As a landlord you are legally responsible for repairs to the structure of the building: the roof, windows, doors, drains, gutters, baths, sinks, toilets, heating, hot water, damp and general building repairs. You must also repair damage that was caused by someone with no connection to the tenant - for example during a break-in or vandalism.
Your tenant must do minor jobs, like replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink. Your tenant must also repair damage that they or their visitors have caused.
You must maintain your property to a reasonable stand and at least meet the minimum housing standard. If your property is of a good standard why not see if it meets the Accreditation Standard? If it does you could get your property accredited – see Private Rented Accreditation Scheme
When a repair needs doing, your tenant should tell you as soon as possible. Or phone you if it’s an emergency (such as a burst pipe).
You should endeavour to do the repair as soon as possible and in a reasonable time. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take; it depends on the urgency of the job. A blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window for example. If the repair isn’t done in a reasonable time, the tenant can complain to the council who will investigate the matter.
Every year about 30 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues, which have not been properly installed or maintained.
The law says that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants must be properly installed and maintained to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
You, as the landlord, must get all gas appliances including central heating systems, heaters, fires, cookers and gas pipework and flues checked at least every 12 months by Gas Safe registered engineers. You must issue tenants with a record of this.
Gas Safety leaflet (130Kb)
You should ensure that the electrical installation in a property is in a safe and satisfactory condition, as it is an offence for a landlord to supply unsafe electrical equipment.
Although there is no legal responsibility on you,the landlord, to test the electrical installation and electrical equipment, it is good practice for a competent electrician to check appliances once a year and have the electrical installation inspected every 5 years.
Landlord's guide to Electrical Safety (689Kb)
From 1 October 2015, landlords will be required to install a smoke alarm on every floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a solid fuel appliance. Landlords will be required to check that alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy. For further information on the legal responsibilities of landlords visit www.communities.gov.uk.
Further guidance for landlords
Enforcement of the regulations is the responsibility of the local housing authority, which can require landlords to fit alarms and if the landlord fails to do so has the power to arrange for them to be fitted. There is a power to levy a penalty charge on the landlord, maximum £5000. The new regulations will apply to all ‘specified tenancies’, i.e. residential premises where a person or persons have a right to occupy the premises and rent is payable. The regulations specifically exclude registered social landlords from these obligations. Certain types of properties and arrangements are also excluded, e.g. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), lodgers, long-leases, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices.
Further guidance will be issued by the Government and will cover a range of issues such as testing, including hard-wired systems, clarity on which tenancies are affected and issues of overlap and interaction between these new regulations and others, such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.
Fire safety enforcement action (51Kb)
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
As the landlord, you must keep to specific laws about fire safety if you rent out a property that’s occupied by more than one household - known as a ‘house in multiple occupation’ or HMO. An HMO could be: a house split into separate bedsits; a shared house or flat where tenants have separate tenancy agreements; a hostel; or a bed and breakfast hotel which is not just for holidays.
Houses in Multiple Occupation ( HMOs) must have adequate, and well-maintained fire alarms, extinguishers and fire blankets, fire doors, fire escapes and escape routes, smoke or heat alarms.