Maintenance of property: landlord or tenant
- 3rd September 2008
- Property Tips
Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance of a rental property can sometimes be a tricky question. Read on for some tips.
Unless a tenancy has a fixed term of more than seven years the landlord is reponsible for the following repairs:
- the structure and exterior of the dwelling
- basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations
- heating and hot water installations
The landord is not generally responsible for repairs arising from damage caused by the tenant or anything the tenant has a right to take away.
For more general repairs, responsibility usually rests with the terms of the initial agreement so it is important to read this carefully before signing. However if the landlord is making repairs which he is obliged to do and spoils the internal decoration, the damage should be made good.
The landlord is responsible for checking all the utilities that service the property are safe:
- That all gas appliances are maintained in good order and that an annual safety check is carried out by a CORGI registered tradesman. The tenant is responsible for any gas appliances that he is entitled to take with him at the end of the letting
- The landlord should ensure that all fixed wiring and installation is safe when the tenancy begins and an inspection and testing is recommended at least every 10 years
- All electric appliances supplied should safe when first supplied and treat every new tenancy as supplying appliances for the first time
- The landlord must ensure that any furniture and furnishings supplied meet the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations. If unsure on this point the Trading Standards department of your local authority can help
The tenant does also have some responsibility for the property as there is a duty of care. For example if there is a risk of burst pipes if the tenant is going on holiday the water should be turned off. The landlord does have to right to seek possession if there has been damage to the property.
Generally the tenant only has to do repairs if the terms of the tenancy agreement say so. The tenant cannot be made to do the repairs for which the landlord is responsible.
In most cases there is no problem getting the landlord to do any required maintenance as it is in their interest to do so, however if the tenant does have a problem under no circumstances is it acceptable to withhold rent. This would always reflect badly on the tenant, the proper legal channels must always be adhered to.
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