We hear so many tales of woe from tenants so we thought we would mention just a few things that have caused problems for them which would not have become problems if they had got something in writing, either from their letting agents or landlords or both.
Putting up satellite dishes
You should always ask permission to put up a Sky or other satellite provider’s dish. Many tenants have got the permission verbally either from the letting agent or landlord usually with a stipulation that it cannot infringe on a neighbour’s property. Sometimes having put the dish up, even though it does not infringe on the neighbours’ properties, tenants are told to take it down because for one reason or another it is not allowed. This may be because the letting agent gave permission and the landlord objects or vice versa.
Hence get permission in writing, even if you have to writing before you put the dish up to save considerable expense.
Replacing the landlord’s fixtures, fittings or furniture
If, as a result of losing your patience waiting for an uncooperative landlord to replace or fix something, you decide to replace an item belonging to the landlord that is damaged or not working e.g. washing machine, kitchen door, carpet, door handle, tap etc. let your landlord or letting agent know that you intend to do this and get permission in writing. In terms of the broken item, ask what you should do with it because the landlord may not wish you to throw it out. Also make sure that the inventory is updated since if you have purchased a new washing machine you will most likely want to take it with you when you leave the property. If you don’t get the item recorded as yours on the inventory and have something in writing about the landlord’s broken item, you may end up having to leave your brand new washing machine behind or lose some of your deposit.
You may be responsible for the decoration of the property and there may be restrictions on the colours you can use. Take or send a swatch of the colour to your landlord or letting agent and get them to approve the colour in writing. If you don’t they may say they don’t like the colour and that you have to redecorate using another colour that is more to their liking. Again, this can be expensive.
Cleaning before you move out
Before you move out of a rental property you may call in professionals to clean the property or do it yourself. Always try to have someone at the property when the final inventory check and inspection is done. Even if you have to take a couple of hours off work it can make the difference between getting all of your deposit back or not. When the agent has checked the inventory and completed the inspection, get something in writing from them stating that everything is in order or not as the case may be. It is likely that you will be told that this takes time to prepare so if you know that everything is pristine you can prepare your own document prior to the visit, for the person who has done the inspection to sign.
Repairs that are the responsibility of your landlord
If you landlord agrees that you can get someone in to do a repair that is really the landlord’s responsibility, get it in writing. This could be a central heating boiler that needs attention, a burst pipe, an electrical job or any number of things. If you don’t get it in writing you could end up paying the bill for it.
If you happen to be a skilled tradesperson, capable of carrying out the repairs yourself get some written agreement from your landlord as to how you will be paid for such repairs. If your landlord agrees to the cost of repairs being deducted from your rent, get it in writing because if you don’t the landlord could allege that you are in arrears with your rent.
There are numerous reasons why tenants should have written permissions or agreements and it can be a hassle getting them but in the long run, it avoids confusion, misunderstandings and often considerable expense. And whilst your landlord or letting agents may be very friendly, there is an old adage you should always bear in mind – “there is no sentiment in business”.
Good landlords and letting agents will not have to be asked for written permission, they will volunteer it.