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  • Writer's pictureTanya Louise

Home: Knowing Your Responsibilities And Dealing With Emergencies When Renting

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

For many, renting a property such as a flat or a house is the norm, but the cost of renting means it is not feasible to save towards getting your dream house.

Right now, due to the pandemic, there is very limited contact with landlords. And this means that sometimes you may have to take the law into your own hands, to a certain extent.

You don't want to violate the terms of the contract, but you also need to have some knowledge up your sleeves in terms of practical issues, such as potential problems with the heating or water, and general mishaps that can occur. So what can we do to deal with these types of emergencies, especially when our landlord is not able to help us right away?

Getting a List of Reliable Tradespeople

There will be times when you need to deal with a minor issue that needs resolving pretty quickly. You are responsible for the security of the property, so it is a good idea to have a list of contractors such as electricians and plumbers. There are a wide variety out there, such as Smillie Electrical, but it's a good idea to speak to the letting agency or the landlord just to make sure that you will be reimbursed.

When there is an emergency, sometimes we have no choice but to get the credit card out. And while landlords and agencies can give us advice over the phone, we still have to make sure that the property is habitable.

Know Your Rights in an Emergency

When there is a major incident, such as a fire or a flood, you will either find the tenancy is terminated so you can walk away and find somewhere else to live or if the tenancy agreement remains in place, it is the responsibility of the landlord to arrange alternative accommodation. However, if you need to pay for your own accommodation, you don't need to pay rent to the landlord and you can claim back for lost rent on the landlord’s insurance.

Having the Relevant Insurance

There will be aspects of emergencies that the landlord cannot deal with. It's important for you to have contents insurance in place. And when there is an emergency, such as a break-in, the responsibility of the property falls to the landlord, but if you need to secure your contents, you need to make sure that your policy covers every single item. When it comes to emergencies in this respect, it is not the landlord's responsibility to look after your items. However, if they didn't secure the property properly initially, you would need to have adequate documentation that the property is not up to code. Photographs are a good example, but also make sure that you have them backed up on a computer or an email account and if you are renting through an agency ensure that they have been made aware and the issue is on record.

When it comes to a rental property, it can often feel pretty precarious. But as long as you have the relevant insurance, know your rights, but also understand that there are reliable contractors out there, you should be able to deal with the circumstances adequately.

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•Photo Credit - Richard Newbold

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