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TENANT’S OBLIGATION TO REPAIR Most of the obligations to repair fall on the landlord under law. But damage to the property caused as a direct result of the tenant’s negligence must be repaired by the tenant even if under normal circumstances the duty to repair would fall on the landlord. As with all negligence matters a good way of assessing whether the tenant has behaved negligently is to ask ‘but for’ the actions of the tenant would the damage have happened? If the answer to the question is ‘no’, then generally the damage falls to be made good by the tenant.

PAYMENT OF BILLS This is easier if the whole of the property is let under one agreement as the tenant will be able to get the utility accounts changed into their own name and be directly liable to the service provider.

The situation is a little more complicated where the property is let on a room by room basis and you may have to retain responsibility for utility bills and Council Tax rather than the tenant. Ensure that you take a view on what payments you will seek from the tenants in this situation and make arrangements for payment from the start of the tenancy.

USE It is likely that the property is to be purely residential in use and any other use by the tenant would put the landlord in breach of mortgage lease or planning regulations. In addition to the clauses governing these, there are conditions about not permitting anyone other than the tenant from residing at the property.

ACCESS Access by a landlord without the consent or against the expressed view of the tenant is a criminal offence. Notwithstanding this you will want to have access to inspect at reasonable intervals. A set of keys to the property can be retained by the landlord, but they must not be used save in an emergency. Again it is a matter for common sense as to what may constitute an emergency. If for example the property is at risk of being damaged due to water leak when the tenants are not at the property, then we suggest it would be reasonable for the landlord to enter and deal with the problem.