We have a statutory duty to keep the housing conditions in our area under review with a view to identifying any action that may need to be taken to address housing disrepair issues. In the majority of cases we will seek to form agreements to secure property improvement, however in some circumstances we will use legal enforcement measures to secure improvement if tenants are at risk.
Is it the tenant's or the landlord's responsibility?
Both landlords and tenants are responsible for keeping rented properties in good repair. Unless the tenancy has a fixed term of more than seven years, the landlord is responsible for repairs to:
- Hot water
- General building repairs damage caused by someone with no connection to the tenant, for example, during a break-in or vandalism
The tenant should always undertake minor jobs such as replacing fuses clearing blocked sink as well as repair damage that the tenant, their family or visitors have caused.
Responsibility for other repairs depends on what the landlord and the tenant agree. The landlord can include a sum to cover the cost of repairs in the rent, but he cannot pass the cost of repairs onto the tenant as a service charge. It is useful to discuss the procedures for getting repairs carried out and have them included in the tenancy agreement. Sorting out repairs is one of the most common problems in private-rented homes. Each party’s responsibility for repairs and how tenants report problems should be clearly set out prior to the start of a tenancy.
How should I report a repair?
Your landlord must carry out repairs within a reasonable period of time - but that only begins once you've told them about the problem. For example, if you report an emergency repair such as a broken boiler it could be reasonable for your landlord to carry out repairs within 24 hours. When a repair needs carrying out, you should make contact with the landlord/ agent to inform them of the problem. It is also advisable to follow this up in writing with either a letter or e-mail which confirms what the repair problem(s) is/are and keep a copy of this for your records. If you need to, you can use a sample letter to help you report repairs. In the case of an emergency, the landlord/agent should be telephoned as soon as is practicable.
What if my Landlord is a Registered Social Landlord (RSL)?
Where the landlord is a Registered Social Landlord (RSL) our service response will be limited to:
In all other situations e.g. dissatisfaction with the RSL’s timescales, tenants are advised to contact:
What should I do if nothing happens after I have reported a repair?
You may need to contact your landlord or agent again if they don’t take action after you report a repair. It may also be beneficial to suggest dates and times when the work could be done. Make sure you are supportive in terms of your landlords requests for entry to your home to permit repairs to be completed. It's likely that your tenancy requires you to allow access at reasonable times and with reasonable notice (at least 24 hours). It’s a good idea to be flexible about when repairs can be carried out. If you normally deal with a letting agent, you could try contacting the landlord directly if the agent doesn’t respond or they don’t pass the information to the landlord. Delays can sometimes happen where the landlord will only allow the agent to do small repairs without getting their permission. Speaking to the landlord may help get the work done quicker.
If repairs are still not completed within a reasonable time, you can contact the Council. Once we receive a complaint, we aim to work with landlords to resolve any issues and are on hand to provide practical advice throughout the process. Landlords usually carry out the repairs voluntarily, but in some cases we have legal powers to make your landlord deal with repair problems and the condition of your home.
What legal action can a tenant take?
In March 2019 a new law came into force to make sure that rented houses and flats are ‘fit for human habitation’, which means that they are safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm. Most landlords make sure that the houses and flats they rent out are safe and secure, warm and dry. But some landlords do not, and this means that some tenants live in dangerous or unhealthy conditions. This new law, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, will help these tenants and make sure irresponsible landlords improve their properties. If rented houses and flats are not ‘fit for human habitation’, tenants can take their landlords to court. The court can make the landlord carry out repairs or put right health and safety problems. The court can also make the landlord pay compensation to the tenant. If you wish to find out more information regarding this, the government has issued guidance for tenants.
How do I report disrepair issues if things aren't progressing?
If you have reported the disrepair issues to your landlord and they have still not been addressed you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.