Property in disrepair
Landlords 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. Damage caused by someone with no connection to the tenant must also be covered by the landlord - for example during a break-in or vandalism.
Tenants are responsible for minor jobs such as replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink. Tenants are also responsible for any damage caused by tenant or their visitors.
Landlords are required to ensure that the property meets the minimum standard for housing. Landlord guidance on the minimum standard for housing is available on the gov.uk website.
Tenants should let the landlord know as soon as possible when a repair is needed. Landlords should endeavour to address the repair as soon as possible and in a reasonable amount of time. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take, it depends on the urgency of the job. For example, a blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window. If the repair isn't done in a reasonable time, the tenant can complain to the council who will investigate the matter.
If a property is found to be substandard a landlord will be required to carry out repairs or improvements. Sometimes a landlord will be notified by the council and given an opportunity to put matters right without any sanction, and sometimes the council will notify a landlord 'formally' of what he is required to do, and this can cause the landlord to incur a charge. Whether a landlord is notified 'informally' or 'formally' is determined by the landlord's track record and the urgency of the repair.
Government has recently given councils new powers to take action against landlords that commit housing related offences and these are being used by us to protect tenants.