What Are Tenants Responsible For During Their Tenancy?

Zahraa Valu

By Zahraa Valu

04 August 2017

Everyone has heard the story about the tenant who called in maintenance to change a lightbulb. But while it might be humorous, this tall tenant tale is part of a wider problem. Namely that tenants are aware of their responsibilities at the start of their tenancy.

To clear up any confusion, Fixflo has compiled a comprehensive list of tenant responsibilities to ensure tenants know exactly what they should take care of themselves and when they should involve their landlord*.

Common courtesies

Take good care of the property

Tenants are expected to respect the property they reside in, making sure not to damage walls, floors, white goods or furnishings. They should also make sure they dispose of their rubbish adequately. When away from the property for extended periods in cold weather, tenants should turn off the water at the mains.

Forwarding on mail

It’s in the best interests of the tenants to forward on all mail received at the address. This is because some of it, like planning permissions and local development issues, may relate to the property itself.

Not blocking sinks or toilets

While the landlord bears responsibility for fixing leaks and resolving maintenance issues, it is a tenant responsibility to take care not to block toilets or sinks. Failure to take due care could lead to tenants covering the cost of the repair.

Basic maintenance


Unless expressly stated in the tenancy agreement, it is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the garden of the property, ensuring it remains in the condition it was at the start of the tenancy. Grass needs to be cut, flowers tended to and hedges cut back. This should all be managed by the tenant unless the landlord has made other arrangements.


One of the most basic of tenant responsibilities; tenants need to make sure that they keep the property clean and tidy. Although landlords need to request permission to visit 24 hours in advance, a basic rule of thumb for tenants is to keep the house in good enough condition for a landlord to request an inspection at any time.

Changing lightbulbs

The most famous of all tenant responsibilities. Landlords or letting agents of properties with trickier fixtures and fittings should ensure they’ve briefed the tenant on how to change and maintain them.

Changing and testing batteries

It may be a legal requirement for landlords to provide smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, but it’s the tenant’s responsibility to change and test the batteries. If these devices are not working, tenants must report the issue straightaway.



Points of contention

Tenant inflicted damage

If repairs or maintenance are required due to damage caused by the tenants, it is the tenant who should bear the cost of the repair resolution.

Missed appointments

If a tenant is unable to keep an appointment with a contractor and doesn’t let the landlord, letting agent or contractor know within the required timeframe, it’s the tenant who has to carry the cost for the missed appointment.

Needless call outs

If a tenant insists on calling out a contractor for an issue which falls within their remit (changing light bulbs, ‘broken’ alarms which simply need a battery change for example), the landlord is within his rights to charge the tenant for the cost of the call out.

Repairs and maintenance software as a value add

In addition to greater clarity at check-in, repairs and maintenance software is another way to guide tenants towards fulfilling their own responsibilities.

As well as allowing tenants to log repairs around the clock and issuing them with an immediate response, repairs and maintenance software can assist tenants in completing basic maintenance issues and repairs with simple step-by-step pictorial instructions, reducing needless callouts and resolving issues quickly.

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This article is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions related to issues in this article, we strongly advise contacting a legal professional.
These blog posts are the work of Fixflo and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In summary, you are welcome to re-publish any of these blog posts but are asked to attribute Fixflo with an appropriate link to www.fixflo.com. Access to this blog is allowed only subject to the acceptance of these terms.

Zahraa Valu

By Zahraa Valu

04 August 2017

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