The tenancy agreement will set out a number of obligations required to be fulfilled by the landlord. Usually, there are less than the tenant, but nevertheless, the landlord must oblige to his legal duty.
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The main obligations for the landlord will be set out in the tenancy agreement. There are express terms (written down) and implied terms (provided by law). The first port of call is to examine your tenancy agreement as it should clearly set out the obligations of both parties.
As well as any repair responsibilities set out in the tenancy agreement, the law will imply terms to the agreement. Generally, the building itself and immediate surroundings should be able to withstand normal weather conditions, and normal use by tenants.
The property should be in a reasonable state of repair both internally and externally. There should be no dampness from the outside. The law requires that there should be no unacceptable level of risk to the health and safety of the occupiers.
The tenant can take action against the landlord for breaches of the landlord’s repairing obligation. However, the tenants must prove that they notified the landlord of the repair, and the landlord has not acknowledged, or even ignored, the notice.
This obligation on the landlord is implied into all tenancies. It allows the tenant to reside in the property without disturbance from the landlord. The landlord does not have the right to turn up unannounced (except, possible, in an emergency). The landlord has to enter for a specific purpose.
The Housing Act 2004 put a statutory duty on Local Authorities to identify hazards and the ability to assess tenants’ risks to health and safety. It is therefore useful for the landlord to identify safety hazards at their properties and take action to fix the problem. Most Local Authorities will work with landlords to make sure the landlord is aware of his responsibilities.
There are also gas safety regulations so landlords should clearly understand their obligations in relation to gas supply and appliances. Gas appliances should be maintained in a safe condition at all times. There is an annual safety check that should be carried out by a registered tradesperson.
There are similar regulations in relation to all electrical appliances. They must be safe at the date of supply. One way to show compliance with your regulations could be to complete an annual inspection checking the condition of wiring, plug sockets and fuses. However, there is no statutory requirement for this.
Professional Tenant Services
My name is Carol O’ Leary. I am a lawyer who specialises in dealing with tenant issues.
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