Your lease agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. You must pay them rent, as specified in the lease. In turn, they must provide a habitable residence. If there are necessary repairs, the landlord would need to make them. Unfortunately, not all landlords will make the required repairs within a reasonable time. You should report housing disrepair promptly.
Understanding Tenant Responsibilities
English law requires you to use your property in a “tenant-like” manner. Tenants have a role to play in maintaining a habitable environment. One of the legal requirements is for you to report any necessary repairs to the landlord or letting agent. Whether you live in social or private housing, the landlord’s obligation to make repairs only begins when they become aware of it. In addition, you could be violating your responsibilities if you do not report a maintenance issue. Then, you may be held responsible if it worsens and there is damage to your home or flat.
Types of Maintenance Issues
Many things can break or go wrong inside your home. Here are some things that the landlord or renting agent would be obligated to repair:
- Malfunctioning heating or air conditioning units
- Water leaks
- Hot water heating
- Insects in the residence
- Kitchen appliances not working
- Clogged toilets
Effective Methods for Reporting Repairs
Ideally, you should have some record that you reported the maintenance issue to your landlord or letting agent. This way, you have documentation if they do not make the necessary repairs within a reasonable time. There are several ways that you can create a record:
- Written request
- Submission over an online system
Even if you verbally reported the problem to the landlord, you should still follow up in writing to create documentation of when you informed them of the maintenance issue.
Documenting Maintenance Issues
In addition to the actual maintenance request, you should take pictures of the maintenance issue in your home or flat. You can take videos if the problem is not suited to an image. You may need to prove that the problem was significant enough that the landlord would have an obligation to repair it promptly.
Following Up With the Landlord
If the landlord is not making repairs on time, you should write to them. If you communicate everything verbally, the landlord could create their own story, whether true or not.
They can be legally liable if your landlord does not repair your residence in time. There is no specified time in the law when the landlord must respond, but it must be reasonable.
What if My Landlord Does Not Respond?
You can sue your landlord in court for the failure to make repairs. First, you should send them a letter, giving them time for repairs. You may file a lawsuit if the landlord does not respond or complete the necessary repairs.
If you win the lawsuit, the court could do the following:
- Order the landlord to make repairs
- Order the landlord to pay you monetary damages
- Require the defendant to pay your legal costs in the case