Maintaining a Shared Roof – a case study

You may have concerns about owning a property that you rent out.

You need to ensure that it is being looked after and that the property does not deteriorate.

When you live nearby it is fairly easy to keep an eye on problems as they arise, but if you don’t it can be difficult to keep on top of maintenance and this is where Hastings Managed Letting Service can rescue the situation.

Case Study

A recent real life situation was where a client had moved away from the Borders and had leased out her flat. The property was the top flat of an old tenement building, over 100 years old, and it shared the roof with two other properties in the same building. When the flat was vacated by the tenant it was apparent that the roof had started to leak as the water penetration was affecting the walls and staining the wallpaper.

It is bad enough when you have costs to bring your property up to spec. but where there are shared costs that require a contribution from others, such as for roof repairs, it can be both problematic and time-consuming to arrange.

Negotiating with the neighbours

It can take months if not years to negotiate with the neighbours and in the meantime the property continues to deteriorate further.  It is important to address the situation promptly and not take an ostrich-like approach as the problem will not go away.  The situation our client was in became a crisis when the water ingressed to the electrics and it then became an issue of electrical safety and action was necessary.

As our client was living out-with the Borders she asked us to take on the management of the property and supervise the repairs. Borders Country Lets has its own in-house legal team at Hastings and their solicitors contacted the other property owners and reached an agreement on instructing a roofer to carry out the repairs.

They also secured shared contributions from the other flat owners. Borders Country Lets arranged for the internal décor to be brought back up to standard  and we took on the commissioning of the appropriate works by cleaners, painters, etc. The property was soon back up to spec and we found a suitable new tenant so the flat was gaining an income for our client again rather than lying empty, costing money and depreciating in value.

Meanwhile, the new tenant enjoyed a freshly decorated flat.

Local authority Legislation

Dealing with necessary repairs in a timely fashion is important for Landlords as many Councils, such as our own Scottish Borders Council, have introduced a policy whereby they penalise property owners who leave their property empty for more than a year; in this case by charging double the Council Tax.

Under the Scottish Private Housing (Tenancies) Legislation landlords in Scotland are required to be registered with the local authority as ‘fit and proper’ and to keep their properties in good order which is known as the ‘Repairing Standard’. This policy helps to keep good quality housing stock available for letting.

The lesson here for landlords is that, if a problem arises, address it promptly and make sure that you are aware of your legal position in the case of any shared costs. You don’t want to find you have lost out not only in terms of rental income but have a depreciating value property on your hands; often losing you more money than it would cost you to put it right

As Hastings Legal and Borders Country Lets are integrated, we work together to resolve situations for clients with property in the Scottish Borders.
“The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.”Lucretius
Contact our Legal team on 01573 226999 or Borders Country Lets 01573 225999

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