In today’s digital world, many people would not happily survive without internet. For many tenants, it is a vital utility - as key as gas, electric and water!
Research from GoCompare Broadband of 1,950 broadband users found that we Brits are now using our home broadband for a huge variety of tasks – as well as browsing the internet (81%), 50% use it for watching catch up TV services, 34% stream films and TV, 22% enjoy listening to music through music-streaming sites like Spotify, 18% store files and data on cloud storage facilities and 17% game online. With so much reliance on a good connection, it is no surprise that 9% believe that their broadband is too slow for what they want to do!
As well as entertainment purposes, 16% work from home on a regular basis, with 6% running a business from their home. Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, and many landlords are accepting of the fact that their tenants are hoping to use their property as a working space, as well as a home. (Although, do remember that if you have a mortgage on the property, you should also check with both your mortgage and insurance providers that these changes won’t affect your policies, and be aware that bringing a business into the premises may have a significant effect on your mortgage premium. If your property is a flat, your leasehold contract may dictate that you are not allowed to run a business from the property. In which case, you need to communicate this to the prospective tenant!)
With so much reliance on today’s digital world, many landlords are now offering inclusive broadband as an incentive to prospective tenants. This can be a great idea, and a popular benefit – but should you make the switch?
For security reasons, many organisations will not speak to anyone other than the named account holder. This could mean that if you are providing broadband, whenever your tenant has connectivity issues, you will get a phone call and be required to sit on the phone to customer services. This is all well and good, but often there is a need to reset routers and hardware located at the property, which you would not be able to do without access – which would mean your tenant could be stuck without internet for up to 24 hours.
Currently, around 2.4 million properties are still without a 10Mbits per second connection, however the Digital Economy Bill 2017 is hoping to change this, ensuring 24Mbits per second to every household in the UK.
The Budget in April further supported this, with Philip Hammond promising investment in infrastructure to boost the UK to a superfast internet powerhouse, with work on the scheme starting straightaway.
Despite the promises, GoCompare Broadband’s research revealed that 46% of participants have never even tested their broadband speed. If you hold the responsibility for the broadband, keeping on top of the line speed could become a pesky problem.
You can test the speed of the internet at your property here
Damage to property
There are many services which offer ‘bundles’ of tv, phoneline and internet, which can offer your tenant a better value. However, there are often horror stories of such providers installing cables which damage property.
If there is damage to the exterior of the property over and above the holes made by the cables, you could seek to speak to the company responsible – they generally make every effort to be neat and tidy, so there is a possibility that there is room for a claim.
However, it is unlikely that an external organisation will be prepared to accept responsibility for any damage inside the property. You will have to pursue your tenant for this. If there has been damage caused,
If you manage an HMO, it can be easier to handle the bills yourself and build them into your tenants rent.
However, if you are charging your tenants for a service, it is important to make sure that you can provide this service consistently, and it may be worth looking into investing in signal boosters to ensure that all tenants have reliable access to a WIFI signal, no matter where the router is located.
Additionally, check with your provider if internet service with be impacted by multiple tenants downloading – if everyone is trying to download Game of Thrones or the Great British Bake Off at the same time, you can guarantee that you’ll be subject to some irritated messages!
if your package is subject to fees should you go over a certain download size on a monthly basis, it also may be worth instigating download caps – with a clear further payment fee structure if required – otherwise, you may find yourself with a pricey bill if you have a number of tenants all using the system at will.
Depending on the length of contract your tenants has taken on, it may make more sense for the contract for broadband to be in your name as most contracts are for 12 months. If your tenant is only intending to be in the property for the length of a short-term contract, it is unlikely that your tenant will want to commit to this extended duration. By keeping the contract in your name, you could pass the remaining term onto your next tenant.
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