Repair and Maintenance for Rented Properties
When you take on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) you actually agree to take on a degree of legal responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the property. That doesn’t apply to the exterior of the property and the building itself, but rather the interior ie where you will be living.
This responsibility is in terms of reporting any damage to the landlord. Failure to do so means you will have to pay for the damage being fixed (and which the landlord can legally take from your deposit). That’s because the law states that tenants must report and request repairs for their landlord or management agency, as quickly as possible. In doing so they ensure the damage doesn’t get any worse, and that no-one’s safety is compromised.
The best way for a tenant to ensure they are covered in this respect if the landlord later refutes they were informed of the damage, is to email, text or write a letter (and keep a copy of both letter and date stamp). We always advise this at Property Loop.
If the landlord accepts the responsibility for the damage is his or hers (because it was reported in a timely manner and wasn’t caused by the tenant) then, as a tenant you must allow ‘reasonable time for it to be fixed’ and provide access to any handymen at a time appropriate to yourself. The landlord can’t just barge in with handymen without your permission as that would be trespassing.
If the repairs are lengthy ie to fix dry rot and you have to move out while it is attended to, then you can reasonably ask for a rent reduction, we all agree here at Property Loop. If you have to pay for alternative accommodation then you can request this to be paid by the landlord.
Other Tenant ‘Expectations’
As a tenant you are also expected to ventilate the flat or house properly ie open the windows every now and again to ensure condensation doesn’t build up. Checking the sinks don’t get blocked up and the taps are working properly is another reasonable duty.
Keeping the property clean and tidy doesn’t just benefit the landlord, but also yourself. And, finally, abiding by the ‘no pets’ rule (if there is one) and ‘no smoking signs’ will also lead to a smoother tenancy all round.
Landlord Responsibility for Repairs
So, what is the landlord responsible for under the Landlord and Tenant act from 1985, section 11, apart from what we have already mentioned? Well, some of the main ones are the water supply, gas, electrics, heating, working sinks, bath and toilet.
A Gas Safe certified engineer should carry out an annual check of all gas installations and fittings etc inside the property and at communal areas. A copy must be handed to the tenant.
All sockets and lights should be working and the wiring checked, ideally, every five years. For an HMO landlord this check is a legal requirement. Any white goods already supplied in the flat, such as a cooker, fridge, freezer, toaster etc should also be given a PAT test.
Smoke and CO2 alarms should be provided on every level of the property and the batteries checked regularly by tenants.
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