Disrepair

Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, that landlords of most tenancies must keep the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house in repair, and keep the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and heating water in good repair and proper working order. Failure to do so may constitute disrepair. A landlord’s action or inaction which results in injury or damage may constitute negligence. If the action or inaction causes offence annoyance trouble or injury then this may constitute nuisance. Negligence and nuisance are also forms of disrepair. Disrepair may also occur under section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972. When a landlord is obliged to repair and has permission to enter the property, the landlord has a duty of care to see that the tenants and visitors of that accommodation are safe from injury or damage as a result of ‘relevant defects’.

If you have an issue in your accommodation which you believe is covered under Section 11, then you need to report the issue to your Landlord immediately.

 

Repair

There is no clear definition of repair as the Courts interpret the meaning in several different ways. There is a distinction between repair, renewal and improvement. Whether you fix something like for like or if in order to fix an issue you have to make improvements. Ultimately though if something is broken in your accommodation you need to report it immediately so it can be repaired. Failure to report repairs can mean you don’t get all of your deposit back, or further damages may occur to the accommodation. Tenants are legally required to report repairs.

 

Reporting disrepair and repairs

As soon as you notice an issue you need to report the damages to the landlord/agent. This is best done in writing. Also, ensure you include pictures of the damage and dates of when it first started and what you have done to manage the issue (see above). We can provide you with a template letter to use.


If you have reported the issue and it is clear you are not causing the problem, e.g leaky roof, then the matter can be reported to the local councils Environmental Health Team and they can inspect the property. You will need to tell them that you have been following the tips above for at least a couple of weeks, that the issue persists and your landlord/agent isn’t taking any action, despite you submitting a written repairs request.

 

Claiming compensation

It may be possible for you to claim compensation if your landlord has failed to make repairs and this lack of action has resulted in damage to your belongings, had a negative impact on your health or it has caused you inconvenience. If you decide to claim for compensation you should consider when it is best to submit the claim as it could have an impact on your relationship with your landlord. You can submit a claim during your tenancy or up to 6 years after it has ended.

 

Evidence

We advise you collate as much evidence as possible. This can include:

  • photos
  • videos
  • letters from medical professionals
  • diary of when this did/didn't occur
  • emails
  • copy of your tenancy agreement
  • receipts for replaced belongings
  • utility bills

 

Preventing mould and damp

  • Closing the kitchen door when cooking and if possible keep a window open. Use extractor fans where provided.
  • Covering saucepans with saucepan lids when boiling food
  • Keeping the door shut when having a bath/shower. Open a window/use extractor fan and keep the bathroom door shut when you have finished.
  • Drying clothes outside or use a tumble dryer
  • Try to keep heating on a low constant temperature, increasing the heat as and when required. This will eliminate the cold surfaces. This would not necessary increase your bills because a room is more expensive to heat from cold. Rooms should be between 18 Celsius and 21 Celsius
  • Moving large items away from walls and radiators i.e. bed/wardrobe.

Bournemouth Council Condensation and Mould Growth leaflet is also very useful.

 

Contact us if you would like to discuss your situation in detail.

Powered by

Registered Office

Registered Office: Students' Union at Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB

Registered in England Charity Number: 1144886