidity etc by the tenant themselves. You are also responsible for the safety of the building and all the fixtures and fittings within the premises. This means making sure the sofa is fire retardant etc, the ceiling plaster isn’t going to come down on a tenant or visitor’s head etc. Not only that, but if the sofa or a table, chair etc is a bit wonky and tired looking then it should be replaced with a more respectable version of the same item.
This should all be outlined in the Tenancy Agreement and which it’s definitely reading through from cover to cover to make sure you know exactly what you are – and aren’t – responsible for.
How Long Should a Tenant Wait for a Repair?
What is a reasonable time to get back to a tenant about a repair? The answer is, as quickly as possible. Certainly, if you want that tenant to take out another short term – or even long term – lease then you’ll want to keep them happy.
It’s also in your own interests to respond quickly, otherwise that repair may get worse as the days go on. And, on that note, make sure that if you move home yourself during a tenancy, that the renter has your forwarding address and contact details (if you’ve opted to handle the repairs yourself). It’s good to have a friendly relationship with your tenant – but always keep a professional distance too.
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