Renting And Repairs: Your Responsibilities

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Everyone lives in a rented property at one time or another. This period could be really long, and take up years or even decades .On average it’s from the moment you move out of the home you grew up in, up to the point where you decide to settle down and buy your own place. During this time, you might face numerous housing issues which you don’t quite know how to resolve, and getting repairs done could become one of them.

Should I do My Own Repairs?

So, you are living in a rented property where repairs need doing, should you just roll up your sleeves and fix the leaking pipes yourself? Of course, not – the first person to find out about the problem must be your landlord or agent acting on their behalf. It’s their responsibility to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair. As a tenant you are obliged to look after the property that you rent. You mus inform your landlord about a possible need for maintenance.

What Are The Landlords Responsibilities?

Let’s look into landlord’s responsibilities more closely.

  1. Structural issues and exterior of the building. This includes floors, walls, window frames, drains, gutters, along with steps from the street and garden paths.
  2. Essential internal conveniences – electrical wiring, gas and water pipes, bathroom fixtures, and fixed heaters.
  3. Thirdly, the common parts (lifts, stairways, hallways) are maintained by the owners.

Environmental Health

Local authorities can take action against landlords if the living conditions in the property are not acceptable. If your health is at risk from pests, excess damp or leaking roof or if lack of repair causes injuries to third parties. In addition to that, the legal matters of discrimination should also be mentioned.

If a landlord refuses to carry out maintenance because of the tenant’s disability, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or gender, they are acting unlawfully. Though proving it could be very difficult.

Knowing your rights doesn’t mean that you should force any repairs by legal means. It is always better to negotiate amicably with your landlord. Put your requests in writing so there is a record of when it was first reported. Landlords are usually allowed a fixed time period to get the repairs done, depending on their urgency. Remember, it is not always easy to get workmen there straight away, they will have other jobs to do before they can fit you in.

Do not ever withhold your rent from the landlord, since this will not force them to do the repairs and you could spark eviction proceedings. You are breaking the law by putting yourself intentionally into arrears. In some circumstances, with consent of the premises owner, you could arrange repairs yourself and pay for them with the rent money. This should only be done with your landlord’s written agreement. Always try to be calm and rational, as this is always a much more fruitful way to deal with problems.

In spite of having to face certain issues, renting accommodation has numerous benefits. Unlike onwing a place, it gives you the mobility to change location whenever needed, so when it comes to resolving rental matters, be flexible too.

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