Responsibility of Housing Disrepair Problems
The responsibility of dealing with most repair problems lies with your landlord – If you rent your home from a social housing landlord.
This article elucidates how the landlord’s responsibility to do repairs originates from the occupancy agreement and supplementary areas of law.
The tenancy agreement
What is often referred to as a ‘contract’, between your landlord and yourself is officially given the term ‘tenancy agreement’. Under the tenancy agreement, both parties have certain rights and responsibilities which must be fulfilled.
Express terms on repairs in your tenancy agreement
In case of a written tenancy agreement/contract, it may well outline the landlord’s duty/obligation to carry out repairs – this is referred to as an ‘express term’. If you do not have a written tenancy agreement, whatever you and your landlord have agreed orally will apply, although sometimes this can be difficult to prove.
It is dismissive for your landlord to include an ‘express term’ in your tenancy agreement/contract that would lessen their legal responsibilities or pass on any of their duties to you. For instance, a term which stated that the repairs to the roof fall under your responsibility, would not hold any weight in the eyes of the law due to the utter fact that roof repairs are your landlord’s responsibility.
Implied terms on repairs in your tenancy agreement
Such a thing as an ‘implied term’ is a type of term that can be included into a tenancy agreement or contract, albeit it has not been stated in the agreement or contract clearly or specifically.
Section 11, is the law which implies a term on to your tenancy agreement and this is referred to as the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. This is seen to be the most important of all the landlords’ obligations – to carry out basic repairs. Regardless of whether the ‘implied term’ has been stated in writing or verbally, it applies nonetheless.
What does section 11 cover?
By and large, it means that your landlord is accountable for keeping in repair the following:
- the structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering, and external pipes, windows and external doors
- basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework
- water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.
These repair duties can’t be annulled out by anything your occupancy agreement says. Also, your landlord is not permitted to pass on the cost of any restoration work to you – which is their duty.
For occupancies that commenced on or after 15 January 1989, these restoration duties spread to the common parts of a building too, for example, entrance halls, stairs, and lifts.
Accountabilities for common parts where an occupancy began before this date are not set out in law, but property-owners still have responsibilities under the common law. Common law is that is established by judges over many years through the verdicts of courts.
Telling your landlord about the repairs
Your landlord’s duty under section 11 is reliant on them knowing about the repair.
Landlord’s legal responsibilities outside of the tenancy agreement
As well as the repair accountabilities that stem from your occupancy agreement, your landlord has commitments that are born from other areas of the law.
This specifically refers to your landlord not causing you injury or damage as a result of their careless or negligent behaviour.
For instance, if you made your landlord aware of repair work that needed to be carried out, and he ignored or delayed this from happening, it may be that you suffered the consequences. By consequences, this could be that you may have injured yourself or that your personal items or belongings may have been damaged in the process. Also, it may be that the landlord DID carry out the necessary repair work, however, it may have been carried out carelessly or dangerously.
The occurrence of a private nuisance usually surfaces when something in another property or in a common part of a building which is owned by your landlord, is unfavourable to the usage and enjoyment of your home. For example, if your landlord didn’t maintain pipes in the roof space of your block of flats and water leaked into your home causing damage. In this case, you could take legal action against the property-owner on the basis of nuisance.
Safety in your home
In order to comply and ensure the property is in a fit and livable state, your landlord has explicit accountabilities for gas and electrical welfare, furnishings and asbestos.
Making adjustments if you’re disabled Housing Disrepair Criteria
If you’re disabled, your landlord may have a responsibility to make rational alterations if you ask for them. Nevertheless, your landlord does not have to do anything that would involve the removal or alteration of physical features.
Many factors encompass a housing disrepair claim. These factors contribute to and favor the tenant significantly. For example, if the tenant has made the landlord aware of the disrepair and it is still outstanding, then this signifies negligence on the Landlord’s part. When referring to disrepair, this may consist of factors such as leaks from the exterior of the property, faulty extractor fans, and dampness in the property (NO condensation, black mould is a sign of condensation, not dampness).
Also, if it is apparent that the repair work can be actioned but has been delayed for no apparent reason. In this instance, it must be evident that tenant has given plenty of notice to the Landlord to allow sufficient time for the repair to be made so as to avoid further damage or nuisance. It may be that the tenant has contacted the Landlord numerous times to complain about the matter and nothing has been done by them to repair the property.
In addition to the above, the tenant must have called or emailed in, fundamentally reported the concerns in the property to the council.
In this instance, the local authority/housing association are legally accountable to carry out the repair work in the property. Also, the tenant must have already given notice of the disrepair to the local authority/housing association and evidence of this can be provided. In addition to this, the tenant must be able to provide a copy of the tenancy agreement as well as being able to provide clear videos/photos of the disrepair in question. The client can provide a copy of their tenancy agreement
Get In Touch
Turner White Solicitors has a dedicated team of experienced and knowledgeable team of Solicitors, who can offer direct and comprehensive service in all housing proceedings with a full understanding of your rights under UK law.
The department is dedicated to giving clients a partner-led legal service based on strong representation at all stages of proceedings.
For a no obligation, initial discussion of your case call us on 01772 252 222 and a member of the team will be in touch.