Everything you need to know about landlord repair obligations

When you’re renting a place, it’s important to know what repairs your landlord must make and what falls under your responsibility. In the UK, landlords have clear obligations to keep their properties in a good state of repair. Here’s everything you need to know about landlord repair obligations:

What Landlords Must Do

When you rent a place, your landlord has to fix certain things to make sure your home is safe and comfortable. Here’s a quick guide to what they must do:

  • Structure and Exterior: Landlords must keep the building’s outside and structure in good shape. This means walls, roofs, doors, and windows must be taken care of. It’s important because it keeps you safe and dry​​​​​​.
  • Water, Gas, and Electrical Systems: Your landlord must make sure things like pipes, boilers, radiators, and wiring are working right. This includes your hot water and heating. You should never be left in the cold or without running water​​​​​​.
  • Sanitary Fittings: Things like your toilet, sink, and bath must be kept in good working order by your landlord. It’s their job to fix any leaks or plumbing issues so you can use them without problems​​​​.
  • Safety: Your landlord has to check gas appliances every year and make sure electrical systems are safe. This keeps you safe from dangers like gas leaks or electrical fires​​​​​​.
  • Common Areas: If you live in a flat, your landlord must also look after shared spaces. This could be hallways, staircases, and lifts. They need to be safe and clean for everyone to use​​​​.

Timeframes for Repairs

UK private landlords should carry out repairs within a ‘reasonable time’. The time landlords have to fix things depends on how urgent the problem is. For small issues, they might take a bit longer, but for big problems, like if your heating stops working in winter, they should act fast to make things right. It’s all about making sure you’re safe and your home is comfortable to live in​​​​.

Tenant Responsibilities

Landlords have some key duties to make sure your home is a safe and nice place to live. Here are the main things they need to look after:

  • Fix the Outside and Structure: Landlords need to keep the building’s structure, like walls and the roof, in good condition. This keeps the home safe and stops leaks​​​​​​.
  • Keep Utilities Working: It’s up to landlords to make sure your water, gas, and electricity are running smoothly. This means heating and hot water must work well, especially in cold weather​​​​​​.
  • Look After Sanitary Fittings: Bathrooms and kitchens need to be in good working order. So, things like your toilet, sink, and bath should be fixed if they break​​​​.
  • Ensure Safety: Safety checks on gas and electrical systems are a must. Landlords should do gas safety checks every year and keep electrical wiring safe to prevent dangers like fires​​​​​​.
  • Maintain Common Areas: If you live in a building with shared spaces, like hallways or lifts, your landlord should keep these areas safe and tidy for everyone​​​​.

Serious Damage and Unfitness

If your property is seriously damaged (e.g., by fire or flood), landlords don’t have to rebuild or renovate it, but if they choose to, they can’t charge you for these repairs. Your home must be fit for human habitation, which means it should be safe, healthy, and free from things that could cause serious harm. If the property becomes unfit, you might be able to take action against the landlord​​​​.

These obligations mainly come from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. The former sets out the repair duties of landlords for the structure and utilities of the property, while the latter requires rental properties to be fit for tenants to live in throughout their tenancy​​.

In Summary

Understanding these responsibilities can help you ensure that your rental home is safe, healthy, and well-maintained. If repairs are not done, you have several options, including contacting your local council or taking legal action. Always communicate clearly with your landlord about any issues, and remember, keeping a record of all communications and repairs can be very helpful if disputes arise.

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