Posted by Admin - 11/04/2016
With more and more of us owning various internet driven devices, it is becoming increasingly important to tenants that they can get a fast and reliable internet connection in their home, especially in the younger generation who put it to the top of their wish list when looking for a property to rent. But who’s responsibility should this facility be, the landlord or the tenant?
As long as your property is in an area where a good internet connection is available, that will be enough for some tenants, however, if you have an internet connection already installed, you might find your property easier to let.
If one is installed, remember to switch the account into the tenant’s name when they take over the tenancy rather than paying for it yourself. Aside from the cost, there are 2 main reasons for this.
The first is that these types of companies will only deal with the person who is named on the account.
Therefore, if the router fails or there’s some other problem with the connection, which, lets be honest, can happen quite a lot, then the tenant will have to contact you to sort it out for them.
Call centres can leave you on hold for ages and you will probably have to be at the property at the time of the call to unplug and plug things back in whilst following their instruction over the phone so don’t add such a burden to your life.
Secondly, if the account is in your name, you might be held responsible for your tenant’s online activity.
This is still a grey area, but never the less there is a risk that if your tenant engages in illegal activity, such as file-sharing, you might be held responsible as the account holder and sued.
However, there are properties such as HMO’s which mean it may be necessary for you to provide and pay for a broadband connection and include this cost in the rental price.
Similarly, if you take a short-term tenant they might not want to open an account as most internet providers ask users to sign a 12-month contract. Usually this can be transferred to the next tenant, but as there’s no guarantee they’ll want to take over the account, they might not want to risk it.
If you do decide to provide and pay for the internet connection yourself, make sure you include a clause in the tenancy agreement stating that the tenant mustn’t upload or download any illegal content.
You should also make it clear that the internet connection is for personal use only and that the tenant shouldn’t depend on this for work purposes. If you don’t take this precaution and the tenant has made you aware that they intend to work from home, they could try to sue you for loss of income should the internet connection fail.
Rapid improvements in mobile technology mean that one day soon it might not be necessary for tenants to access the internet via a home phone line, they could well be able to access fast, cheap internet via their smartphones, but until then, make sure your property can access a good internet connection.