'Contract-holder-Like Manner'

"Tenant-like manner" was the phrase that, for nearly 70 years, was relied upon by landlords in Wales to illustrate to their tenants that they are expected to do the little jobs around the house that someone would normally do as a householder, such as changing fuses, unblocking sinks and cleaning windows.

The term came from the judgment of Lord Denning in the 1953 Warren v Keen court case, when he said:

"But what does it mean, "to use the premises in a tenant-like manner"? It can, I think, best be shown by some illustrations. The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, when necessary, and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste.

In short, he must do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house, wilfully or negligently; and he must see that his family and guests do not damage it; and if they do, he must repair it. But apart from such things, if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time or for any reason not caused by him, then the tenant is not liable to repair it."

But when Welsh Government introduced The Renting Homes (Wales) Act, they explicitly struck out the meaning of 'tenant-like manner' by inserting this line into the Act:

"The rule of law under which a tenant has an implied duty to use demised premises in a tenant-like manner does not apply to a contract-holder if the tenancy is an occupation contract."

We firmly believe that the introduction of one Act shouldn't undo many years' worth of mutual understanding and acceptance between landlords and occupiers, so our Written Statement (Welsh Gov's term for "tenancy agreement") continues to make occupiers responsible for the things that they were previously responsible for under 'tenant-like manner'. We're calling it "contract-holder-like manner".

Below, we have listed some of the items that CPS Homes' contract-holders are responsible for as per the terms of the Written Statement, along with advice where applicable.

Contract-holders - did you know?

We have a full contract-holder-help guide available on our website, so give it a quick once-over before reporting any maintenance issues, as the answer to your problems (well, certain problems... we're not that good!) may well be there.

Naturally, there are going to be some things that are beyond your capabilities. After all, you're not going to be expected to go on a plumbing course just because you've chosen to rent a property! So if there's anything you're unsure of, it's always best to make contact with your landlord or managing agent and have them offer their advice.

Always be sure to report any maintenance issues you can't deal with yourself as soon as possible via our reporting system. Any delay may result in a deterioration in condition or, in the worst case scenario, irreparable damage, which you'd rather not be held responsible for because you didn't report it in time. It sounds outlandish, but it has been known to happen!

Bear in mind that if you instruct a contractor call-out, even in an emergency situation, you may be liable for a call-out charge that your landlord does not have to pay.

Reporting maintenance issues

Contract-holders must report all maintenance issues immediately. Any delays may result in the deterioration of the condition or, in the worst case scenario, irreparable damage. Reports can be made in a variety of ways: in person at one of our offices, over the telephone, or online.

If a contractor attends following a report of damage or disrepair and the callout was unnecessary or as a result of contract-holder (including guest) damage, the contract-holders will be liable for their callout charge and also be responsible for fixing any damage.

Anti-social behaviour

By law, all Written Statements must contain anti-social behaviour clauses that state contract-holders and their visitors must not engage or threaten to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person living in the subject property or a property in the nearby area. Where they do so, the law permits the landlord to issue an immediate possession notice and commence court proceedings on the same day.

Fire safety

Contract-holders must not conduct activities that increase the risk of fire. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of candles, deep fat fryers, charging of e-bikes, e-scooters or any similar equipment, and smoking.

Additionally, it is vital that occupiers do not tamper with, move or adjust any firefighting equipment within the dwelling, unless for its intended use. Where any irregularities or concerns with any firefighting equipment are identified, they must be reported immediately.

Gas safety

To protect their own health and to comply with gas safety-related regulations, contract-holders mustn’t block ventilators provided to the property. They’re expected to immediately report brown or sooty build-up or any gas appliance.


Contract-holders are required to test all smoke and heat alarms on a weekly basis and carbon monoxide alarms on a monthly basis. Where batteries in alarms need replacing, they must replace them immediately.

Condensation and mould

To quote Rent Smart Wales’ advice on condensation and mould, “in 99.99% of cases, the cure for condensation and mould growth is heating and ventilating a property. This is why tenants must take responsibility for the way they live in their home”.

The common causes for condensation are well-known:

  • Not using the heating system.
  • Drying clothes indoors.
  • Not opening windows or covering pans when cooking.
  • Having the furniture (wardrobes, beds, sofas, etc) too tight up against the wall. There should always be a sufficient gap between furniture and walls, so as to allow air to flow between them.
  • Putting wet clothes/shoes into the wardrobe before letting them dry, e.g. after coming in from the rain. The moisture has to go somewhere within that enclosed space.
  • Overfilling the wardrobe so that air has no room to flow between items of clothing.

