This post examines the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords with regards to maintenance.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sets out the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant. The Act can be found here in all its glory.
When a property is rented through an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the landlord is always responsible for repairs and maintenance to:
- the structure and exterior (including drains, gutters and external pipes).
- installations for the supply of gas, water and electricity (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary fittings).
- heating and hot water
- electrical wiring
There are also exceptions to the above as follows:
- to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of his duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or would be so liable but for an express covenant on his part,
- to rebuild or reinstate the premises in the case of destruction or damage by fire, or by tempest, flood or other inevitable accident, or
- to keep in repair or maintain anything which the lessee is entitled to remove from the dwelling-house.
In practice, the AST may cover the allocation of responsibility for maintenance of the property (e.g. tenant to keep the garden in a good condition). However, note that an AST cannot transfer responsibility for the items mentioned above. For example, even if the AST was to state that the tenant is responsible for the heating system, this clause would be void since responsibility always rests with the landlord.