If you’re living in a flat or house you’ve rented from your landlord, you may be wondering to what extent you’re responsible for any damage or disrepair. While your contract outlines your landlord’s obligations, they may insist that certain things, like roof repairs, are your duty. However, this runs contrary to the law, as roof repairs are always the landlord’s responsibility. Things get even more complicated if you don’t have a written agreement, and everything was on orally, making it challenging to prove who is liable for what.
As such, it’s crucial to analyse these contracts, as it will make dealing with housing disrepair issues much more manageable. It will also ensure that you aren’t in charge of overseeing repairs that your landlord must supervise. Here’s what you need to know about housing disrepair issues and who is accountable for them:
The tenancy agreement, also known as the ‘contract’, details both the landlord and the tenant’s rights and responsibilities. A written tenancy agreement uses ‘express terms’ to explain the landlord’s duties in carrying out repairs and maintenance. However, your landlord shouldn’t use express terms in your contract to reduce their legal responsibilities or pass them onto you.
Meanwhile, your tenancy agreement may have ‘implied terms’, which refers to duties that are not clearly stated in the contract but are suggested. Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is the law that implies a term on your contract, which is widely regarded as one of the most crucial obligations a landlord has: to take care of basic repairs. The ‘implied term’ applies, regardless of whether it was stated verbally or in writing.
Section 11 outlines the aspects of an apartment or house that your landlord is responsible for maintaining and repairing. They involve the home’s structure and exterior, including the walls, foundations, roofs, drains, guttering, windows, external doors, and pipes. Your landlord is also accountable for repairing everything to do with water, like basins, sinks, toilets, baths, tanks, boilers, and pipework. Similarly, they must take care of electrical wiring, radiators, gas fires, fitted heaters, and fitted electric fires.
This law also states that the occupancy agreement cannot annul these repair duties, which means your landlord cannot pass them onto you, including the cost of restoration work. In short, they must cover all aspects of these repairs.
Apart from repair responsibilities, your landlord has other obligations to ensure your safety and security in their property. For example, if you informed your landlord of repair work that needs to be done, and they ignore or delay it, you may have suffered the consequences of their neglect. As a result, you may have been injured, or your belongings may have been damaged due to the lack of repair work. In this situation, you can take legal action against them.
You can also hold them responsible for private nuisance, which often occurs when something in another property or a common area in the building your landlord owns affects your usage and enjoyment. For example, if your landlord forgot to maintain pipes adjacent to your property and the water leaks into your home, causing damage, you can file a claim or suit against your landlord based on nuisance.
Many landlords try to evade maintaining and repairing their properties and pass them onto the tenant, although the law forbids this. As such, if you have a difficult landlord that insists you cover these repairs, be sure to get in touch with a professional who can represent you and ensure you get the most beneficial outcome.
Consumer Reclaim helps people get compensation for mis sold goods, services, and insurance. We help our clients reclaim money who have been victims of mis-selling practices, including those tricked by their landlords into paying for maintenance and repair costs. Unlike other claims management companies, we don’t charge upfront fees. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve!