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Landlord responsibilities

(53 Posts)
feelinlucky Tue 18-Feb-14 21:40:16

Not sure if this is the right section to post but I'm renting out my flat and managing the rental myself rather than using an agent. I'm concerned that my tenant isn't clear about her responsibilities and that she has expectations of me that aren't realistic but I've never done this before so I'm looking for some advice please? For example she rang me tonight at home, she has no electricity and expected me to sort it out. Apparently her meter ran out and she thinks the electricity company have mixed up the boards with a neighbours! I'm generally confused and tried to explain to her that she would have to take it up with the electricity company. She was very hostile and I'm fed up with her ringing me all hours! Any advice would be very gratefully received.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 19-Feb-14 01:54:38

Landlords' Association website might be a good place to start, but both of you are making yourselves vulnerable! I'm assuming you have the correct paperwork in order - gas safety check, deposit in a protected scheme etc?

VeryStressedMum Wed 19-Feb-14 02:04:46

Her metres run out...does she want you to top up her electricity?

feelinlucky Wed 19-Feb-14 19:19:06

Hi, thanks for your responses. Wibbly, can you explain how we're both vulnerable? I've definitely learned that next time I'll use an agent. I emailed her today. Have her a list of emergency numbers for utilities. Also, got my landlord who has his own rental business and years of experience to send me a landlords list of emergencies and non emergencies alongside some very helpful reminders that I will act as quickly as possible to resolve any issues. I asked her to contact me via email rather than ringing me at home and reminded her I wouldn't always be in a position to offer an immediate remedy. She's nearly at the end of her contract. I'll give her a month and if she continues to cause me problems I'll give her notice and definitely use an agent. She also got a cat when I told her she couldn't!

specialsubject Wed 19-Feb-14 19:50:44

evict ASAP (The cat alone is reason to do so if it the tenancy says 'no pets') but make sure you do it exactly right, sounds like you may have a professional bad tenant here. If so and she decides not to move, you are in for a world of pain and expense.

future ref:
tenants deal with and pay for all utilities and council tax.
tenants insure their own stuff.
tenants treat place in 'tenant-like' manner; i.e live like normal civilised people.
tenants leave place as they found it, less allowable wear and tear.

landlords look after building, repair and maintain as necessary within reasonable times.
landlords protect deposit, provide gas safety cert each year.
you are landlord, not mummy.

good idea; provide an instruction manual for the property, with a short 'quick start' guide then longer stuff if needed.

BrianTheMole Wed 19-Feb-14 19:54:29

I wouldn't evict because of the cat, or because she's struggling to manage the basics, as long as she's otherwise a good tenant and pays her rent on time. You never know who you will get next, out of the frying pan into the fire. <bitter experience>

Ballsballsballs Wed 19-Feb-14 20:10:58

It might be worth calling Shelter for advice. They're great on housing legal stuff (especially if you evict - you must follow legal procedure) and they help landlords.

Atbeckandcall Wed 19-Feb-14 20:18:31

Nature of the beast I'm afraid if you're a landlord. No guarantee either that the agency won't call with issues. In my experience some of the staff aren't too smart.
Definitely spell it out in writing what she does and doesn't need to call you about.
For this example of the electricity explain that if a bill is in her name it is not for your to get involved.
That's how I run my 2 houses.
Your name on the bill, your problem. So far no issue (touching wood).
However also make it crystal clear what she must call you about. Leaks, damage to the outside of the property etc.
Good luck

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 19-Feb-14 21:36:21

Vulnerable in that neither of you seem to realise what your rights and responsibilities are and invariably if you, as landlord, mess up, you're more than likely to lose money. The tenant seems a bit daft if she expects you to manage her utilities for her - surely the contract she signed to lease the property from you said that she was responsible for all utilities?!

feelinlucky Thu 20-Feb-14 09:44:59

She is very naive and I'm not too worried about the cat. She does seem to think I will organise her life for her and she's had 3 jobs in the short time she's been my tenant. As long as she pays her rent I'm not too worried. I guess I just have to deal with her and continue to fulfil my obligations as a landlord. I'm only communicating via email now so at last u don't have to deal with calls when I'm trying to go to sleep smile thanks all, you've been really helpful.

ReallyTired Thu 20-Feb-14 10:05:12

Landlord's responsiblities

1) You need to make sure that your tenant's desposit is in a proper desposit rental scheme.

2) Gas safety certificate needs to be done every year

3) electrical safety needs to be done every 5 years (I think off the top of my head)

4) You have to make sure that lights, heating and the supply of electricity is in working order. (Although your tenant needs to pay for her own utilities.)

5) If you have left white goods then you are responsible for the maintaince of white goods.

As a landlord you are responsible for making sure that your tenant has electricity although you aren't responsible for paying her bills. For example if consumer unit keeps on tripping out then you need to get an electrican to look at it.

It is ususally a good idea to show a new tenant where things are. Ie. so that she knows how to top up her electricity meter.

