Repair problems in rented properties
Sadly more common than it should be. Here are five tips which maybe you didn’t know:
1. The law says that your landlord must keep your property in proper repair.
Your landlord is obliged by law to keep the structure of your rented property, and the installations for the supply of gas, water, electricity, sanitation and space and water heating in good repair. This applies to ALL tenancies where the term is less than seven years. The relevant law is section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
2. You need to TELL your landlord if your property is in disrepair
You can’t expect your landlord to do anything about the disrepair if they have not been told about it. You need to do a letter setting it all out clearly, and ask him to deal with it. Keep a copy. Even if you tell your landlord and he says he will deal with it, it is best to confirm this in writing. Otherwise it may be hard to prove that he had notification of the problem.
3. Your local authority can help
If you ask them, the environmental health department of your Local Authority will come out and do an inspection of your property (although if they are busy you may have to wait a bit). If they find any ‘cateogry one hazards’ they will serve an improvement notice on your landlord ordering him to bring the property up to the required standard.
4. If your landlord refuses to do the repair works, you can get them done and deduct the money from your rent
You need to be careful about doing this however, and there is a procedure you need to follow. I have a page explaining this in the tenants section of Landlord Law.
5. You have legal obligations to keep the property in repair as well as your landlord
For example you need to look after the property and ensure that small problems do not turn into big ones. This means letting your landlord know about something before it gets worse and more expensive to repair.
There is a lot more information for tenants about disrepair in my Tenant Law site.