When you rent a property, your landlord has certain obligations he or she must fulfil. We take a closer look at these responsibilities before exploring what you can do if your landlord is failing to meet their legal duties.
What responsibilities does a landlord have?
When someone becomes a landlord, they are automatically bestowed with a duty of care. This means they must satisfy a variety of different responsibilities to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their tenants. Although the exact nature of these responsibilities will vary slightly according to the type of tenancy and the terms of the tenancy agreement, there are certain obligations that are set out in the law. These include the following:-
- Safety standards
Your landlord must ensure all fittings and flues are in good working order, while all gas and electrical appliances supplied with the property must meet the required safety standards. To satisfy this duty, maintenance checks and repairs should be carried out regularly – for example, a gas safety certificate should be obtained once every year. The fire safety of any furniture supplied should also be checked.
Landlords are responsible for repairs to the exterior and structure of the property, including chimneys, walls, drains and guttering. They must also accept responsibility for all water, gas and electricity installations. For example, sinks, baths, toilets, showers and boilers. If a repair is reported, a landlord should fix the problem in an acceptable amount of time. If access to the property is needed, a suitable date should be arranged with a tenant. A landlord must give at least 24 hours’ notice – he/she cannot enter the property without your permission.
- Energy Performance Certificate
Landlords must now provide new tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate which shows how energy efficient the property is. This may highlight the need for repairs to be carried out to the property.
- Deposit protection
When you move in, your landlord will probably ask for a deposit – usually to the sum of one month’s rent. This should go straight into government-approved scheme, where it will be held until the end of your tenancy. You should receive a document stating that your deposit has been received. Your landlord is not allowed to keep it for himself.
What to do if your landlord fails to meet their responsibilities
If your landlord is failing to meet their legal responsibilities, you should raise the matter as soon as possible. Write a letter detailing the nature of the problem, setting out how you would like the issue to be resolved. Remember to keep copies of all correspondence you send.
If this does not provoke a reaction out of your landlord, you should contact a legal expert who specialises in housing disrepair disputes. A solicitor who works in this area of the law will be able to explain the various options available to you at this stage. This will clarify your legal position, helping you to understand what action to take next.
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