Published: 09/10/2022Whether you own the property you live in or rent it, it is still your home, and most people want to create a comfortable, well-looked-after space where they can relax. Our home is our castle, so they say, and it deserves a little TLC. There is also no denying that tenants have expectations placed on them by the owner to look after it to the highest possible level – understandably so.
The number one reason tenants lose part of (or all of) their deposit is that the property is left dirty or there is a level of maintenance work that has just not been addressed. As lettings agents, we schedule regular home inspections, but this isn’t just an opportunity to nit-pick and complain about piles of laundry on the floor – we all have busy lives and families. It is the chance for us to feed back that they are looking after the landlord’s investment, something we are sure they would want if the shoe were on the other foot. Just some reassurance is all a homeowner the property owner needs. It is also a chance for our tenants to tell us about any maintenance issues that need addressing. We expect repairs to be communicated to us as soon as they arise, but for less urgent matters, an inspection is a chance for us to check in and get them sorted – or make suggestions as to how the tenant can resolve them themselves.
The bottom line is that if you are a tenant, you are responsible for looking after the property you live in, in a 'tenant like' manner. Are these expectations reasonable? Yes. And are we here to guide you on how to meet these expectations? Again – yes! So, let’s go…
Address Basic DIY
No one expects tenants to be Handy Andy; we know many people don’t know one end of a chisel from the other, and why should they? But as agents, we do expect them to address basic DIY. If a drain is blocked, a screw needs tightening, or a lightbulb needs changing, these are all jobs that we do request our tenants attempt to address themselves before calling us. There are a million books and online tutorials aimed at providing guidance on these topics. Every call out from a contractor incurs a fee that any property owner would be reluctant to pay for a job of this level. This aside, we DO NOT expect anyone to put themselves in danger or the property's condition at risk. If a tenant can’t address these jobs safely, we tell them to contact us. If they have tried to address the issue but have been unsuccessful, again, we are here to assist. All we ask is that a little common sense comes into play.
Report Repairs ASAP
Although we expect a tenant to address basic DIY jobs themselves, major repairs are the landlord's responsibility. or, in the case of us, the managing agent. Yep, it’s not just the tenants that have responsibilities; all parties, including the agent, have a role to play in ensuring that the property is looked after. However, it is down to the tenant to report these repairs; unfortunately, if they have caused the damage, it is also their duty to cover the cost of the work.
Keep The Property Clean
Now, this isn’t about us telling our tenants to keep on top of their dishes or laundry. That is their choice, and they can live as they wish. It is about keeping on top of the cleaning jobs that, if left, could lead to irreversible damage. It is about maintaining the property's condition to the highest possible standard. Let’s look at some examples of this…
Limescale – this can be extremely difficult to remove if left for long periods of time. Dripping taps, if not reported, can be a significant cause. Yes, it is stubborn to remove, but many basic tried and tested methods online, including dedicated sprays, are used successfully.
Spills – if not wiped up immediately, spills can lead to staining. We suggest investing in good-quality products to keep in the home, ready for unavoidable accidents.
Sweep Up Food Waste – you know what we are going to say…pests! If food waste is not cleaned up, then this can attract rodents. Mice are attracted to the smell of leftover food, cheese, peanut butter, fruits, grains and seeds - essentially anything with a high carbohydrate level. Rodents can lead to infestations and damage to property, such as chewed wires and damaged furniture. Plus, let’s not mention large pest control bills. Need we say more?
Oven Cleaning – we all know this is not everyone’s favourite job, but without regular cleaning, dirt in an oven can cause permanent damage to the heating elements and fan. A dirty oven can also lead to a significant level of ground-in dirt that cannot be removed, and a replacement oven may be required. We do not want our tenants to have to incur this cost.
Good Ventilation – if a property is not ventilated sufficiently, mould can and will grow. And condensation will have a field day. Both things can cause damage to a property, some of which are very difficult and expensive to rectify afterwards. We recommend drying clothes outdoors when and where possible; if not, airing them in an enclosed room with a window open. If anyone needs any advice on this topic, please contact us. We are always happy to help.
Looking After Your Home
We hope you agree that the expectations are fair. If a property owner allows their tenant the privilege of making their property a home, the least they can expect is that it is treated with a bit of love. By following these basic guidelines, cleaning regularly and keeping the property well-ventilated, our tenants can tick all the boxes in creating a cosy space to enjoy their life – stress-free.
As property agents, our role is to look out for the best interests of our landlords and tenants. Everyone is equal, and everyone deserves to be treated fairly. We have expectations of both parties, and ourselves, and strive to create a relationship and a set of recommendations that work for everyone. So, for anyone renting a property, please, give it the TLC it deserves!