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Iceni Magazine | April 20, 2021

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Housing Repairs: Should My Landlord Sort Them?

Housing Repairs: Should My Landlord Sort Them?

It’s a fact of life that buildings wear down over time, and that occasionally repair work needs to be carried out.

If you’re living in rented accommodation, you might be uncertain whether it’s your job to fix a particular problem, or whether that duty should fall upon your landlord.

What does my Landlord have to fix?

Your landlord has a duty to ensure that your home is fit for human habitation. Generally, speaking, anything that concerns the structure of the property, and the outer envelope (a collective term for all of the bits that keep the elements out), is the duty of the landlord. The same applies to any utilities.

If your roof is leaking, or the locks on the doors need to be changed, or the boiler needs to be serviced, it’ll be your landlord’s job to make the necessary calls and arrange for the work to be done. Typically, repairs should be carried out in the daytime, and you should get at least twenty-four hours notice, so that you can adjust your schedule to fit the visiting tradesperson.

There’s a slight condition attached here, in that the landlord needs to be aware of the problem if they’re going to take action.

If you’ve advised your landlord that a problem needs to be fixed, and they still haven’t taken action, then it might be time to make a claim against them. Housing disrepair claims are a last resort, however – only once you’ve attempted to take reasonable steps to resolve the problem outside of the court should you consider pursuing this course of action.

What do tenants have to do?

Changes with smaller household items are usually the responsibility of the tenant. It is impractical for a landlord to have to intervene every time a light-bulb needed to be changed. Changing fuses might also fall into this category.

As a tenant, you have a duty to keep the property in good condition. That means not using fixtures and fittings in the wrong way. If you empty a panful of rendered fat down the sink, and it subsequently becomes blocked, then you can’t hold your landlord responsible.

You’re also responsible for keeping the house clean and tidy, and ensuring that any visitors you have over are similarly diligent. You’re responsible for the behaviour of anyone you invite over for a house-party, so make sure that you’re careful.

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