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Property Hunter: Advice for tenants

I AM renting a flat and there are lots of things that don’t work. What can I do?

WITH any property, whether you own or rent it, there will always be initial snagging issues and ongoing maintenance required.

When you own the property, you of course have full control over when works are carried out as you are paying for them yourself. When you rent a property, most tenancy agreements stipulate that your landlord is responsible for certain repairs and, if any are required, you need to notify your landlord and he or she will arrange the works.

Obviously, some maintenance is your responsibility, for example, changing light bulbs or checking smoke alarms, but most will fall to the landlord. Your tenancy agreement should confirm whose responsibility is whose.

Most tenancies say you should promptly report maintenance issues, but it is your landlord who will arrange and pay for the works.

Tenants are not often permitted to carry out the works yourself and withhold rent to cover the cost, so don’t go down that route without reading your tenancy agreement carefully.

Some landlords are good at fulfilling their responsibilities whereas others aren’t, sadly.

If your landlord is not rectifying problems that they’re responsible for then you do have recourse.

Every tenant should check their rights and responsibilities before signing a rental agreemen. You’ll find great advice and information on the Shelter website (shelter.org.uk).

If the property is being managed by a company on behalf of the landlord, you can complain to the the Property Ombudsman or Propertymark if the managing agent is a member.

The recent BBC TV series, The Week The Landlords Moved In, put landlords in their tenants’ shoes.

It was an eye opener for them and it’s this kind of exposure that will make landlords take their responsibilities and their tenants’ welfare more seriously.

Jo Eccles is a property expert and director ofSP Property Group

■ Want to find out more? Call 020 7244 4485 or go to SPpropertygroup.com