What Can I Do If My Landlord Is Not Making Repairs?
Everyone's Heard a Bad Landlord Repair Story
We've all heard the stories: a leaky tap that turns into a flooded bathroom, a draughty window that lets the winter chill seep in, or a broken boiler that leaves you shivering in the middle of a cold snap. And through all of this, a landlord who is, at best, dragging their feet on repairs or, at worst, completely ignoring your pleas for help. But as UK renters, you have rights and remedies when it comes to repairs. Let's dive into this topic so you can ensure your rented home remains a comfortable, secure, and habitable haven.
As landlord blogger Suzanne Smith states in her article 'What are landlords’ obligations to carry out repairs in England?', "The question of responsibility for repairs can often be a bone of contention between landlords and renters." Take a deep dive in this blog post to learn what to do if your landlord isn't making repairs.
Understanding Your Rights as a Renter
As a tenant in the UK, the law is often on your side. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 section 11 outlines the legal responsibilities of landlords towards property maintenance. Fundamentally, it requires that your rental property is kept in good repair, safe, and habitable. This covers the structure and exterior of the property, installations for utilities, and appliances for sanitation.
But your rights don't stop there. Did you know that landlords must fix serious issues in shared areas like staircases in flats? Understanding these laws and legal responsibilities can put you in a stronger position to deal with unresponsive landlords.
We wrote about the more technical details of the HHSRS process in another one of our articles.
The Role of Your Tenancy Agreement
Your tenancy agreement is an important legal document that lays out the responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord. It usually contains details about who is responsible for minor repairs and maintenance. By fully understanding and utilising your tenancy agreement, you can ensure your rights are respected and upheld. If your landlord isn't following through on their repair obligations as specified in the agreement, you may have additional legal recourse.
Have a read of this article 'Guide To Early Termination Of A Tenancy Agreement'.
When and How to Report a Problem to Your Landlord
The moment you spot an issue that needs repair, it's crucial to inform your landlord. But don't just mention it in passing—put it in writing. This could be as formal as a letter or as convenient as an email, but the goal is to have a record of your report. Include as much detail as possible about the issue and, if you can, provide documented evidence like photographs.
Check out this related article on repairing ovens in rental properties!
What to Do If Your Landlord Isn't Making Repairs
So you've reported the problem, but what if your landlord is dragging their feet or ignoring you altogether? Your next step is to contact your local council. They can get involved in several ways, such as through The Environmental Health department, which can inspect the property and issue an improvement notice to your landlord. You may also be able to take steps like withholding rent or carrying out the repairs yourself and deducting the costs from your rent, but always seek advice before taking such actions.
You can find your local council using your postcode here: Find your local council.
Potential Legal Actions For Non-Repair
In some cases, if your landlord still fails to make necessary repairs, you may need to consider legal action. This could mean applying to the court for an injunction to force your landlord to carry out repairs, or claiming compensation. Organisations like Justice For Tenants, Shelter and The Housing Ombudsman Service can provide invaluable help if you need to go down this path.
Tips for Preventing Future Repair Issues
Prevention is always better than cure. Maintaining an open line of communication with your landlord can help prevent repair issues from escalating. Regular rental property inspections can also help identify potential problems before they become significant issues. And remember, a positive landlord-renter relationship can go a long way in ensuring any repairs are dealt with promptly.
Dealing with repair issues in a rented property can be a challenge, but you don't have to navigate it alone. By understanding your rights, utilising your tenancy agreement, and knowing the steps to take when your landlord isn't making repairs, you can ensure you're living in a safe, secure, and habitable property.
Leave A Review Of Your Landlord
Have you ever had to deal with a landlord who wasn't making necessary repairs? Or perhaps you're a landlord who's been on the receiving end of such complaints? Share your experiences, help future renters to avoid landlords who don't make timely repairs. And don't forget to read our related articles on renters' rights and responsibilities for a fuller understanding of your legal position.