Being a landlord isn’t a case of purchasing a property, renting it out and forgetting about it. Renting properties to tenants comes with responsibilities, from property maintenance to being on hand when emergencies happen. However, some reasons for calls are more common than others, from plumbing emergencies and boiler issues to noisy neighbours and asking permission for pets. Landlord insurance policies can provide protection and financial support against claims for building damage, contents damage and more, but what do you do about the common things that crop up? Here are the 6 most common call outs, and how landlords should handle them.
#1 Plumbing Emergencies
Calls for plumbing related issues are some of the most common a landlord will face. This can include anything from a leaking or blocked toilet to leaking pipes, broken sinks, hot water problems and more. Landlords have a responsibility to maintain and repair plumbing-related issues including all sanitary appliances such as baths, sinks, toilets and showers and so any plumbing emergencies should be dealt with quickly. Calling in a professional to handle the situation is best in the case of an emergency to prevent further damage or costly issues in the future.
#2 Heating/Boiler Problems
Over £725million is spend on boiler repairs every year in the UK, and a good chunk of that comes from breakdowns in rental properties. It’s the responsibility of the landlord to not only maintain the heating system year-round but organise repairs by an approved technician if a breakdown occurs. This means obtaining a Gas Safety Certificate to prove that the system is safe following repair.
#3 Bug and Rodent Infestation
2020 might’ve had us all in lockdown, but it seems that mice and rats are joining us – this year, rat infestation alone has risen over 42% on average, with the first half of the year seeing the same number of calls for rodent infestation as was received in the whole of 2019. It’s the responsibility of the landlord to keep the structure of the house in good condition, including preventing mice and rats from getting inside the property, however, the tenant has a part to play too. It’s often the responsibility of the tenant to keep the inside of the home clean and tidy enough not to attract rodents or bugs, so handling infestations could ultimately depend on the cause.
#4 Broken Things
Whether it’s a cracked or blown window, or an appliance has kicked the proverbial bucket, repairs can be costly. If the appliance in question was offered as part of the property, it’s up to the landlord to keep these appliances in working order, including shelling out for repairs if things break down. There’s no obligation to get regular checks on these appliances throughout the tenant’s contract, but investing in maintenance could save you a hefty bill if things go wrong in the future. The same can be said for windows – a window replacement can cost as much as £1750 or more depending on the window, the damage and whether it’s double or triple glazed. Insurance can cover these costs in some cases, but if the window is damaged due to poor maintenance on your part, this could mean paying out of your pocket.
#5 Noisy Neighbours
Every tenant is prone to making a bit of noise from time to time, but for tenants with relentlessly noisy neighbours, it can be incredibly frustrating and landlords often get the brunt of that irritation over the phone. Unless the landlord owns the property the noise is coming from, it’s unlikely they can do anything about the noise, but landlords can make the decision to take action in the form of soundproofing. Even a new, softer carpet can dull the noise. The rest is up the council.
#6 Pet Permission
Most tenancy agreements will already have clauses about whether or not pets are allowed in the property, but that doesn’t mean that tenants won’t pick up the phone and ask anyway. It’s usually at the landlord’s discretion as to whether or not pets are allowed, with the exception of properties in multi-storey buildings where they may not own all properties. 14% of pet owners keep pets without the landlord’s permission but to avoid this kind of secrecy, having open communication with tenants is key. Be open about whether they can have pets, which pets they could have and why they can’t have certain animals or any at all. This kind of clarity can create an understanding between both parties and make other discussions in the future easier to have.
Being a landlord means being at the end of the phone when tenants need you in emergency situations. Having open, friendly communication with tenants creates a better sense of understanding and can even make the above issues easier to handle when they crop up. For information about landlord insurance for that extra peace of mind, feel free to get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance, today.