Landlord and tenant responsibilities

We have a statutory duty to investigate complaints where landlords and tenants cannot agree who should undertake work.

Who is responsible for repairs?

Both landlords and tenants are responsible for keeping rented properties in good repair. Unless the tenancy has a fixed term of more than seven years, the landlord is responsible for repairs to:

  • 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, for example, during a break-in or vandalism

The tenant should always undertake minor jobs such as:

  • replacing fuses
  • clearing blocked sink

As well as:

  • repair damage that the tenant, their family or visitors have caused

Responsibility for other repairs depends on what the landlord and the tenant agree. The landlord can include a sum to cover the cost of repairs in the rent, but he cannot pass the cost of repairs onto the tenant as a service charge.

It is useful to discuss the procedures for getting repairs carried out and have them included in the tenancy agreement. Sorting out repairs is one of the most common problems in private-rented homes. Each party’s responsibility for repairs and how tenants report problems should be clearly set out prior to the start of a tenancy.

Reporting repairs

When a repair needs doing, it is advisable that the landlord/ agent are told in writing as soon as possible and the tenant should keep a copy of the letter/email sent, or the landlord/ agent should be telephoned as soon as is practicable in the case of an emergency.

A landlord/ agent must be given a reasonable time to do the repair. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take; it depends on the urgency scale of the job. A blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window for example.

If the repair isn’t done in a reasonable time, even after a landlord is reminded, tenants must not stop paying the rent. You can contact us for advice.

Landlord's visit

Your landlord/ agent has the right to come into your home to check what needs repairing. They must give you at least 24 hours notice and must come at an agreed time.

Our involvement

Where we receive complaints, we aim to work with landlords to resolve any issues and are on hand to provide practical advice throughout the process. Landlords usually carry out the repairs voluntarily, but in some cases we have legal powers to make your landlord deal with repair problems and the condition of your home.

Resale of gas and electricity

The maximum amount landlords or “resellers” are permitted to charge for gas or electricity is the amount they have paid for it, plus VAT at the appropriate rate. Any standing charges can be recovered by the landlord by dividing it on a pro-rata basis according to usage between all the tenants.

If a tenant finds that they are being overcharged, they can take their landlord to court to recover any money overcharged. Contact a private housing solicitor, Citizens Advice Bureau or Doncaster Housing Advice Centre for further help.

Ofgem, the organisation that regulates the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain can be contacted to provide you with further information and advice.

Key or card meters

Sometimes key and card meters can be set at a higher rate in order to recover an old debt. This is acceptable if those tenants who incurred it are paying the debt, but the following points are important:

  • it is illegal for meters to be set to recover former tenants’ debts from new tenants who were not in the house when the debt built up
  • the new tenant should contact the energy supplier, stating that they are the new tenants of the property (you may be required to show your tenancy agreement)
  • the old debt account should be cleared and a new account opened
  • the energy supplier should re-set the meter at the correct rate

When a new tenant moves into a property it is advisable that they read the meter and keep a note of the meter reading in a safe place at least until they have had the first bill. Landlords are also advised to take a note of meter readings when a tenant leaves a property and when a new tenant moves in.

Contact us

For further information, please contact us:

Last updated: 11 May 2018 13:45:32