Building works during a tenancy
As advice for landlords we strongly recommend doing any major work before the tenancy starts or between tenancies.
If you have renewed the tenancy and the tenant has been in occupation for two or more years, it is understandable that you might want to carry out some repairs or maintenance. Occasionally, a tenant will agree to the work being done during his or her absence on holiday, but this can’t be guaranteed. If you want to carry out work while the tenant is there, proceed with caution because the tenant is legally entitled to the ‘quiet enjoyment of the property’.
Always discuss planned building work with your tenant and agent before starting.
If you want to do the work yourself, no matter how charming and tactful you are the tenant is likely to feel your presence as an invasion of privacy, especially if the work takes longer than expected. Sending in a qualified contractor, a neutral third party, is a much better solution.
If you really must do the work yourself, then enlist the help of another person to partially diffuse any possibility of territorial irritation.
Although you may feel certain you will avoid any comments which may upset the tenant, it can be very difficult if you think your property / home is not being as well cared for as if you lived there. This especially applies to gardens. If your garden maintenance matters greatly, then employing a gardener and including the cost in the rent is essential to avoid future problems.
Don’t ever visit without giving the required 24 hours’ notice specified in the tenancy agreement.
Beware of well-meaning neighbours’ critical comments which can greatly inflame a situation.
Best of all, leave it to your agent to instruct contractors on your behalf. At Finders Keepers we are experienced at arranging ongoing work at a convenient time for the tenant or tactfully putting across your opinion. Bricks & Mortar, our building division, has excellent, approved subcontractors for all types of projects.
This is one of the 50 most asked questions in our book: Landlord Intelligence.