The responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant.
6th October 2017 | 12:00am
6th October 2017 | 12:00am
Landlord and Tenant repairing obligations
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sets out the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant.
The Landlord and Tenant Act came into effect on 30th October 1985 and refers to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies including periodic tenancies.
Section 11 of the Act sets out who is responsible for repairing a property whilst it is being rented.
The Act states the landlord is responsible:
to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling, including drains, gutters and external pipes,
to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity, and
to keep in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water.
(Section 11, Landlord and Tenant Act, 1985)
The landlord is required to keep the property in good repair throughout the tenancy, so that it remains up to the standard it was at the start of the agreement. If the property was not in good repair at the beginning of the tenancy the landlord may be required to repair these aspects, however, "to keep in repair" does not refer to the landlord having to make significant improvements to the property, to suit the tenant.
The landlord is responsible to maintain installations for the supply of:
Gas (servicing once a year by a registered CORGI gas engineer)
Space heating and heating water
This would include cisterns, radiators, boilers, heating ducts, water tanks, baths, sinks and all the pipes for gas and water as well as electrical sockets and wiring throughout the property.
Exterior and Structure
The landlord is responsible for the exterior of the property and any structural repairs that may be needed, but this excludes garden walls, gates and outdoor paving. The landlord would be required to repair any structural problems to the property which may occur. This could include damage to:
Drains and exterior pipes
Windows and doors (only as a result of structural problems, not damage by the tenant)
The landlord is not required to repair any interior problems such as internal plaster, internal doors or skirting boards, unless these are affected as a result of the exterior of the property not being in a good repair. In these circumstances, the landlord would be required to ensure these aspects were restored to good working order, had they been affected by the poor exterior of the property. The landlord would not be held responsible for any breakages caused by the tenant not abiding by the forms of the agreement and not using the property in a 'tenant-like manner'. For example, a broken window would not be the landlord’s responsibility to repair.
Furniture and Equipment
Equipment and furniture supplied by a landlord should be safe and in good working order. Upholstery items should be fire resistant and carry the fire safety standards label. If a piece of furniture is no longer working or unfit to use as a result of everyday wear and tear, then the landlord is required to replace or repair the item. The unsafe equipment or furniture should be reported to the landlord, who will then decide if it is worth repairing or if it would be more viable to replace the item. The landlord cannot charge the tenant or withhold the deposit for items which are unusable due to everyday wear and tear. If a tenant has damaged a piece of furniture or equipment through improper use or carelessness then the landlord is allowed to charge the tenant for the damage or withhold all or part of the deposit. All electrical equipment provided by a landlord must be safe and in good working order.
If a property is damp as a result of leaking pipes, a damaged roof or wall or an existing damp-proof course which is no longer effective, then the landlord would be responsible to carry out the necessary repairs. Damp in a property may be caused by condensation due to poor heating, insulation or ventilation and in these
circumstances the landlord would be required to resolve these problems. In such instances, the local Environmental Health Department could be involved to ensure the landlord takes the recommended action to eliminate damp. The property may be visited by an Environmental Health Officer who will assess the property and make recommendations to the landlord for repairs to be carried out.
If the damp in the property is as a result of condensation through tenants not drying clothes properly or improper use of heating and windows then the landlord would not normally be responsible to re-decorate as a result of the damp.
The Tenant's Responsibilities
Tenants have responsibility for maintaining certain aspects of the property, such as the garden, furniture and any equipment supplied by the landlord. The tenant must ensure the property:
Is not damaged by themselves or anyone else
Is not smoked in by themselves or others
Is looked after and general maintenance is carried out such as changing fuses, light bulbs and unblocking sinks if required.
That the heating system is used responsibly, ensuring that no vents are blocked.
If the tenant chooses to renovate or change the existing equipment in the property without the landlord’s permission and problems to the structure or interior of the property occur, it would not be the landlord’s responsibility to repair any damage caused. If a tenant causes any damage to furniture or the interior of the property then the landlord has a right to charge the tenant for any repair work carried out or replacements needed, through deducting damage costs from the deposit.
Notice of Repairs
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the landlord is not required to carry out repairs until the tenant reports the defect. The notice of repairs can be given verbally or in writing, but it is preferable to issue a written notice as proof of the landlord being made aware of the repairs required. The tenant must then give the landlord sufficient time to carry out the necessary repairs. If a landlord fails to carry out the repair work which they are responsible for then the tenant may try and obtain a court order to ensure the work is carried out. If repair work fails to be carried out by a landlord, the tenant will be required to show proof of the notice given in order to put forward a claim. Letters to the landlord notifying them of the state of disrepair or a letter from the landlord agreeing to repair the property can be used as proof when making a claim. If the landlord does not wish to carry out the repairs the tenant feels are required, they may choose to evict the tenant.