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Neglect and damage of a property – where do you stand as a landlord?

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When it comes to damages in your rental property that is liable for the repairs depends on the type of damage that has occurred. Once this has been established then it is easier to see if it is the responsibility of the tenants or the landlord to cough up the cash.

By law tenants do have a responsibility to keep any buy to let property clean, in good condition and smoke free (unless otherwise specified) as well as completing basic maintenance. However in the event of damages caused by the tenant, any landlord should be able to claim these back with landlord insurance.

What damage to claim for?

In terms of the tenancy agreement, any tenant is obliged to stick to that agreement regarding matters such as pet ownership. In the event of damage occurring as a result of this, landlords are within their rights to make a deduction from the tenants’ damage deposit or ask them to pay for the repair costs.
One exception would be for what is deemed as ‘fair wear and tear’ which is day-to-day deterioration around the home such as carpets and other such furnishings that the tenant cannot be charged for.

If a landlord decides to charge a tenant it is advised to have proof that any damage was caused while the property was occupied with costs fully priced up and quotes to back you up should the tenant choose to dispute the figure.

If a tenant was to dispute any damage and choose to not repair it themselves or pay for the cost, a landlord is within their rights to issue an eviction notice to the tenant and retain the specific sum of money from their damage deposit to cover any cost of repair for the damages caused.
The last resort for any dispute would be to go through the legal process. However this may not be a viable option to many as costs can escalate quickly, so in an ideal world that situation would hopefully be avoided.

What you can’t do as a landlord

Even if you have concerns about your property, tenants need to be told of any visits in advance and as a landlord, you have to have a good reason to check the property.

It is also a criminal offense to harass your tenants, so physically “moving” your tenants out on to the street is not advised as it could result in what is determined as an illegal eviction which could again, lead to legal action.

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