What is my landlord responsible for in my rented property?

Many tenants get confused over what their landlord is actually responsible for. It is important to understand what you should hold them accountable for, and what responsibilities you have, to ensure there are no disagreements during your tenancy. 

There is often a grey area with tenants and landlords in relation to what is expected of each party in relation to their property. In truth, there doesn’t need to be any grey area, as the most of the time the roles and responsibilities are laid out clearly in law.

In this short guide, we will explain the role of your landlord and what to hold them accountable for. 

The Fast Facts 

First of all, we have a few fast facts around landlords and renting a property.

  • A landlord can be a person, company, or local council 
  • A tenancy agreement is an official document that you sign prior to moving in, which details the rights and responsibilities of you and landlord – read it carefully before signing
  • In the UK, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 guarantees all tenants basic rights
  • One of these rights is that the property must meet safety standards for gas, electricity and fire
  • The property must be safe from all health and safety hazards
  • Tenants must always have access to running water and facilities for personal hygiene and sanitation

Having A Home That Is Safe To Live In

One of the main responsibilities of your landlord is ensuring your home is safe to live in. At the start of your tenancy, your landlord should give you an energy performance certificate, and a gas safety certificate if your home runs on gas. 

The property must be “fit for human habitation”. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the colour of the curtains or carpet, but is more to do with being free of hazards and in a good state of repair. 

A landlord is therefore responsible for: 

  • Repairs to the structure and exterior of the property 
  • Repairs to gas and electric
  • Repairs to a faulty boiler
  • Fixing leaking walls and roofs
  • Repairs to basins, sinks, baths and other sanitaryware
  • Fire safety of furniture and furnishings provided under the tenancy
  • Repairing and maintaining room and water heating systems
  • Fixing any damp and mould present in the property
  • Repair any dangerous woodwork, like flooring, doors and windowsills
  • Dealing with any vermin or insect infestations

Generally speaking, if your home falls below the standard for human habitation, then you can complain to your landlord and force them to get it fixed.

Anything cosmetic, like a change of kitchen counter tops, or a new boiler when the old works perfectly fine, will not be your landlord’s responsibility. 

Your home may become unfit for human habitation over time, if:

  • it has a serious problem with damp or mould
  • it gets much too hot or cold
  • there are too many people living in it
  • it’s infested with pests like rats or cockroaches
  • it doesn’t have a safe water supply

Getting The Property Maintained

The landlord isn’t obliged to ensure the fixtures and fittings are perfect, but they are responsible for ensuring they are in a good state of repair and maintained over time. 

Your landlord should maintain your home before it gets to state of disrepair. This means that they are required to enter the property at an agreed time. You must allow your landlord into the property to carry out any repairs. 

You are also required to report any faults and defects that arise within the property. The landlord is only responsible for maintenance or repairs to damage that they are aware.

What To Do If Your Landlord Won’t Fix The Repairs

If you have disrepair in your home that you have informed your landlord about and they still won’t fix the problem, tenants have certain legal rights. First of all, you should contact your local Environmental Health Officer who will come to your property and determine whether the repairs are bad enough that your landlord must fix them. 

If your landlord is still ignoring your requests, even after an Environmental Health Officer has ordered them to fix them, you can file a housing disrepair compensation claim. An expert housing disrepair solicitor can bring forward a claim for compensation on your behalf. They can gather evidence of the disrepair, including any damaged property or medical notes as a result of the disrepair.

If you are successful in your claim, you can force your landlord to carry out the repairs, by law, whilst also claiming compensation for any inconvenience and suffering caused as a result of the disrepair. Housing disrepair experts, DisrepairClaim.co.uk, can bring forward a claim for you on a No Win, No Fee Basis. Simply fill out their eligibility checker to see if you are eligible to claim, and start your journey to getting your home back.