Landlord's repair and maintenance responsibilities
Are you uncertain of your repair and maintenance responsibilities as a landlord? Perhaps you’re a tenant with a landlord that’s not meeting their obligations? Either way, we’re pleased to say you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find a quick guide to landlord responsibilities regarding repair and maintenance and how to comply with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
What are landlords required to repair and maintain in a rented property?
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 states that landlords are legally required to maintain the structure and exterior of their properties. This includes installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity, heating systems, drainage and sanitary appliances.
These are landlord obligations, regardless of what a tenancy agreement says. By law, it is a landlords responsibility to maintain these parts of a property and under no circumstances must they pass on the cost of repair work on to a tenant.
However, a landlord only has to make repairs when they know they need to be done. If you are a tenant, it’s advised that you contact your landlord or the letting agency acting on their behalf about any problems with the property you live in, so they know they need to be fixed.
It’s also recommended that landlords carry out regular inspections of their properties to check for any maintenance and repair work that needs to be carried out. You are entitled to enter a rented property for inspection, providing you have given your tenants at least 24 hours written notice.
The law is there for a reason, so it’s important to make sure you understand and meet your landlord responsibilities or face serious consequences.
Landlord responsibilities regarding gas appliances
Landlords are required to ensure their properties are habitable and safe for their tenants to live in. As well as being responsible for repair work, they are also required to ensure that certain appliances in their properties are well maintained.
If your property contains gas appliances, you are required by law to have a Landlord’s Gas Safety certificate. To get one, you’ll need to organise for a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out checks on the gas appliances and flues in your property. Providing they’re satisfactory, you’ll be issued a certificate. A copy should be issued to prospective tenants before they move in.
Gas safety checks must be carried out annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. If any issues are highlighted with your gas appliances, you, the landlord, are responsible for making sure remedial work is carried out. You are also responsible for making sure that the gas appliance is not used until it is fixed.
You must issue tenants with a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety certificate. You should also keep them on file for at least two years to ensure you have a complete record.
As part of your landlord duty of care, you are also legally required to service any gas appliances, e.g. a boiler, in line with the manufacturer’s guidance, to keep them in good working order.
Advice for tenants if landlord obligations are not being met
Can a tenant call a plumber if they’ve got a leak? Who is responsible for organising repairs? Boiler not working landlord responsibilities are not being met – what do I do?
These are all good questions and ones you’re likely to have if your landlord isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.
Our advice is that if you have a problem with an appliance in your property or one of the installations your landlord is responsible for, you need to contact them immediately. If they don’t get back to you, make sure you contact them in writing and keep a copy, along with a record of all the dates and goings-on.
Contact Citizen’s Advice to discuss your situation and see what they suggest. You'll likely need to make a formal complaint in writing to your landlord if they are not meeting their repairs and maintenance responsibilities. You may also be able to complain to your local council or even take court action, though the latter can be expensive.
Sometimes you may be able to organise repairs and bill your landlord for them. Citizen’s Advice has some great advice on doing repairs if your landlord won’t.
Property maintenance contract for landlord properties
Being a responsible landlord means keeping your rented properties in a good condition and sometimes this can be expensive. Taking out a property maintenance contract is a great way to meet your legal obligations, whilst keeping costs to a minimum.
Servicing your boiler regularly and having checks carried out on the electrical, plumbing and drainage systems will help to keep them in good condition. It’ll also highlight any little issues that can be quickly repaired before they cause a big problem for you and your tenants.
Make sure you only use contractors that are qualified and experienced. Do your research and shop around for landlord maintenance services quotes.
Invest in Landlord cover
Unfortunately, you never know when disaster is going to strike and one of your tenants is going to ring up and say their boiler has broken down, their central heating isn’t working or there’s a massive leak. Lessen the inconvenience and dent to your bank balance by taking out landlord cover.
Landlord cover is designed to protect owners of rented residential properties when something goes wrong with the appliances and installations they’re responsible for maintaining and repairing.
If a tenant has reported a problem, you can simply phone up your insurance provider, make a claim and they will send out a qualified contractor to carry out the repair work. The cost of labour and repairs is usually included and what’s more, you won’t have to spend time phoning up several contractors to get quotes.
Some landlord cover packages, include extras you can benefit from such as gas service plans for landlords. Having this type of cover with an annual service included will help you meet your landlord responsibilities and achieve compliance with section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.