Landlords also have a responsibility to help prevent mould caused by condensation. If the answer to any of the below questions is “no”, we ask contract-holders to let us know so that we can have a conversation with their landlord about making some changes:

  • Is the heating system working properly and are all parts of each radiator hot to touch when turned on?
  • Does the room in question have a trickle vent fitted to the window? They can sometimes be fitted retrospectively, but do need to be left open and will provide a slight draught from outside. They’re a help, but not a cure.
  • If the issue is in a bathroom, is the extractor fan working and does it stay on for a short while after you turn the light off in the room? Check if it works by holding a piece of toilet roll up to it; it should ‘catch’ it.
  • Do you have a tumble dryer in the property?

Mould caused by condensation is not to be confused with damp, which is caused by a structural defect in the property. We have a Damp, Condensation and Mould webpage covering these subjects.

NOTE: Bear in mind that textured coatings, such as Artex, may contain low levels of asbestos – a potentially dangerous substance if disturbed. Such coatings are considered safe when not disturbed, and the cleaning of walls and ceilings would not generally be expected to be undertaken in a manner that damages or disturbs surfaces, so any risk of exposure to asbestos is extremely low. We recommend the use of spray-on mould killers, then gently wiping it off using a soft wet cloth.


To prevent blockages to the drains, pipes, sinks or baths, contract-holders mustn’t dispose of sanitary products, wet wipes, food, hairs or any foreign object via sinks, toilets or external drains. In the event of a blockage, occupiers are required to unblock sinks, toilets and external drains by hand or, if required, by using bleach or specifically manufactured products.

Our webpages – ‘Dealing with blocked, slow-flushing or noisy toilets’ and ‘Dealing with blocked or slow-draining drains’’ – will help in this regard.


To prevent blockages and to ensure appliances work at their optimum level, contract-holders must empty their filters regularly. This includes but is not limited to fridges, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers and dryers. This practice can also prevent fires, especially in the case of dryers were lint collects. Additionally, occupiers must defrost freezers regularly and empty water from condensing dryers. In summary, contract-holders must follow ‘best care’ instructions for all appliances.

Freezing conditions

To prevent damage to the property by frost or ice, contract-holders are expected to take all reasonable precautions when cold-to-freezing temperatures are expected, such as leaving the heating system on a timer or a low setting to prevent pipes from freezing and potentially bursting. This includes when away from the property, such as during students’ Christmas break from university. A burst pipe can cause no-end of damage to both the landlord’s and the occupants’ contents, and could render a property uninhabitable.

Boiler pressure

If experiencing no hot water or heating, contract-holders must check the boiler’s pressure gauge and, if it indicates lower than 1.5 Bar, must attempt to top-up the pressure to between 1 and 1.5 Bar. Instructions on how to do this can be found within the boiler manual or via our ‘How to top up boiler pressure’ webpage and video. Continual drops in pressure are likely to mean a leak in the system, which should be reported immediately.

Bleeding radiators

If a radiator is not working, or is only reaching a lukewarm temperature in part or in its entirety, contract-holders must bleed it. Instructions on doing so can be found on our ‘How to bleed a radiator’ webpage and video. The process of bleeding a radiator will reduce the boiler’s pressure, which must be topped-up to between 1 and 1.5 Bar after bleeding. Instructions on how to do this can be found within the boiler manual or via ‘How to top up boiler pressure’ webpage and video.

Pests and waste management

To prevent pests, contract-holders must empty bins regularly and set them out for collection on the days prescribed by the local authority: see Cardiff Council’s “when are my bins collected?” webpage. Where contract-holders report the presence of pests more than 21 days after they collect their keys to move in, our Written Statement makes them liable for the cost of any pest control or eradication services required, as by then it is deemed that they have invited them into the property through their actions (or lack of).

Our webpages and videos – ‘A guide to kerbside waste collection’ and ‘A guide to recycling’ – will help in this regard.

Loss of electricity

Where there is no electricity throughout or in part of the property, contract-holders must check their fuse board in case any of the circuit-breakers have tripped. If one is in an ‘off’ position or in a different position to the other circuit-breakers, they must return it to ‘on’ or to the same position as the other circuit-breakers.

The issue could be caused by a local outage. Refer to National Grid’s ‘power cuts’ webpage to see if an issue is affecting your area, or check with a neighbour.

Loose screws and slats

To keep fixtures, fittings and furniture in a fully-functioning condition, contract-holders must tighten loose screws. We recommend that every group of occupants has a screwdriver set to hand.

Similarly, occupiers must re-fit fallen or dislodged bed slats.


Where an electrical item has stopped working due to the fuse within its plug needing to be replaced, contract-holders must replace the fuse. Our ‘How to change a plug’ webpage and video will help in this regard.


Contract-holders must keep the gardens, driveways, pathways, lawns, hedges and rockeries as neat, tidy and properly tended to as they were at the occupation date, and not remove any trees or plants.

If after reading the above points you would still like to contact us with an issue, please click the button and provide as much information as possible.