#AskTheLandlord Q&A with Gertie Owen

It’s no secret that there’s a stereotype when it comes to landlords, and most of the time you’ll only hear of the horror stories when they’ve not fulfilled their duties. The landlord almost becomes the enemy. You get where we’re heading with this…
But actually, the majority of landlords are good at what they do. And a crucial part of having a good renting experience is your relationship with your landlord. At ideal flatmate, we’ve seen the value and benefits that good quality and caring landlords can bring to a tenants life, alongside taking a genuine interest in the wellbeing of those living in their properties. For us, landlords are top folk.

And with this, we are grateful to Gertie Owen for being ideal flatmate’s first featured landlord in our #AskTheLandlord campaign. Gertie is a former ‘Landlord of the Year’ winner and a member of Platinum Property Partners, an award winning group of landlords committed to upholding high standards in customer service and property management. She is known for going ‘above and beyond’ for her tenants and the Christmas gifts she personally delivers to them have become legendary!

#AskTheLandlord Q&A

Should we be paying the cleaning bill before we start a tenancy? The landlord has quoted us £120 for ‘special conditions’, because we’ve requested the property be cleaned before we move in.

The property or room should be in a clean condition at the beginning of every tenancy and evidenced as such in the inventory. It is then the responsibility of the vacating tenant to return the room in the same condition. If anything is unclean this should be addressed by the Landlord with the exiting tenant and rectified prior to any new tenancy.

Am I allowed to get keys cut for when a friend visits? Do I have to ask the agency/landlord first ?

Most tenancy agreements will not permit you to have keys cut for the property or room for anyone who is not on the agreement. As a single tenant only you are permitted a set of keys for security reasons

What do I do if I accidentally set the kitchen on fire whilst cooking and damaged the work surface? Should I repair it myself?

If you damage something in your rental property it is always advisable to tell your Landlord. If the damage means the item can no longer be used you may have to pay compensation to your Landlord or pay for the cost of replacement. Any replacement where required should always be like for like.

What are the rules around keeping pets in a flat? Do you have to pay the landlord?

Tenancy agreements usually outline if pets are permitted in a property and if there are any associated costs.. Some agreements will cover pet deposits and what you will need to do at the end of the tenancy i.e. have the flat fumigated. It is also important to note that there may be management rules to adhere to if you are renting a flat in a block and they may not permit pets. It is always better to speak to your Landlord if you are unsure and remember you will be responsible for rectifying any damage caused by a pet.

How many people are we allowed to have around to stay over during the weekend – should we inform the landlord of lots of friends are staying over?

If you rent your own place you don’t need to tell your Landlord if you’re having friends over. It is advisable to let them know if you are having a party and always important to be respectful of your neighbours.
If you rent in a house share you will need to check your tenancy agreement and house rules regarding overnight guests and always make sure your housemates are happy with your plans.

Will we be told in advance if the rent is ever going to be increased?

Your tenancy agreement should include information regarding rent increases and when they can occur. For a monthly tenancy where you pay rent on a monthly basis your Landlord will need to give you at least one month’s notice. Your Landlord cannot increase the rent more than once a year without your agreement. If you are in the fixed term of your tenancy your Landlord can only increase the rent if you agree or after the end of the fixed term

Can we change our bill suppliers if we feel that we can get a better rate elsewhere?

If you are responsible for the utility bills in the property it is important to let your Landlord know if you intend to change utility providers. Some Landlords may also require that the account is returned to the original supplier at the end of the tenancy.

Got a question that you haven’t quite been able to ask your own landlord? Head to our Ask The Landlord page and ask away!