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Section 11 Repairing Obligations – what you need to know

30th September 2020

Statutory Implied Terms

Firstly, what are the obligations of the landlord under the Landlord and Tenant Act? The official line states that:

“The landlord [is] to maintain the structure and exterior of the property, including installations for the supply of water, gas and, electricity, heating systems, drainage, and sanitary appliances.”

In simple terms, this means that if anything you as the landlord have provided as part of the tenancy, it is your obligation to keep it in good working order throughout the duration of the tenancy.

If we look a little deeper, the statement implies that the installations are ‘maintained’, which tells us that they must indeed be in proper working order before the start of the tenancy. It’s important that anything that isn’t in good repair is dealt with before the tenant moves in, otherwise, the landlord can be deemed in breach of Section 11, and therefore can be prosecuted.

So, what is included, and what do we mean by installations?

Maintenance of the structure and exterior is quite self-explanatory; by this, we would include the brickwork and external structure, roof, drains and gutters, and windows and doors, etc. It is expected that the property is structurally sound, will not be subject to leaks or damp caused by damage to brickwork or roof damage, and is secure, with adequately fitted doors and windows etc.

With regards to installations, you should include in this anything that is included in the property as part of the agreement. That includes any appliances which are already in the property when the tenant moves in. It also includes all and any water or gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, and other space heating installations such as vents for under-floor heating, baths and sinks, and sanitary ware.

 

Supplied appliances

If you have provided appliances to the tenant as part of the tenancy, i.e. they are not gifted or provided as a goodwill gesture, then these must also be kept in good repair as part of the agreement. These might include:

  • Refrigerators
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Television and audio systems
  • Electric cookers
  • Kettles
  • Toasters

As a landlord, it is not under your responsibility to repair items that belong to and were brought into the property by the tenant. Make sure that any items you have provided are included in your tenancy agreement, and are listed on your inventory. It is also important that you can prove the condition of provided appliances in your inventory, so that your tenants cannot claim for damages for which they are responsible.

 

Advertising the property and the Consumer Protection Act

Something you’ll want to consider when you’re advertising the property is what you’re including in the tenancy. If, in your photographs, you have shown the property with white good, and you are not intending to include them, you must state that in your advert, and make it clear whether you are willing to gift those items, or whether they will be removed before the tenant moves in.

 

Tenancy Issues

Something we’ve seen come up and have frequently been asked about is whether the landlord’s responsibility under Section 11 changes if the tenant is behind on their rent, or is under dispute for some other reason.

The answer is absolutely not. Regardless of any issues with the tenant, you as the landlord are still under obligation to make good any repairs to the structure and installations included within your property.

You must also get the permission of the tenant to gain entry to the property to make any necessary repairs. While we know that when a tenancy is under dispute, this can sometimes be difficult, but remember that if you don’t have permission to enter from the tenant, then you can be liable for trespass.

In all circumstances, the tenants right to privacy in their home should be respected.

If the health of your property is a concern, you can download our FREE compliance check download here.

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