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.
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.
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.
We advise you collate as much evidence as possible. This can include:
Preventing mould and damp
Bournemouth Council Condensation and Mould Growth leaflet is also very useful.
Contact us if you would like to discuss your situation in detail.