Who Is Responsible for Maintenance of a Rented Property?Written By PropertyLoop February 15, 2021
Alongside ensuring that their rental opportunity is fit for human habitation and provides the tenants with basic amenities and utilities such as gas, water and electricity, landlords cannot overlook their responsibilities for repair.
What Are the Landlord’s Responsibilities for Repairs?
Enforced through section 11 of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act, rental property owners are legally obligated to “keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling, including drains, gutters and external pipes.” Alongside ensuring that that “installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation” are fully operations, with the facilities for “space heating and heating water” being kept in proper working order.
Tenant Responsibility for Repairs?
It is also worth noting that whilst the owner of the rental property will be expected to carry out the majority of the needed roughout the rental, the tenant will need to provide them with access to do so. With this being said regardless of the reasoning, aside from in emergencies, the landlord is prohibited from simply entering the rental property at any time as this would be an infringement on the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment. The occupants of the property must receive at least 24 hours’ notice before any visit takes place and are able to reject any entries onto the grounds of the property. However, if the occupants continually prevent the landlord access to the rental to carry out remedial work then the responsibility for repairs is absolved.
With this being said tenants should not dismiss their responsibility towards the regular upkeep ad maintenance of a rental property. Although the landlord or letting agent will be expected to carry out periodic inspections of the rental property the occupants are obligated to report any damage that occurs to the owner, allowing them to arrange for the appropriate remedial work to be carried out. Whilst a seemingly innocent crack in the wall may seem harmless enough, this could soon develop into a far more serious risk, or potentially indicate a more severe issue with the rental.
Alongside this the occupants will be expected to conduct themselves in a tenant like manner, seeing them attend to the general cleaning and upkeep of the property comprising, changing light bulbs, testing smoke alarms and disposing of waste.
What Happens if Landlord Does Not Do Repairs?
Providing that the owner of the rental property is failing to carry out essential repairs it is possible for the occupants to arrange an inspection from the local authority’s environmental health department. This could result in the owner being ordered to conduct the remedial work, or in severe cases, the council will carry out the repairs and charge the owner the associated costs.
If the owner of a rental property is proving reluctant to carry out repairs, the tenants must not resort to withholding any due rental payments in an effort to spur their landlord into action. By withholding rent the occupants of the property will be in breach of the tenancy agreement, allowing the landlord to begin proceedings to regain possession of the rental.
How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix a Problem UK?
Although there is an absence of a strict legal timeframe in which landlords must have completed any repairs to their property, tenants must afford their landlord “reasonable time” to attend to these issues. Naturally, this threshold will vary depending on the nature of the repairs, with replacing a door handle being far faster than repairing the external structure of the property.
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