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Compliance update - Repairs


Landlords have a responsibility to maintain their property for their tenant to live comfortably. Tenants have a duty to care for the property they are living in and to promptly report any faults or damage to the landlord.

A landlord must care for the property's structure and its exterior, such as replacing fallen roof tiles or repainting the front of the house. External doors and windows, guttering and all gas, water and sewage pipes are to be looked after by the landlord too.

Whilst a landlord must take care of any garden walls or fences, tenants are expected to maintain any garden or patio areas by keeping them clean and presentable.

The maintenance of the electrical infrastructure in a property and any light fittings, switches and sockets are the responsibility of the landlord and they must keep these in safe working order. However if a fuse blows or a light bulb stops working, these are consumables that a tenant is expected to replace.

A landlord has to ensure that gas appliances and gas infrastructure is in safe working order. It is a legal requirement for a landlord to have a valid gas safety certificate for a property, which must be renewed every 12 months.

All assured shorthold tenancies state that heating and hot water must be provided in a rental property, therefore a landlord has to ensure that this is provided whether by means of a central heating system or individual heaters, and a hot water boiler. If the hot water or heating fails, a tenant must report this to the landlord or property management company immediately. A landlord must explain when repairs will be carried out, and a tenant must continue to pay rent while the repair is arranged.

Sanitary ware, such as a sink, bath, shower and toilet, is to be maintained by the landlord.

A tenant should not carry out repairs to any of the landlord's property unless this is specifically permitted in the tenancy agreement. A landlord cannot force a tenant to carry out repairs on their behalf. If activity in a rented flat damages another property, for example an overflowing bath would cause a leak in the flat below, the tenant of the rented flat is at fault and must rectify the situation. The tenant is responsible for the actions of any guests in the property as well as for themselves. If a tenant has contacted the landlord but not received a response about necessary repairs, the tenant can contact the local council's environmental health department who can take action where appropriate.