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A Guide to Tenants Responsibilities for Repairs

Repairs and maintenance don’t always occur in rental homes, but when they do, they can cause lots of hassle for landlords and tenants. Who is responsible for which repairs and how to get the work done?

Last updated September 28, 2020 by Build To Rent

Have you recently rented a home? If so, it is essential to understand tenants’ responsibilities for repairs because that can help you avoid unpleasant surprises and prepare for unexpected costs. It also enables you to figure out which deductions on your security deposit are fair and vice versa.

In this guide, we will be reviewing common repair problems in rental homes, who is responsible for them and which repairs you are expected to pay for. Let’s begin.

  1. 3 Common Repair Problems That Tenants Face
  2. What Are Tenants Responsibilities for Repair?
  3. What Can You Do If your Landlord Doesn’t Cooperate Over Repairs?
  4. How Do Build To Rent Homes Facilitate Tenants Over Repairs?
  5. The Bottom Line

3 Common Repair Problems That Tenants Face

As per a survey carried out by The Independent in 2017, 29% of rental homes in the traditional Private Rent Sector (PRS) are prone to safety hazards and need repairs1.

Some of the most common repair problems that tenants face include:

Damp and Mould

Mould and damp are a frequent problem in rental homes. There are several types of damp that may cause damage to the rental property. These include:

  • Rising damp – Caused due to moisture travelling up from the ground, affects tenants living on the ground floor of a property.
  • Construction damp – Caused due to the way the property is designed.
  • Penetrating damp – Caused due to a leak in the roof, cracks in the wall, leaks in guttering or drainage pipes.
  • Condensation damp – Caused due to the lack of insulation, heating or ventilation that compromises a property’s ability to deal with water vapour.

Two specialists in protective suits disinfecting an old home after a pest infestation.

Besides damaging the interiors of your home, damp can also encourage the growth of mould. This can put the occupants of the property at risk. If you notice damp or mould on your premises, notify your landlord immediately and ask them to get the problem resolved. Your landlord is also responsible for any repairs that arise due to these issues.

Pest Invasions

If your apartment gets infested, you will have to notify your landlord and discuss who is responsible for managing repairs. In most cases, this depends on the cause of the infestation, the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement.

If your tenancy agreement states that your landlord is required to carry out any repairs to stop pests from invading your home, then they will be responsible for the damage caused.

Additionally, if the infestation occurs because the landlord did not take care of certain problems, then you can hold them responsible for the repairs that follow. For instance, if any rats or insects were able to find their way into your home due to cracks in the wall, then your landlord will be responsible for fixing this problem.

On the other hand, if there is a pest infestation because you make a habit of leaving food around or don’t dispose of the trash properly, then you might be responsible for dealing with the issue.

Water Damage Due To Leaks From a Neighbouring Property

A young plumber fixing water leakage at the kitchen sink in a Build To Rent property.

If you live in an apartment, there is a chance your home will suffer from water damage due to leaks from a neighbouring property. The leak may cause damage to the plasterwork or ceilings. In this case, make sure you inform the landlord and ask them to take care of the repairs.

If the water leak also destroys your belongings, then the person responsible for the damage will have to pay for repairs. For instance, if you and your neighbour have the same landlord and the leak occurred because the landlord did not make necessary repairs to the neighbouring property, then they will have to pay for your belongings as well.

However, if your neighbouring tenant is responsible for the leak due to their negligence or carelessness, then you can demand they pay for the damage.

You can take court action if the tenant doesn’t respond to your claims, but we recommend resolving these disputes amicably with your neighbour before resorting to this solution. You can also take court action if you face these problems repeatedly because of something that your neighbour does or does not do.

If you have a contents insurance policy, you can ask your insurance company to take over the matter.

What Are Tenants Responsibilities for Repair?

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs required for a rental property. However, it’s important you know about tenants’ responsibilities for repairs as well. Primarily, you will be responsible for the following:

Maintaining Your Home

A tenant fixing a broken electric bulb in his brand new Build To Rent property.

All tenants are required to maintain a general level of cleanliness and look after their homes. This can help prevent the need for excessive repairs. If you have a garden, then you must maintain it to a reasonable extent.

You must also carry out safety checks on any electrical appliances that you own. If the smoke alarm or a light bulb isn’t working, then you carry out some minor maintenance work such as replacing batteries and installing a new light bulb.

If you fail to maintain your home to a reasonable standard, your landlord may evict you on the grounds of negligence.

Informing Your Landlord and Granting Access to Workers

If something needs repairing, make sure you inform your landlord promptly. You also need to allow access to workers that come to inspect the property on behalf of the landlord.

A landlord will have to provide you with a written notice 24 hours before an inspection. If you are not available at the time, you can ask them to reschedule.

Looking After Your Guests and Their Belongings

As a tenant, you are also responsible for looking after your guests and their belongings and making sure they are safe. If you have invited someone over and their belongings get damaged, then your landlord will be not liable to pay for these damages.

