Friday, 20 June 2014

Do I Have To...?

I bumped into one of our Let Only Landlords in town the other day and as often happens he used the opportunity to pick my brains about something he'd been mulling over for a couple of days, following a call from his tenants

I'm happy to help and in this instance it was an all too common question about appliance repairs (exciting stuff!)

He asked 'Do I have to repair the washing machine if it breaks down during the tenancy?' 

I promptly replied 'No you don't...'

Without going into the finer details of a Landlords repairing obligations contained within Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, simply put, the law makes no requirement for a Landlord to repair or replace appliances supplied with a rented property

But the letter of the law and what makes long term commercial sense aren't necessarily the same thing

So I immediately followed up my 'No you don't...' with '...but you should!'

All too often we've seen small things turn into big things due to short-sighted decisions by Landlords and it does lead to tenancies ending sooner than they should, if the tenants get hacked off or feel their landlord is taking them for granted

A Landlords legal obligations are actually pretty limited, covering the big important stuff (like making sure the property is insured, watertight, the heating and sanitation works etc) so more often than not the questions being asked are down to a landlords discretion, rather than a legal requirement

It struck me that I'm often asked 'Do I have to?' questions but taking the long term view, Landlords would be far better off rethinking 'Do I have to?' and instead asking 'Should I?' - it's likely to lead to a better property, much happier tenants and therefore longer, more profitable tenancies

Here's a few 'Do I have to...?' examples I've been asked over the years...try it for yourself! 

  • Do I have to have the place professionally cleaned before a tenant moves in? 
  • Do I have to replace that 10 year old Wilton patterned carpet?
  • Do I have to have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?
  • Do I have to clear all my stuff out of the garage?
  • Do I have to redecorate the Peppa Pig pink small bedroom and remove the stickers?
  • Do I have to cut the garden and weed the borders before the tenants move in?
  • Do I have to have working lightbulbs in all the rooms?

So Landlords, next time you're tempted to think 'Do I have to...?' rephrase the question to 'Should I...?' and you're far more likely to come up with the answer that will attract or retain Good Tenants and maximise your investment 

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