What Repairs Are Landlords & Tenants Responsible For?

Renting properties comes with legal responsibility, and as a landlord – or tenant – it’s in your best interest to know what the responsibilities of each party are. The legal framework of the landlord-tenant relationship is set out in The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which regulates the rental market.

Landlord Responsibilities

As per law, the landlord must rent the property in a state that is fit to live in. The structure of the building must be stable, while the electric, water, and heating systems must be perfectly functional and meet the safety standards. Functional sanitation facilities are also mandatory – at least a sink, a toilet and a bathroom are required for every property. Furthermore, any possible threat to the tenant’s life or health, like damp, mould or pests should be addressed before the tenant moves in.

After the tenant has moved in, gas safety is probably the most important responsibility of a landlord. A regular check-up should be done every year to make sure the property is still safe to use and that all appliances, wires, exhaustion system and other components are working perfectly.

All the basic utilities and their pipework fall within the responsibility of the landlord. However, appliances that have been installed by the tenant are the tenant’s responsibility. The landlord must only ensure that these have been connected safely to the entire system.

The landlord should also install detectors for fire, smoke and CO2 on every level of the property.

Tenant Responsibilities

The legal responsibilities of a tenant are, among others, cleaning and maintaining proper sanitary conditions on the property, and reporting any damage caused to the property, regardless of what or who caused it. The tenant is solely responsible for damage caused by self, their family or their visitors.

This also means that they are responsible for using all-electric or gas appliances as stated in their manuals. Any damage created by improper use of appliances or interference with any of the electrical, gas or water systems is not the landlord’s responsibility. In this case, the costs can be deducted from the tenancy deposit. If the deposit does not cover all the expenses, the landlord has the right to seek a court order.

Moreover, The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that landlords don’t bear any legal liability for damage that has not been reported by the tenants or that has not been detected during the regular checkup.

Regardless of who bears the responsibility for the damage, it’s up to the parties to decide who carries out the repairs. If the tenant wants to fix the issue themselves, they must ask for permission from the landlord. If the landlord disagrees and contacts their specialist, the tenants must ensure access to the property.

Issues that are not included in Section 11 of the Act, such as who bears responsibility for the interior walls design or who carries out minor repairs to windows and doors, can be agreed upon between the two parties before signing the contract. Although not stated in the Act, minor repairs such as replacing a bulb or fixing a door are usually the tenant’s responsibilities.

The Law & Being Gas Safe – Landlord Check

Owning a property comes with both privilege and responsibility. One of these responsibilities is carrying out all the check-ups to make sure your property is gas safe and that the life of your tenants is not at risk.

But, what exactly are these responsibilities? Read on to find below the three most important things any landlord should know.

What Are a Landlord’s Gas Safety Responsibilities?

As a landlord, you must ensure that everything related to the heating system – from boilers to the last vent – works in optimal conditions. How should you do that?

1. Regular Gas Safety Checks

As per the most recent regulations regarding gas safety checks (April 2018), all the gas appliances and flues must be checked annually. The inspection can be carried out only by Gas Safe Registered Engineers and it must be done before the due date of the previous inspection. For example, if the last check-up was performed on April 15th, 2019, the next one should be done on April 14th, 2020, at the latest.

It is important to know that if your tenants bring their gas appliances you are not legally responsible for them. However, if they need to be connected to the pipes and/or the flues in your home, it is your responsibility to ensure they have been properly connected.

2. Regular Maintenance of the Gas System

All appliances that work on gas, the gas pipes and the exhaust system need to be checked regularly, as well. While the Gas Safety Check aims at ensuring the entire gas system is functioning properly, regular maintenance of each part of the system ensures that there is no problem with any cog of the wheel.

Check the instruction manual of each appliance and perform all the inspections as recommended. If there are no recommendations, arrange for an annual inspection with the Gas Safe Registered Engineer.

3. Keep All the Records

Your legal responsibility extends to keeping the record of all Gas Safety Checks carried out in the past two years. These should always be available to your tenants, but if you’re renting the space for less than 28 days at a time, you can display a copy of the records and keep the originals in your own home.

Keeping the records outside the compulsory two-year period is also important in case you need to prove your history of legal compliance regarding gas safety regulations.

What Else Can You Do?

Talk to your tenants and explain to them how the gas system works, where can they turn it off if needed, and what to do in case of a gas emergency.

Additionally, you can install a carbon monoxide detector in the building. Although they are not required by law, detectors can give a reassuring feeling to your tenants, knowing that even if such a problem occurs, they can act on it quickly.

If you need to perform any check-ups or you’re looking for Gas Safe Registered Engineers, reach out to us via the Contact Form on our website or call us at 0800 061 4102.