Repairing the Appliances and Installations You Own

A tenant holding a screwdriver to fix a chest of drawers in her Build To Rent property.

As far as tenants’ responsibilities for repairs go, you are also responsible for looking after any appliances you own or anything that you installed in your home. If these get damaged, then you will have to pay for repairing or replacing these appliances or installations out of your own pocket. Your landlord will not pay for these damages.

To give you a rough estimate of these costs, let us assume you are hiring an appliance technician to repair an appliance. This will cost you somewhere between £65 and £1102. The cost of repairing an installation will depend on the type of installation and the extent of the damage.

Repairing the Damage Caused By You or a Visitor

If you or your pet causes damage to the rental property, then you will be responsible for paying for the repairs. You can offer to pay for these damages upfront or ask the landlord to deduct the amount from your tenancy deposit. The same applies to damages caused by a visitor on your property.

On average, landlords incur repair costs of £600 a year for damages caused by pets3. They tend to charge additional rent of £50/month to pet owners to recover these costs4.

You might also have to pay for repairs that result because the landlord believes you did not take reasonable care of the property. For instance, if a drain, pipe, or toilet gets blocked because you were negligent, then you might have to pay the repair costs. You can hire a plumber to sort out these issues. On average, this will cost you somewhere between £20 and £40 per hour, sometimes with a minimum £100 call-out charge5.

A couple sitting on the floor as they take a break from repair & maintenance work of their new rental property.

What Can You Do If your Landlord Doesn’t Cooperate Over Repairs?

Landlords are legally required to address all the repairs they are responsible for and have the issue resolved within a reasonable timeframe.

Unfortunately, according to a survey shared by the Guardian, 67% of tenants in PRS claim that their landlords do not resolve repair problems. 15% of tenants also believe that the lack of repairs can compromise their health and safety6.

If your landlord has failed to cooperate with you, then you can take the following course of action:

Follow Up With the Landlord

If your landlord fails to address your problems, then you can get in touch with them again and ask them about the delay. Provide your landlord with a deadline for the repairs and make sure you keep a record of all your conversations. You can also provide your landlord with a particular time or day for carrying out repairs.

Seek Help From Your Local Council or Take Court Action

If your landlord continues to remain unresponsive, you can file a complaint with your local council about the condition of your home. You can also take court action against your landlord, demanding repairs or compensation.

A lawyer discussing with a landlord and his tenant on their responsibilities of repairs and maintenance.

Get the Repairs Done Yourself

Finally, you can carry out the repairs on your own. If you choose to get the repairs done by yourself, make sure to inform your landlord and ask them to reimburse you. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your landlord will pay you for the repairs.

You also need to keep a close eye on the personnel you hire for repairs since you will be responsible for any other damages they cause. The landlord may ask you to fix these problems or pay for the additional repair work.

How Do Build To Rent Homes Facilitate Tenants Over Repairs?

Unlike the traditional Private Rented Sector, tenants renting a Build To Rent home can expect better customer service in terms of managing repairs. Any tenants’ responsibilities for repairs are also kept to a minimum.

Some of the joys of renting a Build To Rent home with respect to handling repairs include:

24/7 Onsite Management Team

An onsite Build To Rent property manager welcoming a prospective tenant and show her around an availble flat.

One of the biggest perks of a Build To Rent home is the 24/7 availability of an onsite management team that you can report repairs to.

Build To Rent developments take a more vigilant approach toward helping tenants and making sure their problems are addressed promptly. Therefore, if your apartment gets damaged, you can expect the problem to be taken care of more quickly. In many cases, the onsite management team can get your issue resolved in less than a day.

Brand New Homes

Build To Rent developments consist of brand new homes that are not prone to most issues that confront homes in the traditional Private Rented Sector. The quality of these homes exceeds the standards defined by the NHBC. These properties are in top-notch condition and you won’t have to deal with problems such as damp caused due to design defects. The likelihood of a pest invasion is also considerably less.

Many Build To Rent property developers also seek insurance and warranties from the NHBC and other Build To Rent insurance providers. These insurance packages provide coverage against building and structural defects for Build To Rent homes. Thanks to these insurance policies, tenants can automatically expect to pay less in repairs and maintenance.

A brand new, spacious and fully furnished living room at a Build To Rent property where repairs & maintenance are free of charge.

Free of Charge

All assistance regarding repairs and maintenance is free of charge for Build to Rent tenants. They don’t have to pay an extra fee for these services. Instead, these facilities are built into the rental price and tenants can avail of these services at any time.

The Bottom Line

Your landlord is responsible for most repair problems such as damp, mould, pests and water damage due to leaks from a neighbouring property.

Tenants’ responsibilities for repairs are mostly limited to damages caused by renter, their pet or a visitor they invited into their home. Tenants will also have to manage repairs for any installations or appliances they own.

Are you looking for more convenience in terms of repairs and better customer service? Then visit www.buildtorent.io and find a Build To Rent property in your city!

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