Renting a home comes with many responsibilities that you and your landlord must adhere to, including paying rent on time and ensuring that the property is safe to live in. It’s a unique partnership where each party has different responsibilities.
When it comes to repairs, you may wonder who is responsible for them and what legal support is in place to ensure the repairs happen in good time. We share the low down on landlord repairs responsibilities and tenant responsibilities to help you work out who should do what.
As always, using a lettings agent and management company helps to ensure that both parties are protected and responsibilities are clear between landlord and tenant.
Landlord responsibilities repairs
Let’s start with landlord repair obligations. Your landlord will be responsible for the majority of the repairs that need to be completed. At the end of the day, the property belongs to them and part of their role is to keep it maintained to a liveable standard. Some of the landlord responsibilities for repairs include:
- Electrics, including sockets, wiring and switches
- Heating systems and Boilers
- Ventilation and chimneys
- Plumbing, including bathrooms, pipework and kitchens
- Structure of the building
- Redecoration of areas after repairs are complete
- Appliances (if included at the start of the tenancy)
How long does a landlord have to do repairs?
The landlord is not living in the property so they need you to inform them if repairs need doing, unless they are picked up on a routine inspection. The law states that a landlord must complete any repairs needed in a ‘reasonable’ amount of time.
While there is no specific timescale, any court of law would expect to see urgent problems being dealt with swiftly, especially when there is a risk to the tenant or when the property is no longer fit to live in. If your landlord uses a management service, then it’s likely that repairs will be organised very quickly indeed.
Should a Landlord fail to progress any repair that can affect the tenants’ health or security within two weeks of informing them, then the tenant can report the matter to their local authority, who will start enforcement action.
Understanding landlord repairs law
Landlords are legally required to keep their properties in a safe and usable condition, ensuring that their tenants are never left in danger due to negligence surrounding repairs and safety checks. This means that anyone who has a tenancy with a landlord (except those with a fixed term tenancy that started prior to 20 March 2019) has the legal right to live somewhere that is ‘fit to live in’.
This covers you against many issues that may arise, including damp, structural issues, gas and electrical problems, lack of heating and even pests and vermin.
What if your landlord doesn’t do the repairs needed?
If your landlord does not look after the property in good time, then you may have a legal case against them as long as you can prove that you have requested the repairs and have evidence, such as photos, that the property is in an unfit state.
Legal action is a big step and likely to cause the relationship between you and the landlord to break down. Before you take legal action, make sure that you have checked your tenancy agreement to be certain of what your landlord is responsible for and that you have followed all reasonable steps.
Tenant responsibilities for repairs
As a tenant, there are some things that you will be specifically responsible for. These things are usually much smaller and lower cost. Typically, these items are stipulated in your tenancy agreement and agreed upon by you before starting your rental agreement. The main aspects that you will be responsible for include the following:
- Keeping the property well cared for and clean. This is sometimes overlooked, but cleanliness can help prevent the need for some repairs and replacements.
- Ensuring that any appliances you own have been safety checked before use in the property.
- Small maintenance tasks such as changing batteries and bulbs in alarms and light fixings.
- Keeping your rental property well-ventilated to reduce the risk of condensation which may lead to damp.
- Maintaining gardens and driveways to ensure they are tidy and free of debris.
- Fixing damage that you cause that is beyond general wear and tear.
- Completing minor repairs to items that you use.
- Maintaining your own furniture and appliances.
When can a landlord check the property?
As part of your tenancy agreement, the landlord or their representative can conduct checks on the property to ensure that you adhere to the stipulated requirements, and to see if repairs or maintenance need to be carried out. However, you must be given at least 24 hours’ notice of any house inspection in writing.
If the time they state does not work for you, then your landlord should be reasonably flexible when trying to find an alternative date or time. Work together with your landlord or their management agency here, as this is the best way to protect both parties.
Encouraging a positive relationship between landlord and tenant
No one wants a poor relationship with their landlord, and there are several steps you can take to promote positive communication and appropriate expectations, including:
- Sharing problems as they arise rather than waiting.
- Being flexible with allowing ease of access for trades and inspections.
- Adhering to the requirements in the tenancy agreement.
- Treating the property and gardens with respect.
- Allowing reasonable time for the landlord to action issues.
In return, you should be able to expect the following from your landlord:
- A well-maintained property.
- Safety checks completed before or on their due date.
- Notice of property inspections.
- Prompt repayment of deposit when you vacate the property.
- Quick response to issues that are raised.
- Appropriate safety equipment installed (fire alarms, fire blankets, etc.).
Finding the best rental properties with Stanfords
At Stanfords, we offer a wide range of managed rental properties to choose from, ensuring that you get the location and amenities you need. All our rental properties are regularly inspected and maintained so that you can look forward to living somewhere safe and secure.
Take a look at our listings today and get in touch to discuss your requirements in more detail – we look forward to helping you find the right place to live.