REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE: Landlords and tenants must keep the property in good condition.
A landlord renting out a property must also meet some specified safety standards. This applies to any gas or electrical systems installed in the property.
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is the law implying a term into a tenancy agreement. It covers private landlord responsibilities and obligations for carrying out basic repairs.
The landlord repairs law applies to written and oral tenancy agreements.
When Can a Landlord Enter a Property?
A landlord has the legal right to enter their property to make an inspection or to carry out repairs.
But, landlords must give at least 24 hours’ prior notice to their tenant before entering. Your tenant has the legal right to be inside the property during any repair.
As a rule, the landlord has the responsibility for making repairs to:
- The physical structure of their property.
- Baths, sinks, basins, and other sanitary fittings.
- Heating and hot water systems.
- Anything the tenant damages while attempting repairs.
Note: Immediate access to the home may be possible in emergency situations.
Landlord repairs responsibilities cannot get cancelled out by anything agreed in the tenancy. A landlord must not pass any of their costs for any obligatory repair work to their tenant.
What if the property sustains severe damage from a flood, fire, or other similar incident? In this case the landlord is not compelled to rebuild or renovate it. But, if they do, then they cannot charge their tenant for making property repairs of this sort.
Landlord Repairing Common Areas
The landlord of a block of flats is usually responsible for repairing any common areas. This can include common walkways and spaces such as staircases.
In some cases, local councils can ask the landlord to fix problems in such common areas. They may also instruct landlords to repair a flat that another tenant damaged.
Landlord Refusing to Repair
If a landlord refuses to make repairs, the tenant can:
- Claim at the small claims court for repairs less than £5,000.
- In some cases, make the repairs themselves and then deduct the cost from their rental payment.
Your tenants have legal rights if you fail to make repairs to remove hazards. They can ask the council to inspect the property under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. They can then take any necessary action to get the hazard removed.
The council will take action on any dangerous Housing Health and Safety Rating System hazard ratings.
Property Unfit for Living (temporary)
There may be some situations that make the property temporarily unfit to live in. In this case you can ask your tenants to move out while making major repairs. But, you should agree certain points in writing before they move out, such as:
- How long it will take to complete the repair work.
- The right of your tenant to move back into the property.
- Full details of any alternative accommodation arranged for your tenant.
The house repossession process does not allow you to repossess a property for repair work. But, there are options available if you are planning to carry out substantial repairs or redevelop the property.
You should apply to the courts to get an order informing your tenants to leave. Courts usually grants the order when you provide alternative accommodation for your tenant.
Rent Abatement During Repairs
In some circumstances the repairs may be very disruptive for your tenants. Often, they can claim a reduction on their rent or ‘rent abatement’. As a rule, the amount of reduction depends on how much of the property is unusable.
Tenant Responsibilities UK
Most of this information covers landlord responsibilities for making repairs. But, tenants responsibilities mean you must occupy your home in a responsible way. That means you should:
- Keep the home clean and avoid damaging the property (including your house guests).
- Use heating appliances correctly and avoid blocking flues or ventilation pipes.
- Carry out minor repairs and maintenance such as:
- Replace batteries in a smoke alarm.
- Fix a bathroom cabinet.
- Repair internal doors.
- Renew sealant around a bath tub.
A landlord has no responsibility for fixing any furniture or appliances that you own. These types of personal possessions are your full responsibility.
Tenants rarely need to pay for fair wear and tear to a rental home. But, in most cases you must pay for repairing things that you have damaged in the property.
Note: Your landlord can deduct money from your tenancy deposit if you fail to fix damage that you cause.