Understanding Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities for Repairs

If you’re renting a home in the UK, you may be wondering which repairs are your landlord’s responsibility. It’s also important to understand what you’ll be responsible for as a tenant so that there’s no confusion when things need to fixed or replaced.

London UK – April 8 2017 – To Let sign outside a English townhouse

Landlord Repair Responsibilities

The landlord is responsible for most of the repairs in your home, whether they’re a private, housing association or council landlord.

Repairs that are the responsibility of the landlord include:

  • Chimneys and ventilation
  • The structure, including the stairs, walls, external doors, roof and windows
  • Electrical wiring
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Gas appliances
  • Heating and hot water

Your landlord is also responsible for making repairs in common areas of a building, such as communal stairways, entrance halls and any shared kitchens that may be available.

Other repairs may also be the landlord’s responsibility, as per the tenancy agreement. Typically, tenants have a tenancy agreement that details who is responsible for which repairs. It may also state when or how often certain types of repairs will need to be carried out.

For example, an agreement may state that the landlord is responsible for replacing or repairing a faulty appliance he or she provided, such as a refrigerator. But even if the agreement says something different, landlords must carry out repairs the law says they are responsible for.

The agreement may also outline tenant responsibilities. For instance, the tenant may be responsible for keeping the garden tidy or sharing in the cleaning of communal halls.

Health and Safety Responsibilities

Landlords also have health and safety responsibilities. They must ensure that the home is free of hazards that may affect the health and safety of tenants, such as:

  • Pests
  • Vermin
  • Damp and mould

Landlords are also responsible for making sure that gas appliances are inspected annually and safe for use. Electrical appliances and the wiring in the home must also be safe. But landlords are not responsible for tenant-owned appliances.

Private landlords are typically responsible for installing:

  • Carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with wood or coal burning stoves
  • Smoke alarms on each floor of the home

Landlords must also ensure that any furniture they provide meets fire safety regulations.

Tenant Repair Responsibilities

While it’s the landlord’s responsibility to make most of the repairs in the home, there are some things that tenants are responsible for.

Homes must be used in a responsible way. This means:

  • Keeping the home clean
  • Carrying out minor maintenance, such as replacing the batteries in smoke alarms
  • Keeping ventilation and chimneys free of blockages
  • Not damaging the property

Minor repairs, like light bulb changes and fuse replacements, are typically the responsibility of the tenant.

Tenants are responsible for repairing and maintaining anything that they own, including their furniture and their own appliances.

If property damage is the fault of the tenant, the tenant will typically have to pay for the repairs. If a tenant does not fix damage he or she has caused, the landlord may deduct the expense from the tenancy deposit.

Repairs should be reported to landlords as soon as possible.