Private Client
By Conal McGarrity
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What to do if you are Renting a Property and the Landlord refuses to do repairs

Millions of people pay monthly rent to a landlord for a room or a home, but many will be unclear about their rights as a tenant. One of the main questions surrounding tenancy is “What can I do if my landlord fails to do basic repairs, deal with pests etc?” and “What is my landlord/landlady responsible for?” This is a list of what your landlord is responsible for:

the structure and exterior of the building, including the walls, stairs and the roof

  • external doors and windows

  • sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains

  • heating and hot water

  • chimneys and ventilation

  • electrical wiring

The landlord also must put right any damage to internal decorations caused by problems of the type set out above or while repairs were carried out The landlord also has a duty to repair or replace faulty items or appliances they provided, such as a fridge or washing machine.

The landlord isn’t responsible for fixing any appliances or furniture that belong to the tenant. The landlord doesn’t have to fix repair problems until they know about them. Regarding gas, electrical and fire safety: The landlord is responsible for keeping gas and electrical appliances they provide in safe working order.

They must arrange an annual gas safety inspection to be carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer. Most private landlords are responsible for installing smoke alarms on each floor of a rented residence and installing carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with a coal fire or wood burning stove. Landlords must also make sure any furniture they provide meets fire safety regulations. Landlords have a duty to make sure that a rented property is free from any threats that could affect the health and safety of anyone in the occupying household. Health hazards can include damp and mould (even if this is not caused by a defect to the structure or exterior).

Repairs to Communal Areas: The landlord is responsible for repairing the common parts of a building, such as entrance halls, communal stairways and shared kitchens. First, ensure you are not responsible for the repairs. Tenants are usually expected to do small maintenance jobs such as changing a light bulb or repairing damage they have caused.

However, if your tenancy agreement states that your landlord is responsible for carrying out repairs and they refuse: you can tell the landlord that he is in breach of your contract by following these steps:

1. Write to your landlord, informing her/him of the repairs which need to be carried out.

2. If you do not get a satisfactory response to your letter, send a follow up letter giving your landlord a deadline by which you expect a reply.

3. If you are still not satisfied with your landlord’s response, you can write again, informing the landlord of your intention to involve the local council if the repair work is not carried out. Second, after following these steps if you are still unable to come to an agreement with your landlord. You can complain to your local council.

However, in certain circumstances, involving the council may still not solve your problem. If the problem still cannot be solved, you can seek legal advice from P.A. Duffy & Co. Everyone wants their house to be a home, but this can be difficult if your landlord refuses to carry out repairs. Living in a state of disrepair will create stress and may even affect your health.

At P.A. Duffy & Co we are able to offer out expertise advice on the merits of a claim for disrepair, how to make a claim and how to proceed with it. Our solicitors are recognised as experts and will deal with your issue sympathetically.

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