What to do if my landlord won’t do repairs?
A rental should be a home and a home where a tenant feels comfortable and happy, they are after all paying the mortgage on the place via the rent of course. However it seems to be a common issue and sorry state of affairs that many landlords simply refuse to carry out much needed repairs to their properties, but should they have to is the question
Here we aim to guide both landlords and tenants on how to handle the situation when things need doing in a rental property and where the buck actually stops.
Keep everyone in the loop
A landlord can only make repairs if he is kept in the loop. As soon as something arises let him/her know so they can address it while it is still a little problem and not a ginormous monstrosity of a headache that has got out of control due to being left to fester.
You may holler that you don’t have any contact details for your errant landlord or they just don’t reply – if this is the case request from your agent in writing for the landlords contact details – if they do not reply within 21 days – they could be fined up to £2,500 for committing a criminal offence – knowing the law is sometimes very empowering! Alternatively google the landlords name – use 192 or failing all seek advice from Shelter or Citizens Advice
Check the tenancy agreement
It is clearly laid out here, who is responsible for what. You can then quote this as a point of reference should anyone argue this fact.
It can take some reading but is worth the effort to know the facts. As long as a tenant did not cause the issue through misuse a landlord is legally responsible for most repairs including – the structure, exterior and communal areas of the property such as roofs, external doors and windows, gas safety, ventilation, sanitary ware, pipes and drains, chimneys, electrical appliances
Keep your side of the bargain
You’ve got to keep your side of the bargain to avoid unnecessary dispute and this includes such points as; keeping the place clean and tidy, letting the landlord access it every now and then to check what maintenance they need to do, carry out any minor maintenance that you can – treat it like your own home – change light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries, if something is loose – just screw it back up – a 2 minute job that can make for a happier home environment. Keep drains clear if you can see they are blocked and so on
Put it in writing
The last thing needed is for deductions to be made from a deposit because the landlord says he wasn’t informed about issues and the tenant swears blind they were reported. For everybody’s sanity keep records – flag issues in writing, take dated pictures and email these as well
If you get no reply – chase them up to confirm receipt. Offer times for these repairs to happen – remind them what their responsibilities are.
Don’t withhold your rent
A definite NO, NO. As much as you would love to and the landlord may deserve it, you can’t do this. this will put you in to rent arrears and the landlord can be within his rights to take steps to evict you.
You can however organise for minor repairs to be done and deduct this from your rent, but ensure you follow the right legal procedures – which includes – advising of issues in writing, sending quotes, advise of date of repairs, advise of deductions of rent, send receipts, confirm confirm confirm – basically put it all in writing and get a good contractor! Oh and ps don’t do any major repairs this is a definite minefield that you do not want to enter.
A Health and Safety Matter
A topic that needs greater detail and will be found in another blog of ours, but in brief if it relates to damp, mould, a gas leak, unsafe electrics, broken fittings that are causing a hazard such as a broken window loose carpet this is all a landlords responsibility – if they will not respond to you. Go to environmental health. Send details of the issue in writing with picture back up if possible. Use this as a last resort after all other contact attempts with your landlord has failed and the property is affecting your health.
The long and short, which is a bit of a theme of these blogs, is communicating clearly and keeping records to protect all sides. Life is too short to spend it wrangling, so minimise the wrangles by following our tips! Happy renting.
We hope that some of the advice above has helped you. Connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn to receive updates of all our tips and tricks and property know-how.