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Old 10.07.2014, 12:16
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Should I pay this bill or my landlord?

Hi ,
Last week I had a knock at my door and a tradesman was standing there ready to do some work, I had no idea who he was who asked him to come etc so I referred him to my landlord who lives next door.
It soon transpired that he was a chimney sweep who legally must come once every 3 years to check the flue is clean and safe etc.
I rent a property out in the UK and I know as a landlord there I pay for everything to do with maintenance and safety. I have received the bill this morning for the chimney service and wondered if this is my responsibility?
Advice would be greatly appreciated, Thanks
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Old 10.07.2014, 12:19
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Re: Should I pay this bill or my landlord?

Just to add for clarity I live in a house, the chimney is not for an open fireplace, there isnt one, it is purely used in conjunction with the central heating.Incase that makes any difference at all.
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Old 10.07.2014, 12:34
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Re: Should I pay this bill or my landlord?

One would think that as it's a safety maintenance matter and which is legally mandated that it would be the responsibility of the Landlord and certainly, in the UK, that is the case.

However, sometimes things work mightly different here and which can, at times, seemingly make no sense at all to us as outsiders...

Is there anything about this in your contract with the Landlord? Did he/she mention this when you viewed the house? How would the tradesman have gained access if there'd been no-one at home?
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Old 10.07.2014, 12:36
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Re: Should I pay this bill or my landlord?

Ultimately yes: this is considered part of the heating cost. If your rental contract says you are responsible for "Heizkosten" (and most do) then that includes chimney cleaning, periodic boiler maintenance etc. but not repairs or renovations.

Normally the landlord pays all such bills, you pay him a certain amount of estimated "Nebenkosten" each month, and once a year he sends you a statement of actual utility costs for that year so you can settle up the difference. If chimney cleaning is an expense that only occurs every 3 years, the yearly statement should include 1/3 of that expense every year, rather than a lump sum in one year and then nothing for the next two years.

If that's not how you and your landlord choose to work things (some are more "by the book" than others) that's OK too. You two might decide it makes more sense for you to just pay the bill directly, either way it comes out of your pocket in the end so why get someone else involved? This is the formally correct way of doing it though.
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Old 10.07.2014, 12:44
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Re: Should I pay this bill or my landlord?

Thanks for that reply, as long as I know it is my responsibility then I am happy to pay.
At least I know now my flue is safe!
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Old 11.07.2014, 00:54
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Re: Should I pay this bill or my landlord?

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Ultimately yes: this is considered part of the heating cost. If your rental contract says you are responsible for "Heizkosten" (and most do) then that includes chimney cleaning, periodic boiler maintenance etc. but not repairs or renovations.

Normally the landlord pays all such bills, you pay him a certain amount of estimated "Nebenkosten" each month, and once a year he sends you a statement of actual utility costs for that year so you can settle up the difference. If chimney cleaning is an expense that only occurs every 3 years, the yearly statement should include 1/3 of that expense every year, rather than a lump sum in one year and then nothing for the next two years.

If that's not how you and your landlord choose to work things (some are more "by the book" than others) that's OK too. You two might decide it makes more sense for you to just pay the bill directly, either way it comes out of your pocket in the end so why get someone else involved? This is the formally correct way of doing it though.
When you rent a single family house, unlike an apartment, there are no shared utilities so as the tenant you pay all the utility costs directly, and as such there are no "nebenkosten." The utilities such as water, and electricity are set up in the tenant's name though there are exceptions where the Gemeinde insists these remain in the home owner's name. If there is oil heating, often the tenant is responsible for ordering and paying for the oil. When you move in, the tank level should be noted on the inspection report. Sometimes the landlord looks after ordering the oil and bills the tenant for the oil. It really does vary.

The decalcing of the boiler also comes out of the tenant's pocket, but again, like the chimney sweep, this is not an annual task.

How long have you lived there? The important question to ask when moving in is when were these things last done. Then you know when they are next due and what portion of the costs you will be responsible for and when. The boiler should have a sticker on it. The chimney sweep doesn't usually put a sticker anywhere but they keep records and know their last visit.

It is not always possible to find out if there was a previous tenant and how long they lived there, but services carried out every few years but not done yet because they are not due are billed proportionately to the leaving tenant.

So I am not entirely convinced that you need to pay for the chimney sweep unless you have already lived there 3 years. If less, then someone (either the previous tenant or the landlord) is responsible for the previous years.

Without seeing your rental contract, the lease start inspection, or knowing how long you have lived there, it is impossible to give a definite answer.

It is probably best to talk to your landlord. I do know of landlords who pay for this.
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