A lease is a legally binding contract defining the responsibilities and obligations on both you, the tenant, and Fife Council as the landlord.
This guide is intended to explain the principal lease obligations in plain terms. However, you should always refer to your lease for the details on any given obligation. Tenants should seek their own independent legal advice before entering into a lease, in order to fully understand their legal obligations.
Areas of responsibility
There will be a description of the property you are leasing, which should also describe any external areas and rights of access. Usually a plan will be attached to the lease.Back To Top
The lease will have a fixed term and an end date. Prior to the end date, the landlord will serve a notice to quit. This requires the tenant to leave the property at the end date.
The landlord may provide the tenant with an opportunity to extend the lease if the tenant requests this. If neither party takes action to terminate the lease, it continues for a further year at the same rent and on the same terms and conditions until one party gives notice to terminate.Back To Top
Rent is normally payable by Direct Debit. It's the tenant’s responsibility to make sure that rent is paid on time. The landlord is entitled to receive rent.
Should the tenant fail to pay the rent on the dates specified in the lease then the landlord will serve notices demanding any outstanding rent be paid. If the rent continues to be unpaid then the landlord’s ultimate remedy is to terminate the lease.
The landlord will require the rent to be reviewed at regular intervals and the lease will provide a mechanism for how this is calculated. Once agreed/established then the tenant will be asked to sign a rent review memorandum recording the new rent.Back To Top
The Council will arrange and maintain buildings insurance for the external fabric of the building and fixtures and fittings belonging to the Council. This includes sinks, toilets and built in units, for example. The Council will recover the premium from the tenant. This is invoiced by the Risk Management Team and is usually paid annually.
The Council arranges two building insurance policies for tenants to choose from. Both cover standard risks such as fire, lightning, explosion, aircraft, riot and civil commotion, earthquake, escape of water, storm, flood and impact. The second policy provides additional cover items. If you are unsure which policy is most suitable for you, you should seek your own independent insurance advice.
The tenant is required to maintain suitable insurance for all contents placed in the property. Tenant’s insurance should also cover external doors, windows and glass.
The tenant is required to maintain Public Liability Insurance to cover you for any damage or injury to a third party (or their property) attending the building. The tenant is also liable to indemnify the landlord against all claims for loss, damage and injury, including death if the tenant is at fault.
The tenant is typically responsible for all repairs and maintenance to the property, both internal and external. The tenant needs to either accept the property in good and livable condition at the start of the lease or the landlord and the tenant will record the condition of the property at the date of entry by agreeing a schedule of conditions. This includes the repair and where necessary replacement of:
- roof coverings and structure and any roof lights
- external flues or cowls
- wall cladding and any other walling material or fabric,
- gutters and downpipes
- any yard surface covered by the lease and associated fencing
- external doors and all ironmongery (including locks)
- roller or sectional doors (including locks and any electric mechanism)
- windows and glass
- security shutters
- toilet and kitchen fittings, including service pipes and drainage
- wash sinks and water supplies, including service pipes and drainage
- electric hot water boilers or geysers
- internal pass doors and all ironmongery
- lighting, heating and electrical equipment
- electrical power points and installations (including annual system test)
- decorative order and cosmetic finishes
- security systems, including sensors
- intruder, fire and smoke alarms
- septic tanks
- garden maintenance
A tenant may use any equipment or installation left by a previous occupier, but this will be at their own risk and no warranty is offered by the landlord as to safety or compliance.
The landlord is entitled to inspect the property (on giving prior notice) and may issue a notice to repair if the tenant is not complying with the repairing obligations.Back To Top
The landlord will reserve rights to come onto the property to inspect the property, or to maintain an adjacent property owned by the landlord. Notice will be given to the tenant in advance. The landlord may also take entry for the purposes of marketing the property towards the end of the lease.Back To Top
The tenant is liable for paying rates to the Council, along with all water, drainage and sewerage charges.Back To Top
The tenant must take out their own contracts for utilities. gas, electricity, water and telecoms charges, and are payable direct to the tenant’s contracted supplier of choice.Back To Top
The tenant is responsible for all collection and disposal of waste and should take out their own contracts for this, if necessary.Back To Top
Use of the property will be stated in the lease and is exclusive to the tenant. If a change of use (or additional use) is required, the tenant will require to apply to the landlord (and possible the planning authority) for consent to this.Back To Top
Alterations, additions, modifications, or enhancements to any part of the property is forbidden, without landlord’s prior written consent. The tenant will be asked to provide as much detail as possible, including plans and drawings, to describe the works required.
The tenant will be required to enter into a Licence for Works and will have to pay the landlord’s reasonable legal and estates fees for consenting to this.Back To Top
The tenant must comply with all relevant Legislation, Regulations and Codes of Practice, including (but not limited to):
- Health & Safety
- Fire Risk Assessment
- Asbestos (Risk register is provided by landlord at entry and tenant is then responsible for monitoring of Asbestos and updating the Register)
- Electrical Safety Hard Wire and Portable Appliance Testing
- Gas Regulations - the tenant is required to service and maintain boilers and heating systems in a safe condition. A valid safety certificate should be provided at lease termination
Legionella and Legionnaires DiseaseBack To Top
At the end of the lease, no matter how the lease is terminated, the tenant will be responsible for any dilapidations (repairs/replacements) required. If a schedule of conditions was entered at the start of the lease, the landlord will require the property to be returned to at least the same condition as was accepted by the tenant at date of entry.
Any dilapidations will include the provision of an up-to-date Electrical Installation Certificate, especially if alterations to the electrical circuits has occurred. An up-to-date asbestos register will also be required.Back To Top
The tenant cannot assign the lease to another party, share occupation, or sub-lease the property to another party without the landlord’s written consent. If consent is granted, this will need to be documented and the tenant will be liable to pay the landlord’s reasonably incurred legal and estates fees.Back To Top
The tenant will be required to operate the property in an energy efficient manner.Back To Top
Please note, current legislation should always be checked at the date of requirement.