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Which repairs are tenants responsible for?

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If the you’re new to renting out property, it’s worth knowing the facts about repairs and maintenance of the rental home. Many maintenance issues will be the responsibility of the landlord. These are set out in legislation as legal requirements, designed to ensure that tenants have a decent, safe and warm place to live.

Other tasks are, however, down to tenants to complete. These include smaller jobs, such as changing batteries in a smoke alarm or keeping the garden tidy.

To understand more about the line between tenant and landlord responsibilities, read on:

Which repairs are tenants responsible for?

Which repairs are the tenant’s responsibility?

Tenants are required to look after the rental home – what the law calls ‘in a tenant-like way’. This means

  • Doing minor repairs, such as changing fuses and light bulbs
  • Carrying out regular cleaning
  • Making sure that they, or their visitors, do not damage the property
  • Using any fixtures and fittings properly, for example, not blocking a toilet by flushing something unsuitable down it.

Additional duties may be set out in the tenancy agreement – decorating or gardening, for example, but the landlord isn’t allowed to assign repairs to the tenant that they are legally required to complete.

Tenants must report all repairs to the landlord quickly, to prevent problem situations deteriorating. They should also allow access to complete repairs, subject to the landlord giving at least 24 hours’ written notice.

Tenants are responsible for any appliances or furniture items, which they have provided. They may also be required to arrange repairs for appliances belonging to the landlord (such as a washing machine), which are not working but not causing a danger. This should be set out in the tenancy agreement.

If the tenant, or one of their visitors, causes damage to the property, they will be liable for the cost of fixing it. The landlord may prefer to carry out repairs and charge the tenant for the cost.

Which repairs are the landlord’s responsibility?

The landlord is responsible for all structural issues, including:

  • All electrical, wiring and electrical appliances
  • All gas pipes and gas appliances
  • All heating and hot water
  • All basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains
  • All chimneys and ventilation
  • All drains, guttering and external pipework
  • The structure and exterior of the building, including walls, roofs, stairs and bannisters, external doors and windows.

However, the landlord is not responsible for problems caused the tenant’s negligence – a broken window, for example.

Once a problem has been fixed, the landlord must make good the decoration to the same standard as at the start of the tenancy.

Fit for habitation

For all tenancies signed after 20 March 2019, the landlord must ensure the home is fit for habitation, which means it is safe and free from hazards and won’t adversely affect the health or cause injury to the tenant. It also means there should be no issues to prevent the tenant from making full use of the home.

Damp and mould

The landlord must carry out the structural repairs needed to prevent damp. These could include fixing the causes of penetrating damp, such as leaking internal pipes, faulty guttering or external pipes or cracks in walls and window frames.

They should also ensure that there is a proper working damp-proof course to tackle rising damp and carry out any repairs to the heating and ventilation that are causing condensation.

Rats, mice and pests

The landlord is responsible for work to prevent rats, mice, cockroaches or other pests from getting into the property – by repairing holes in walls, broken air vents etc. However, the tenant is responsible for dealing with small scale infestations, unless they make the home unfit for habitation. The tenant must also take steps to prevent pests – by clearing food from the floor, for example.

Gas and electrical safety

It is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that the gas supply and all gas appliances in the property are in a safe condition. They should be fitted, repaired and checked every year by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. This applies to gas pipework, gas cookers, gas boilers, gas fires and gas water heaters.

The same is true for electrical wiring, plug sockets and any electrical appliances which the landlord has provided.

Fire safety

Working smoke alarms should be fitted on each floor and carbon monoxide detectors in any room heated by solid fuel. The landlord must make sure these are replaced if faulty, but the tenant is responsible for replacing batteries.

If you are a landlord, we can help you manage day-to-day repairs and maintenance of your property. Get in touch with us today to find out about the services we offer and our Guaranteed Rent Scheme.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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