Landlords and tenants are both responsible for keeping the property in good condition.
If you’re a landlord, you should carry out regular inspections. This helps you check that there's no damage and the tenant is keeping the property clean and tidy. You should also carry out repairs promptly. It helps to have a good network of service people if you can’t do the work yourself.
A landlord can’t give notice to end a tenancy because the tenant has asked for repair or maintenance work to be done. This is called a retaliatory notice.
Tenants are responsible for keeping the property reasonably clean and tidy. This includes the removal of their rubbish from the property.
Where the local council has supplied rubbish or recycling bins for the property, the landlord should pass these services on to the tenants. If the cost for the bins/service is part of the rates and not on a per usage basis, it is the landlord's cost. The landlord is not required to provide more or better rubbish facilities for the tenant, but they can choose to.
If the local council does not provide bins or bags for rubbish/recycling, the tenant will need to buy their own.
If the bins go missing through no fault of the tenant, the landlord needs to arrange a replacement through the local council.
Landlords must manage asbestos at their property
Landlords must manage any asbestos-related risks when work is being done at their property. This is to protect the health and safety of tenants, neighbours, contractors and anyone else who may be affected.
Landlords must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016.
Asbestos was a common building material up until the 1980s. It may also be in properties built or renovated before 1 January 2000.
As a landlord, you may not have to remove asbestos from your property but you will need to manage any related risks. For example, if contractors are doing repairs, this could disturb material that contains asbestos.
Landlord responsibilities for indoor maintenance
Cleaning the chimney is usually the landlord’s responsibility. The tenant is responsible for cleaning the ashes from the hearth. The landlord may wish to have the chimney swept and checked at least annually to make sure it’s safe. Some insurance policies won't cover the property unless this is done.
Ducted heating and ventilation systems
Landlords are responsible for servicing any ducted heating and ventilation systems. Tenants should regularly ventilate the home by opening doors and windows to let fresh air in (even in winter). This helps maintain healthy air inside the house and reduces the amount of moisture, making the house easier to heat and less likely to grow mould.
Landlords and tenants can be responsible for light bulbs
The Residential Tenancies Act does not cover who is responsible for supplying or replacing light bulbs.
It’s a good idea to talk about this at the start of the tenancy and note what you agree in the tenancy agreement. It may be that the landlord supplies working light bulbs at the start of the tenancy, and the tenant replaces any that stop working.
As non-standard light bulbs can be more expensive or harder to fit, the landlord may agree to pay for these.
Landlords and tenants should maintain the outside of the house
The landlord is usually responsible for outside cleaning and maintenance tasks. For example washing the house or cleaning the gutters.
The tenant can do outside cleaning tasks like window cleaning, as they're responsible for keeping the property clean and tidy. This only applies if the windows are accessible. It does not include windows for apartment buildings or multi-level houses. It's a good idea to discuss this at the start of the tenancy and note what is agreed on the tenancy agreement.