In the weeks before Christmas, landlords shouldn’t be surprised when their tenants contact them about repairs or issues with the house.
At this time of year many tenants will be rushing round, getting the house ready for a family visit, or preparing the perfect Instagram Christmas with their kids.
This week’s call was about a particularly demanding tenant preparing Christmas for their entire extended family.
They had rented a lovely five bedroom property in a village outside Chester for the previous two years.
As with many of the properties in the area it included an open fire as a feature that the tenant used regularly.
The tenant contacted the landlord to inform them that the chimney was now built up with soot and the landlord needed to clear it immediately.
She was adamant that this must be done before Christmas as she had her family attending and the day needed to be perfect.
She was quite rude to the landlord when they said they wouldn’t be able to attend immediately.
The landlord contacted us for advice on this matter as they didn’t understand why it was their responsibility to clean this part of the property as they had provided it in a clean state to the tenant at the beginning.
We checked what type of fireplace was in front of the chimney.
Here we were specifically checking to make sure that the getting into the chimney would not require the assistance of a specialist technician to remove the fireplace.
The landlord informed us this was not the case though and the fireplace was an open one.
We informed them that it was in fact the tenant’s responsibility to keep the chimney clean.
In fact, it was one of the specific examples given by Lord Denning in his judgement that defined tenant like responsibilities (the things that tenants would be expected to do around the house).
As such, the tenant could safely be told to clean up their own soot for Christmas.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Manager, said “It’s often a surprise for tenants and landlords to discover tenants are responsible for keeping their own chimneys swept but we are always glad to help make people aware of this.”