More people across the UK than ever before are living in rented homes with statistics showing that almost 5.8m households will be privately rented by 2021.
Now, you may have chosen your house or apartment, you may have had sign off from the landlord, filled in all the appropriate forms and even chosen your brand new furniture, including brand new luxury sofa. But, do you really know what you’re responsible for in a rented home?
We run through a few of the most common questions when it comes to rented homes so you’ll find the big move that little bit easier.
Unless your tenancy agreement explicitly states that some/all bills will be included in the cost of your rent, then you will be responsible for paying all of the bills for the home. This will include council tax, water and sewage, gas and electric, broadband and phone bills.
Also, when it comes to insurance, your landlord should have buildings insurance but you will be responsible for arranging any contents insurance which means that in the event of a break-in, vandalism, damage etc. your personal possessions will be protected by your insurance company.
Be aware though, when applying for contents insurance, you will be asked for details relating to the house itself such as the material of the roof, walls, door etc so be sure to get all these details from your landlord or lettings agency.
Many tenancy agreements state that, for those lucky enough to have a garden, you’ll be responsible for keeping the garden maintained and in a reasonable state. It doesn’t mean you have to start your landscape gardening skills but ensure you mow the lawn every month or so and trim any hedges or bushes that you may have just to keep them in check.
If you’d rather, pay a gardener to mow the lawn and do this work for you. Some charge as little as £10 per hour, so if you have a relatively small garden, it could be a worthwhile investment as opposed to forking out for a lawnmower and strimmer.
Sink blockages can be both the landlord’s and tenants responsibility. If the blockage is due to foodstuffs, hair, grease etc then this would be the tenant’s responsibility as it’s you who is using the sink and, inadvertently, caused the blockage.
If the blockage is caused by faulty or incorrect internal or external pipe work, then your landlord will be responsible.
If you do encounter a sink blockage, it’s wise to try and unblock it yourself first. Grab a plunger and try to remove anything that could be causing the blockage. Next, see if you can unscrew the u-bend or ask for help from a friend, remove the u-bend and check inside to make sure it’s clear. Once this has been done, if the sink hasn’t unblocked, report it to your landlord.
Usually, landlords will pay for a plumber initially however if the issue is found to be blockages caused by food or hair then you may liable to compensate them.
Lights and light bulbs are almost always the tenant’s responsibility. Unless your lights are broken due to an internal electrical or wiring issue, then you should change and replace all light bulbs yourself.
The landlord is responsible for all electrical wiring inside your home as well as plug sockets and light fittings (but not the bulbs). Also, if your tenancy agreement included any electrical equipment that belongs to the landlord i.e. washing machine, fridge freezer, oven, boiler etc then any faults with these items should also be reported directly to them.