How long does my landlord have to make repairs on my home?

If you’re living in a rented home that needs repairs to be carried out which are the landlord’s responsibility, they are required by law to carry out the work within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time.

What types of repairs is my landlord responsible for?

The types of repairs that your landlord is responsible for are anything related to the structure of the house, like the walls, roof, guttering and drainage, or permanent fixtures and fittings such as plumbing, toilets, showers, baths and basins. Your landlord is also responsible for the exterior of your home, including any garden or boundary fencing, permanent sheds etc. If your home was rented with some furnishings provided by your landlord e.g. white goods, then these are also the responsibility of your landlord to maintain and repair when needed.

However, if something that is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain has been intentionally damaged by the tenants or visitors there to see you, your landlord may not be obliged to pay for repairs.

What repairs is the tenant responsible for?

As a tenant, you are responsible for keeping the rental property clean and tidy and dealing with minor maintenance tasks, such as changing light bulbs, bleeding radiators and the upkeep of any of your own belongings, furniture and appliances that you own in the property.

Your responsibility also includes making sure you report any repairs that your landlord is responsible for to them as soon as you notice the problem. Some types of disrepair, if left, can get worse and cause further issues in your home.

For a more in-depth look at landlord and tenant responsibilities, check out our useful tool.

What does a ‘reasonable’ amount of time mean for carrying out repairs?

If you’re waiting for your landlord to carry out repairs in your rental property, which you have previously reported to them, the current law says they have a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to do so. In some cases, this can leave tenants unsure what ‘reasonable’ means for their specific repairs, so some social landlords do provide their own service level agreements (SLAs) to help tenants understand when they problem could be fixed.

These often include guidance on what counts as an emergency repair, an urgent or important repair and a routine repair, and the periods of time in which they aim to fix these problems.

Emergency repairs

These are repairs that put people or property at risk or harm, so could include exposed electrical wiring, unstable masonry after damage or burst pipes. Many housing associations will promise to come out within 24 hours when you report an emergency repair, to make things safe, although it can often take several days to make a permanent repair.

Urgent repairs

These are important repairs that have a significant impact on your daily life. This could include problems like a broken boiler or if your only toilet in the home is broken. A broken boiler in freezing weather could be upgraded to an emergency repair, depending on your landlord. Many housing associations aim to fix these types of urgent repairs within a few days, although sometimes longer is needed if the issue is complex.

Routine repairs

These are repairs that tenants can reasonably live with for a short time, such as when plastering is needed, an internal door is broken, or there is damp that needs to be investigated. Landlords generally see these repairs as less of a priority, so may take a few days, or even weeks to carry out.

If you have reported a repair to your landlord that you don’t feel they are taking seriously, or they have not fixed it in what you feel to be a reasonable amount of time, it may be possible to make a claim against them. A successful claim would result in the landlord being ordered by a court to carry out the repair works, and you may also be due some compensation, depending on the circumstances. For more information or a free claim assessment, contact CEL Solicitors on 0808 273 0900