If you have an urgent repair that your landlord is failing to take responsibility for,
Who is Responsible for Repairs?
As stipulated in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a landlord has certain responsibilities with regards to repairs. This includes the legal obligation to repair:-
- The structure and exterior of the building;
- Sinks, baths, toilets and other sanitary fittings;
- Central heating, gas fires, fireplaces, flues, ventilation and chimneys;
- Gas pipes, electrical wiring and certain electrical appliances provided with the property;
- Exterior TV aerial;
- Internal decorations that were damaged as a result of repairs.
If any of the above do require repair, a tenant should give their landlord notice as soon as possible. It is then a landlord’s duty to organise and carry out the necessary maintenance work.
Once you have reported the problem to your landlord, he/she should advise you how the issue to be resolved, and how long this is likely to take. There is no set time frame in terms of carrying out repairs, as each situation will vary depending upon the set of circumstances. For example, heavy works may take some months to complete. However, in each case the time taken to finish the repair must be ‘reasonable’; therefore taking several months to fix an urgent repair will not be deemed acceptable.
An ‘urgent repair’ is something which necessitates an urgent response, but is not an emergency (such as a gas leak). Common examples of urgent repairs include:-
- Faults with electrical fittings;
- Faults with heating systems (either water or electric);
- Faults with storage tanks;
- Faults with toilet cisterns, flush pipes, traps, valves or radiators;
- Sewer or drain blockages;
- Serious water infiltration at windows or doors.
As a general rule, an urgent repair should be attended with 24 to 48 hours of the time it was reported. If you notify your landlord or agent verbally, it is a good idea to follow-up with a written notice; having your request for repair in writing will ensure your landlord cannot deny knowledge of the problem.
How to Enforce Urgent Repairs
If your landlord fails to perform urgent repairs within an acceptable time frame, then what action can you take? Firstly, it is a good idea to seek advice from a solicitor with experience in housing disrepair claims. A legal expert can advise you upon your legal position before suggesting how to enforce urgent repairs. This will usually involve the following steps:-
- Sending an early notification letter to your landlord, detailing the disrepair;
- If this does not instigate action from you landlord, you can go to court and ask for an injunction or order for specific performance – this will order your landlord to carry our certain repairs within a certain time limit;
- If your landlord still refuses to carry out urgent repairs, he/she may face a fine or even imprisonment;
- Make a compensation claim for the damage and inconvenience your landlord has caused you.
Seek Legal Advice for Urgent Repairs
If you need help enforcing urgent repairs, contact Roskell Davies solicitors today and speak to one of our legal advisors.