I'm afraid I think your tenant is quite within her rights to call you at annoying hours if she has no electricity inspite of topping up her meter. You have to realise that your tenant is paying for a service and it can be hard work to be a good landlord.

specialsubject Fri 21-Feb-14 10:30:18

there's no legalities on the electrical certificate in england unless for an HMO. Although it is of course good practice to provide a decent and safe installation, and check it at intervals.

watch out for some of the firms claiming to test electricals - they just do a quick earth test on any white goods, nothing else.

give the tenant a mobile number and turn it off at night. Easy. If she's run out of electricity because she doesn't know how to pay bills and top up, not landlord's problem. That is not the service she pays for and I would be very worried if she has any idea how to look after a house.

feelinlucky Fri 21-Feb-14 10:59:15

Special, I've been worried about her from the start. She's quite an interesting character and doesn't appear to have any sense of proportion. She got a cat despite me being explicit that she shouldn't and she has told me she has ovarian cancer but the treatment she said she was receiving didn't add up. I'm not saying it's not the case but my own experience and understanding of OC makes me very sceptical. I'm worried that she will just stop paying her rent. I have her deposit and landlords insurance, although I'm not entirely clear how that works. I'll have to look through my policy. If a tenant doesn't pay, do you know where I stand? I'm hoping it's just a matter of being clear about boundaries and she will back off but my intuition is telling me she's going to be tricky.

feelinlucky Fri 21-Feb-14 11:00:14

Oh, special, I sent her a different mobile number this morning smile

specialsubject Fri 21-Feb-14 11:42:27

I think you need some professional advice/research. First, make sure her deposit is protected in one of the approved schemes.
second, do you have legal expenses insurance? If she stops paying she can just sit there until legally evicted, which will cost you big bucks as well as the lost rent. It isn't expensive but you really should have it - but whether she will qualify for you to have it needs checking.

if she really does have cancer then she may well not be able to work, and will stop paying the rent.

Polyethyl Fri 21-Feb-14 12:09:26

Is her deposit in a deposit protection scheme?
This is hugely important. If you have not protected her deposit in the correct legal way then you have made a serious problem for yourself.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 21-Feb-14 12:53:54

IME as a landlord, she got a pet, she broke her lease, I'd have served her notice. You say she's an interesting character - why did you rent to her in the first place? Did you get references?

ReallyTired Fri 21-Feb-14 12:57:43

Does your contract have a six month break clause? How long is the intial assured tenancy for? Its really not that easy to evict a tenant for breaking a minor rule like having a pet. You have to take matters before a judge to evict a tenant and many judges would disregard petty rules like not having pets. You have to have had a pretty major breach to make someone homeless.

feelinlucky Fri 21-Feb-14 13:04:42

I don't have deposit in scheme but will so this straight away. I did take some advice before renting but didn't realise I was legally obliged to hold a deposit in a scheme. I did get references and she became 'interesting' when she moved in. You can't always gauge these things from one meeting! I want to lose the anxiety so I'll make sure I put everything in place that needs to be. So anyone can stay on in. Property and not pay any rent? I didn't realise that was the case. So landlords have no right to give notice and evict? If my landlord gives notice it's ok for me to say no then just don't pay him for living there then it's up to him to pay court costs and get me out? I'm confused! I have plenty of friends with properties, they've never had any problems. She may not be much more than a bit of a pest but I want to make sure I'm covered at every angle.

feelinlucky Fri 21-Feb-14 13:06:52

Her tenancy runs out on June. Can I give her notice now to vacate at the 12 month point?

feelinlucky Fri 21-Feb-14 13:07:22

Then go through an agent and make sure next time I'm fully covered!

BlueStones Fri 21-Feb-14 13:08:51

"give the tenant a mobile number and turn it off at night."

And what to do if, like at my block of flats, the fire alarm goes off for no reason several times a month, at 3 am, and only the landlord has the code to reset it?

specialsubject Fri 21-Feb-14 13:16:53

well, ask for the code and to have it fixed.

OP if you don't have that deposit in the scheme you don't have a leg to stand on and cannot evict or give legal notice. Sort it ASAP.

you didn't get much in the way of advice if this wasn't mentioned!!

and yes, the rules are biased to the tenant. You do have a right to give notice and evict IF you are whiter-than-white on your side (which you aren't) and do it exactly according to the letter of the law. The process takes about four months if the tenant spins it out. Any tiny mistake in the notice and you go back to the start.

Polyethyl Fri 21-Feb-14 13:25:44

You really are in trouble.
Go immediately to a solicitor and get them to sort out your mess.

LIZS Fri 21-Feb-14 13:28:33

oh dear , don't like to worry you further but the deposit thing is a big deal and she could sue you for up to 3 times(iirc) the amount, should she realise and it could affect your agreement. You are supposed to register it and notify the tenants of the schemes details within a fixed period of the tenancy starting (30days iirc). see http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/tenancy_deposits/tenancy_deposit_protection_schemes#a_landlord%27s_duty_to_protect_a_tenant%27s_deposit. Please take some legal advice before acting(ie CAB), just in case you inadvertently compound the problem. Once you have sorted this then you can consider terminating the agreement but check your agreement as it may require 2 months' notice form a rent payment date (so before the April payment for June). If you do not the tenancy will roll over on a monthly basis from June.

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