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Is it my responsibility?

We often get asked to do things like changing a lightbulb, or a fuse, or bleed radiators. These are all generally classed as the tenant's responsibility, as day to day tasks that should be carried out regularly. These aren't usually tasks that require the landlord sending out a contractor. 90% of the time, these simple tasks can be carried out in under 10 minutes and any confusions can be rectified by a simple Google!

As such, if tenants request the agency or the landlord to send a contractor out because the rads are not heating up enough, or the light is not working, and it’s as simple as the bulb has gone (yes this definitely happens to us), or one of your appliances is tripping the electrics, then often this leads to the tenants being charged the contractors call out fee. This often seems unfair in the eyes of tenants, but the question is always where the line is drawn between things that should be taken care of by the landlord (such as maintaining the property) and things that should be the responsibility of the tenant (like cleaning).

The big one we see if often the bleeding of radiators. It causes no end of complaints. This is something that is almost always the tenant's responsibility and online tutorials can teach even the most confused in around 2 minutes. It's not a dangerous task and should really be carried out when the heating has been left for a while to make sure you're getting the best from your heating (the most heat for the least money).

We often get the most resistance in this area with our student tenants, where it can be a bit of a moot point, especially with their parents. I had a lively discussion today with my wife, and this ended with her very forthright opinion that even if it is the responsibility of the tenant, as they are students, the landlord should send someone round once a year to bleed the radiators. My argument was that it's not in the contract, and so the tenants should by the time they are effectively leaving home they should be old enough to learn how to bleed a radiator. I am a very impractical man, and even I can bleed a radiator, but she was adamant that due to the different techniques of the different rads, the fact it could be hot water coming out and a bunch of other things - that the landlords should do this as a matter of course, each year. To be fair, I found it hard to argue against this logic, with a small fee each year to the landlords this would inflict it’s not a huge expense at all, but the fact remains it would be down to the discretion of the landlord.

So, the question here to you, dear reader, is what's your opinion? I’d be very interested to know what you think should be down to the landlord and what you think, as a general life skill, the tenants, no matter what age bracket, should be able to facilitate?

Dan

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