What is a tenant responsible for?

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Should a tenant be questioning what they are responsible for when living in a rental property, then careful checking of the tenancy agreement should reveal those responsibilities.

Put simply, in the agreement the tenant is signing to confirm that they will take care of the property and not damage it in any way. If they do so, then they are liable for the repair bill.

Standard responsibilities included within Tenancy Agreements

  • Should a tenant be living in a furnished property, then they are usually responsible for ensuring the furniture is kept in a good condition. It should be noted however that fair wear and tear does not mean that a tenant is responsible for replacing that item of furniture.
  • The issue of decorating a rental property is also a source for dispute and tenants need to be aware of their responsibilities. Should a tenant want to redecorate their property to their own tastes, then they will probably need the permission of their landlord. It's likely that this permission will be given but with the caveat that the property must be returned to its original decor. Failure to do this will undoubtedly see a proportion of the tenant’s deposit being withheld to make good the redecoration.
  • When it comes to interior repairs, especially replacing lightbulbs and plugs, then the tenant is responsible and there will be for internal decorations too.
  • A tenant will also be responsible for any electrical items that they take into a rental property such as freezers, fridges, cookers and washing machine. If the electrical items have been provided by the landlord, then they remain the responsibility and property of the landlord.
  • Should a rental property come with a garden, then a tenant should check their responsibilities under the tenancy agreement. Most tenancies will insist that the tenant maintains and upkeeps the garden to a good standard though a tenant is not responsible for cleaning up a garden that is already in a mess as this will be the landlord's responsibility.
  • It's also the tenant's responsibility to ensure that they pay the rent on time and in full and that they do not rent out their home, or a part of it, to someone else without informing their landlord. Doing anything like this could lead to their being evicted.
  • The tenant is also agreeing to look after the home and to repair or replace anything they damage or break. It's also worthwhile to keep receipts should this occur and there be a dispute when the tenancy ends.
  • Finally, all tenants will have an obligation to be a good tenant as well as being a good neighbour. Tenants should not annoy or upset the neighbours by behaving in an antisocial way, or even allowing anyone living in the property to do so. This could leave them open to the landlord or letting agent legally evicting them for these reasons.

It should be noted that the tenant is not responsible for repairing any damage that is caused by damp as this will be a structural issue that the landlord needs to resolve. Tenants should inform the landlord, or letting agent, as soon as is possible about any damage because those problems are the responsibility of the landlord.

Essentially, the tenant is required to fulfil their obligations under the tenancy agreement and stick to any rules that have been laid down within it. This will inevitably mean that they will have to live in their property as their main home and should they need to leave it for a lengthy period, then they will need to inform their landlord.

Always read the tenancy agreement carefully and ensure that you are clear on all the points, taking extra time to go through the responsibilities that you are signing up to.

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