From our own experience, we want to help tenants who have issues with their landlord. Our Director had a rogue landlord, and we wanted to warn people who may come across one.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA85) integrates the Landlord and Tenant Laws Housing Acts with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1962. It details amendments based on Law Commission recommendations. Its focus is on short-term leases for residential properties, particularly Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) and other tenancy agreements set for lower than seven years. It highlights both the landlord and tenant’s responsibilities.
One of the vital aspects of the LTA85 is Section 11.
Section 11 lays out the obligations of the landlord, as well as the tenant, for repairs in currently-rented properties. It contains specific information about the landlord’s repair responsibilities and which ones are not, as well as which structural issues and other home-related problems tenants can claim for as housing disrepair compensation.
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 specifically requires landlords to properly maintain the structure and exterior of the properties they rent out. Some examples of property installations that are referenced in the act include installations for drainage, water, gas and electricity, heating systems, and sanitation or sanitary appliances such as baths, sinks, and basins.
Landlords for short-lease tenancies such as Assured Shorthold Tenancies and periodic tenancies are expected to keep their rental properties in a good state of repair. These obligations are absolute and non-excludable, so no landlord is exempt from them. The only excused tenancies are those that are agreed for a fixed term of seven or more years, and those that commenced before October 24, 1961.
Major landlord obligations
Regardless of what the disrepair is, Section 11 mandates landlords to carry out all needed repairs as soon as possible. They are expected to perform two vital maintenance and repair obligations for private rentals:
1. Electricity, gas, and water installations, toilet and baths, sinks, and basins must be well-maintained and in good working condition.
This covers essential aspects of rental properties such as gas pipes, electrical wiring, boilers, water pipes and tanks, radiators, and other aspects of water and space heating installation.
2. The exteriors and structure of rental properties must be kept in proper condition and state of repair, including pipes, drains, and roof tiles—as well as plaster work, internal walls, bannisters, staircases, and other similar structures.
If these obligations are not followed, landlords must ensure repairs are carried out according to a set time, and that property standards are applied.
Repair work quality and property standards vary according to the location, age, characteristics, and potential lifespan of the rental home. So, a newly built detached home in the outskirts of the city will have different standards with that of a two-year-old home in a 4-storey building.
Section 11 also specifies that rental properties are to be in a good state of repair and proper working condition as soon as the tenancy agreement starts.
Major tenant responsibilities
Like landlords, tenants also have obligations to adhere to. Any disrepair that is caused by the tenant is their responsibility, not their landlord’s. As such, anything that is damaged by the tenant must be repaired by the tenant.
Other tenant responsibilities are as follows:
- To keep items they have installed in a good state of repair and ensure they are well-maintained. For example, if a tenant installs a washing machine or a dryer, keeping the appliance in working condition and getting it repaired when damaged is their responsibility, not the landlord’s.
- To use the home in a tenant-like manner, which means ensuring that anything they do will not damage installations or lead to the deterioration of the building’s facilities and features. Some examples would be keeping the entire home clean, using electrical and gas appliances and installations the right way, providing proper heating and ventilation for the property, refraining from any activity that can damage the home, following building/property rules on smoking and pets, and ensuring that the drains are not blocked.
- To report any disrepair to the landlord immediately after it is discovered. The landlord is required to do the repairs only for damages that were reported by the tenant or were uncovered while carrying out a routine inspection of the property. If the landlord is not informed about the damages, repair responsibility falls on the tenant.
- To allow entry to the landlord and the authorised repair agent for viewing and correcting the disrepair, provided that the tenant is informed in writing 24 hours before the scheduled visit.
- Improvements and upgrades are not the landlord’s responsibilities, unless stated in the tenancy agreement. Landlords are only obligated to repair the home back to how it was when the tenancy started.
If you live in a rented home, knowing your landlord’s responsibilities and your obligations is important. So, the minute that you see disrepair in the home, you’ll know that you need to inform your landlord right away. You can also talk to a panel of disrepair solicitors such as the team at DisrepairClaim.co.uk. They know what to do to help ensure that your landlord follows Section 11 of the LTA85.