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In England, two landlords are testing a system that pays tenants to do their own routine repairs. Will it catch on?

paid to diyIf you're going it anyways, shouldn't you get the cash? Photo: Getty

Ever find yourself unclogging your drain or repairing a chipped tile and grumbling "I should really be paid for this"?

England's National Housing Federation feels your pain. The BBC reports that housing associations and councils spend about $1,633 on repairs per property, per year. So doesn't it make sense to put the money in the hands of the renters, rather than the contractors?

No, that doesn't mean renters will be in charge of everything that goes wrong -- just the little things. Landlords will still be responsible for uneven floorboards, where-did-those-come-from ceiling leaks and complicated plumbing issues.

And for the truly anti-DIY crowd, fear not: Tenants are allowed to use the cash for hiring help on their own...or perhaps buying dinner for a particularly handy friend. And while some skeptics might argue that simply paying tenants to take on a landlord's duties makes things more difficult for the renter, consider this: With the easier stuff pushed off their plates, wouldn't landlords be better equipped to handle major repairs? After all, if my landlord didn't have to deal with every one of my 29 building-mates calling to get a fix for their chipped sink, maybe he'd have time to tackle that weird water sound happening in all of our bathrooms. Or get the washing machine to stop eating my quarters.

And he's not the only person to benefit -- if I knew I could get paid for painting over the spackle he placed after a minor leak, I'd get around to it much sooner. Housing Minister Grant Shapps says it best: "When residents take pride in their homes it saves their landlords cash, so I think it's right that tenants should benefit too."

What do you think: Would you welcome cash-for-DIYing? Or do you want all home repair issues off your to-do list?

What about you?

  • AshleyR

    I am a reluctant landlord. I couldn't sell my house last year, so I've rented it out to a nice young couple. In the rental agreement, it very clearly states that they are responsible for repairs that cost $100 or less and I am responsible for repairs above that. I also made it clear to them that if there is an issue that they cannot take care of, they need to contact me so that it doesn’t become a bigger problem (like a leak under the sink, for example).
    But I also charge very low rent for the area and they know this and they love the house. They are happy to do things to “their house” instead of having me come by all the time. I leave them alone, and they take care of the house for me. Win-win.

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