How often should you update fixtures and fittings?11-01-2023 | Property Maintenance & Interiors
Are you checking your fixtures and fittings in your rental property regularly? But how often is too often?
It’s a difficult balance to give your tenant the ‘enjoyment of the peace’ and in the same breath, you want to keep your tenants safe by checking on the fixtures and fittings.
Before we dive into how often you should be checking, do you have fixture and fitting cover sorted in your rental property? If the answer is no, have no fear because CIA are here to help you gain cover on a policy that suits you. Get in touch with us today and we’re happy to help.
Obviously, we want to be as clear with you as possible. If you’re an owner of a flat, you may not need fixture and fitting cover. If you are legally responsible for the property, you will need this type of cover. It’s always good to check and we can certainly guide you through this process.
What are considered fixtures and fittings?
Understandably, you’ll want to know how these two things are categorised. So here is a quick look at what is considered a fixture or a fitting.
Fittings found in a rental property
- Free-standing furniture such as sofas and tables and wardrobes
- Appliances such as kettles and toasters and microwaves
- Hanging or freestanding mirrors
Fixtures found in a rental property
- Integrated appliances
- Kitchen units
- Bathroom suites
- Heating system
How often should I update fixtures and fittings?
This will depend on the last time you tested, bought or installed the item. Keeping a clear log of when the item was purchased and installed along with a photograph of the item will help you understand when it’s time to update it.
After every tenancy, it’s recommended that you test and gently revamp the property for new tenants.
Fixtures will need updating a lot less than fittings. UK landlords usually update kitchens every 10 years. Furniture such as sofas and tables may need updating every 5 years. Kitchenware should be checked every property visit which we recommend every six months.
Reason to check fixtures and fittings
There are two main reasons you’ll want to include a thorough check and possible update of your fixtures and fittings.
Damage to property
We advise that you schedule in six-month checks. These usually fall halfway through your AST (assured shorthold tenancy agreement). You should always aim to notify your tenants in writing and give them 24-hour notice at least.
You’ll need written permission from your tenants to enter the property (an email or text is perfectly acceptable).
When entering the property you’ll be looking at a few different things. Light wear and tear as well as malicious damage (if there is any) as well as damage to fixtures and fittings.
All fixtures and fittings should be included in your inventory which is acknowledged and signed by your tenant at the start of the tenancy.
Making sure you take photos and videos before the tenancy begins will help you identify any damage to the fixtures and fittings.
If the damage is obvious and beyond fine wear and tear, you can apply to the government deposit scheme to deduct these costs from their deposit. However, if the amount is exceeding their deposit, you’ll be looking towards your insurance to help foot the cost.
Placing damaged fittings into the property to cut corners on expense is highly irresponsible and can result in fatalities. Let’s look at your obligation to keep tenants safe.
Healthy and safety
Consequently, you are responsible for the health and safety of your tenants when providing the property with fixtures and fittings that are deemed safe from the get-go.
PAT testing will ultimately allow you to have peace of mind when your tenants use appliances. PAT testing is not a legal requirement but it certainly holds you in good stead if you’ve tested your appliances and are able to prove they were in good working order at the beginning of the tenancy.
When a tenant has not been caring for the fittings and fixtures and this causes fire risks or further damage to the property, you need to ask them to replace them within a reasonable time frame. Make sure this is written into your AST before it begins.
If a tenant asks you to replace something.
You should be willing to replace any fittings that are causing safety concerns to your tenants. If a wardrobe has collapsed or a carpet is smelling like mildew, you should ask immediately and help resolve the situation.
Larger expenses such as boilers are a massive concern for landlords who are required to foot the cost. Having your insurance policy drawn up from the start of the tenancy will mean any unexpected blown boilers won’t keep you awake at night.
Your policy with CIA
Landlord insurance is the best way to safeguard your financial future and protect your investment. Make sure you have all the appropriate cover before your tenants move in. Send us a message or get a quote today and we’ll start the process of building your policy.
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