Repairs and Maintenance
Repairs and maintenance
General (non-urgent) repairs
- Both the tenant and the property owner must maintain the premises in as near as possible to the same condition it was in when the tenancy started - apart from reasonable wear and tear.
- If repairs are needed:
- A tenant must notify an owner/agent within 7 days;
- If the tenant is not at fault for the repairs, the owner must make the repairs at their own cost.
- If the tenant caused the need for repair the tenant must pay any costs.
- Whilst it is not a legal requirement that the tenant notify the owner in writing of the need for repair, it is recommended that this is done in writing (letter/email/text message) and that the tenant keep a copy of this notice. This may assist in dealing with any disputes over repairs at a later stage.
- The property owner/agent has 28 days from when they were notified by the tenant to do the repair.
Some common problems
If the repairs are urgent they must be made as soon as possible.
Urgent repairs are usually required when damage occurs (eg, a broken window from a storm, or when an essential service such as heating or hot water, has stopped working). If this happens:
Essential services include:
Example: If one hotplate stopped working a stove would still work. This would be a general repair, not an urgent repair. However if the stove did not work at all, this would be an urgent repair.
- As an owner
- You must maintain the property during the course of the tenancy agreement, to make sure it stays in a similar condition as agreed at the start of the tenancy.
- You must allow for reasonable wear and tear.
- You are responsible for the replacement of specialist light globes such as:
- bathroom heater lights
- garden lights
- outdoor sensor lights
- As a tenant
- You must keep the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness, to make sure it stays in a similar condition as agreed at the start of the tenancy.
- You are responsible for replacing common items such as:
- regular light globes
- tap washers.
Disputes about repairs
The property owner must complete repairs within the required time otherwise they may be in breach of the tenancy agreement.
Where the property owner fails to carry out repairs, or where there is a dispute about whether repairs should be carried out, the tenant should:
- A tenant may apply to a magistrate for a court order requiring the owner to carry out repairs.
- If the tenant has a fixed term agreement they may choose to leave the tenancy by giving Notice to Terminate the agreement for failure to carry out repair.