Landlords often contact us to discuss issues they have with their tenants. One of the most frequent is overly demanding tenants making requests for redecoration, double glazing or replacement of appliances.
Landlords have a legal obligation to maintain their rental property, the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act sets out the landlords responsibilities under section 11.
Within this Act landlords must: “Keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes), keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity). Keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.”
Generally as you can see from the section 11 quote above the landlords responsibilities are to maintain the property not to improve it. Redecorating or granting other requests from tenants are completely at the discretion of the landlord. If the property is in good repair legally the landlord has met their obligations.
Normally broken appliances will be replaced by the tenant unless the damage is considered fair wear and tear. If the request is for the replacement of an appliance that could have broken due to normal usage or age, such as a dishwasher or washing machine it is advisable for the landlord to replace it.
If the request is for an upgrade, such as a new bathroom the landlord has no obligation or responsibility to agree. That said, it is always beneficial to try to maintain a good relationship with your tenants, so for every request you receive consider it carefully before responding. If the request is reasonable and will improve your property for the next tenancy you may wish to go ahead. If the change has been requested by the tenant and is significant, such as double glazing, reasonable tenants should expect their rental to increase slightly. Remember your tenant accepted the property as they viewed it, demands for upgrades are at your discretion.
Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings