October 11

Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985: Landlord and tenant hand-in-hand

Make working together a legal foundation

In my last two posts, I discussed your obligations as a landlord and the responsibilities of the tenant under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. The best relationships are those where both parties show mutual respect and trust, and this law encourages this. By setting clear boundaries, the landlord and tenant should understand what they are obliged to do as well as what the other’s responsibilities are in a range of everyday situations.
In this final post of three detailing how the Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 works, you’ll learn how the law encourages you to work hand-in-hand with your tenant.

Landlord and tenant responsibilities explained

By considering various areas of dispute that may arise, you’ll be able to establish a good guideline to use as the basis of your tenancy agreement. And by using that agreement as a basis for discussing terms and conditions with your tenant, you’ll both be on the same page from the outset. This approach will stop minor aggravations growing into damaging disputes.
When thinking about how you can work with your tenant, consider your repairing obligations concerning the structure and exterior first, and then the interior.

About gardens and communal areas

What the landlord must do:

You’re responsible for the entrance to a block of flats. In other words, you’ll need to make sure that the entrance is clean and safe. In practice, this responsibility is a shared one with other owners, or is passed onto the service company in charge of general maintenance.

What the tenant must do:

You’ll probably want to stipulate in the tenancy agreement that your tenant is responsible for general garden maintenance. If you don’t, you could find yourself mowing lawns and tend to bed plants every weekend.

About decorating

What the landlord must do:

If the property needs decorating through a normal wear and tear, then this is your responsibility. At the end of the tenancy, you won’t be able to retain any of the tenant’s deposit in this case.

What the tenant must do:

If the tenant believes some redecoration is needed, he’ll need to let you know. This is the same if the tenant wants to redecorate – they need to let you know and get your permission to do so.
If redecoration is required because of damage caused by the tenant, and not general wear and tear, then the cost of redecoration becomes the tenant’s responsibility. At the end of the tenancy term, you’ll be able to retain some of the deposit to cover this cost.

About furniture and furnishings

You rent your property as furnished, or include certain items (such as a television) as a charged for extra. Here are the landlord and tenant responsibilities under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

What the landlord must do:

You’re duty-bound to make sure that all furniture and equipment are safe and fit for purpose. They have to meet certain minimum standards (for example, fire resistant) and have appropriate safety labelling. If an item of furniture is no longer fit for purpose because of general wear and tear, it’s your responsibility to either repair it or replace it. Just as with the rules on decorating, you won’t be able to retain any of the deposit to cover wear and tear costs.

What the tenant must do:

As with general decorating needs, your tenant should let you know if any furniture or furnishings have fallen into a state of disrepair and need attending to. However, if improper use, carelessness, or willful damage are the causes of the damage, you can charge the tenant or withhold some of their deposit to cover the costs of repair or replacement.

About white goods and electrical appliances

What the landlord must do:

It’s your responsibility to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe and in working order. Have the electricity and fixtures, fittings, and appliances checked regularly. If any appliance is faulty or broken, you’ll need to repair or replace.

What the tenant must do:

If the tenant has brought any of their electrical goods into the property, these are their responsibility. If any white goods or other electrical items supplied by you malfunction, they must let you know as soon as possible.
LANDLORD TIP: Always stipulate in the tenancy agreement the electrical appliances for which you are responsible. It could save a lot of arguments in the future.

About damp conditions in the property

It might be that your property suffers dampness. A number of things could be the causes, and the cause determines who is responsible.

What the landlord must do:

If the dampness is due to any of the following factors, then the repair work is down to you:

  • Leaking drains, gutters and external pipes, including drains
  • Damaged roof
  • Damaged damp-proof course
  • Poor heating or ventilation

The local Environmental Health Department may need to become involved to assess suitability as a rental property.

What the tenant must do:

If the actions of your tenant cause the damp conditions, then the repair and costs will be their responsibility. Examples of fault might include improper use of heating, covering ventilation grills, or leaving piles of wet clothes laying around.

How the landlord and tenant work together to carry out repairs

Doing repairs is normally your responsibility. Even where the repairs are the responsibility of the tenant, they will need to get your permission to have them carried out.
If you’re responsible for the repairs but are happy to let the tenants carry them out, it’s best to put this agreement in writing (and insist the tenant gets a few estimates before you get stung with an astronomic cost). Make sure that you sign off on the repair before you pay for it.

Disruption and alternative accommodation

During repairs a tenant is disrupted or relocated. In both cases, the tenant might be able to claim costs – by way of rent abatement for disruption, or the costs of alternative accommodation.

Know your landlord responsibilities

If everyone knows their responsibilities, you’ll be able to work together well as a landlord and tenant partnership. Your tenant will act in a more tenant-like manner. That’s always the best way to work with a tenant. And that’s how we work with tenants when representing our landlord clients.
For more information contact us by phone on +44 1522 503 717.
Yours in effortless property management,
Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA


landlord and tenant, Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

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