Niamh O’Reilly is a member of the Geomatics Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.
Should I mow lawn in rented house?
Q We live in a rented house and the landlord left a lawnmower in the shed. Does that mean I have to cut the grass? Surely maintenance is up to him? I lived in an apartment before and all of the gardening was taken care of by the management company.
A Your first port of call should be to check the tenancy agreement that you would have signed with your landlord when you moved in. The tenancy agreement contains all of the information relating to the tenancy and sets out the rights and responsibilities of all parties to the lease.
In my experience, in the case of house rentals, it is usual that the tenant would be responsible for cutting the grass. The fact that the landlord has provided a lawnmower would also suggest this.
Your mention that you previously rented an apartment and the outside areas were taken care of by the management company. This is because in apartment developments, the areas outside the apartments are common areas under the control of the management company.
It is different in the case of a house where a back garden is the property of the owner.
It is good practice for tenants and landlords to agree all such matters before finalising a lease agreement so that it is clear who is responsible for what.
I can only assume that in your case this was not discussed and hence the reason for your query and so I would suggest that you speak with your landlord now and take it from there.
On the matter of maintenance, a landlord is responsible for ensuring that the house is habitable and meets health and safety regulations and fire safety rules and that it has proper services.
He or she is responsible for upkeep and maintenance, as long as any problems that arise are not the fault of the tenant.
Fergal Hopkins is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.
Shall I buy now to get mortgage interest relief?
Q What benefits would the extension of the mortgage interest relief, announced in the last budget, mean to me? Is it worth buying a home now to avail of the extra relief?
A Mortgage interest relief measures introduced in last year’s budget are due to run out at the end of 2012. If you buy before the end of the year you are likely to be able to avail of relief depending on your circumstances. You don’t mention whether you are a first-time buyer or not.