Getting the keys to your new home is all well and good, but what happens when you've been there a few months, and a repair issue arises. You get on the phone/send a text/use an app (delete as appropriate) and report the issue to the landlord or managing agent. Then it gets fixed, right?
Well, usually, yes, if the repair request is reasonable. What happens, however, if the repair request isn't deemed "reasonable"? Renters are often left somewhat confused about repairs, wondering when the landlord is responsible and when renters are required to fix an issue.
If you happen to be one of those renters, then fear not. In this guide, we're bringing you the lowdown on everything related to a reasonable repair request. So, read on and find out what constitutes a fair repair request and what doesn't.
It's all in the legals
Repair requests are often the centre of many disputes between landlords and renters, but it doesn't have to be that way. The assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreement is covered by the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985, which sets out repair conditions.
It states that landlords must keep the structure and exterior of a rental property in repair. This includes drains, gutters and pipes. Installations for the supply of water, electricity, gas and sanitation must also be kept in repair and working order.
So, if the issue is to do with any of the above, you can rest assured knowing that the landlord and managing agent need to rectify any problems that occur. However, section 11 doesn't mention anything about fixtures and fittings – and these are often the most common repair requests.
When is a repair request "reasonable"?
Repairs that relate to fixtures and fittings should be the landlord's responsibility if you can't solve the problem by yourself. These can be as minor as a blind not working correctly or as significant as the boiler breaking down.
Requests for repairs may include:
- Boiler breakdown
- Kitchen appliances, such as cookers, ovens and fridges not working
- Issues with furniture provided by the landlord
- Taps, shower screens and shower curtains
- Toilet seats, drawers and cupboards breaking
You should contact your landlord or the managing agent as soon as something stops working so that it doesn't become worse. Also, allow a reasonable amount of time for them to arrange a repair for the problem.
What is considered "unreasonable"?
Now that you know what a reasonable repair request is, it's worth understanding when you're responsible for fixing issues around your home. While the landlord is responsible for repairs related to items they've included in the property, there may be times where the fault lies with you.
Anything you bought for the property becomes your responsibility. You will need to pay for repairs to any issues related to furniture you have purchased, as these items won't have anything to do with the landlord.
You will also be responsible for damage that you cause on purpose. For example, let's say for some odd reason you decided to wreck the cooker. Such a scenario would require you to fix it, as you're the one who has caused the damage. Even worse, if you leave it as a broken appliance, the landlord is within their right to withhold part of your security deposit.
What about wear and tear?
There's no requirement for the landlord to repair something if you dismantle parts of the fixtures and fittings with improper use or carelessness. But what happens when things go bad over a sustained period of time?
This is known as wear and tear and also becomes the landlord's responsibility. They are required to replace and cover the costs for any furniture (as long as they provided it) or equipment that becomes unusable after everyday wear and tear.
Get to fixin'
In an ideal world, everything works fine in your home, and there will be no need to contact the landlord or letting agent. However, every now and then things do go wrong, so it's vital that you know your rights regarding reasonable repairs. That way, getting stuff around your home fixed should be a fairly straightforward process.