How to keep prop­erty in tip­top con­di­tion

Lesotho Times - - Property -

THERE is no big­ger mis­take a land­lord can make than ne­glect­ing to main­tain and keep a rented prop­erty in tip­top con­di­tion. As land­lord, you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to main­tain cer­tain stan­dards within the prop­erty. The ten­ancy agree­ment should set out who is re­spon­si­ble for what re­pairs, with the ex­cep­tion of elec­tri­cal and gas ap­pli­ances and fur­ni­ture safety.

If the ten­ancy started on or af­ter the 1st of April 2007 and the state­ment of ten­ancy terms or ten­ancy agree­ment is not clear as to who is re­spon­si­ble for re­pairs, then the law im­poses ‘ de­fault terms’ which de­fine the land­lord’s re­pair­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as fol­lows: The struc­ture and ex­te­rior of the prop­erty, in­clud­ing ex­te­rior paint­work, drains, gut­ters and ex­ter­nal pipes. The in­te­rior of the prop­erty other than mat­ters cov­ered un­der ten­ant re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Any in­stal­la­tions for the sup­ply and use of wa­ter, gas, elec­tric­ity, and san­i­ta­tion (in­clud­ing baths, sinks, wash-hand basins and toi­lets). Any ap­pli­ances pro­vided by the land­lord un­der the ten­ancy for mak­ing use of the sup­ply of wa­ter, gas or elec­tric­ity. Any in­stal­la­tions for space heat­ing and wa­ter heat­ing. Any fix­tures, fit­tings and fur­ni­ture pro­vided by the land­lord un­der the terms of the ten­ancy. Keep­ing in good re­pair any com­mon ar­eas or ar­eas re­quired for ac­cess. Keep­ing any area re­quired for ac­cess ad­e­quately lit and safe to use. You will usu­ally be re­spon­si­ble for out­side dec­o­ra­tion to the prop­erty and for dec­o­ra­tion in­side. How­ever, you may agree with your ten­ant that they can un­der­take in­ter­nal dec­o­ra­tion work. For the avoid­ance of doubt, th­ese ar­range­ments should be made clear in the ten­ancy agree­ment.

Ac­cess for re­pairs

The land­lord is not en­ti­tled to en­ter the prop­erty ei­ther forcibly or with­out the ten­ant’s per­mis­sion. The obli­ga­tion is on the ten­ant to al­low the land­lord to en­ter.

The ten­ant must al­low the land­lord to en­ter the prop­erty to carry out re­pairs. The land­lord must give the ten­ant rea­son­able no­tice (at least 48 hours writ­ten no­tice) of his wish to en­ter the prop­erty. Re­pairs should be car­ried out at a rea­son­able time and the ten­ant must also be given rea­son­able no­tice, prefer­ably in writ­ing, of your in­ten­tion to en­ter the prop­erty to carry out re­pairs.

In the case of emer­gency re­pairs the land­lord will be en­ti­tled to im­me­di­ate ac­cess. If the ten­ant re­fuses to al­low the land­lord to en­ter then ac­cess can only be gained with a court or­der.

Re­mem­ber, if you en­ter the prop­erty more than nec­es­sary with­out giv­ing no­tice this may be con­sid­ered to be ha­rass­ment of the ten­ant. The ten­ant is within his rights to seek le­gal re­dress.

In some cases, you may have to ask the ten­ant to move out of the prop­erty in or­der to carry out re­pair work. You should of­fer the ten­ant al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion. If the ten­ant is un­will­ing to move you can ap­ply to the court to re­pos­sess the prop­erty.

Ten­ants should be given emer­gency con­tact num­bers to re­port any es­sen­tial re­pairs. Ad­vice should be given to your ten­ants on how to turn off wa­ter, gas, elec­tric ser­vices - for ex­am­ple, how to find me­ters and stop­cocks.

The ten­ant’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties

Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for re­pairs should be set out in the ten­ancy agree­ment. The ten­ants should not be re­spon­si­ble for gen­eral wear and tear. Where the ten­ancy started on or af­ter the 1st of April 2007 and the state­ment of ten­ancy terms or ten­ancy agree­ment is not clear as to who is re­spon­si­ble for re­pairs, the law im­poses ‘de­fault terms’ for ten­ant re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as fol­lows: Gen­er­ally tak­ing proper care of the prop­erty as a good ten­ant. Mak­ing good any dam­age to the prop­erty caused by the be­hav­iour or neg­li­gence of the ten­ant, mem­bers of his fam­ily house­hold or any other per­son law­fully vis­it­ing or liv­ing in the prop­erty. Keep­ing the in­te­rior of the prop­erty in rea­son­able dec­o­ra­tive or­der. Not car­ry­ing out al­ter­ations to the prop­erty with­out the land­lord’s per­mis­sion.

In­sur­ance

You must en­sure that you have ad­e­quate in­sur­ance cover for the build­ing. The ten­ant is re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing out in­sur­ance for their own pos­ses­sions.

— Nihe

Main­te­nance and up­grades have to be on­go­ing and reg­u­lar if good ten­ants are to be kept con­tent and de­terred from mov­ing on once their leases ex­pire.

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