Your contract should set out who is responsible for different repairs or general maintenance of the rented property. The law also implies duties on landlords to keep the property safe and in good repair, even if these are not stated in the contract.
Depending on the type of agreement you have, rights and responsibilities vary. It may not always be easy to determine who is responsible for certain repairs. However, in general, landlords are responsible for:
- Heating & hot water supply
- External structure- windows, doors, drains and gutters
- Fixed electrical and gas installations (wiring, sockets)
- Basins, sinks, baths and toilets ( sanitary installations)
Tenants are usually responsible for:
- Changing and replacing light bulbs
- Periodically testing smoke alarms and changing batteries if required
- Keeping the property (and garden) clean and in good order
You must inform the landlord or agent as soon as possible if any repairs need doing. Repairs should always be reported in writing, so follow up conversations in writing or with an email, including the date, and remember to keep a copy.
If the landlord doesn’t carry out the repairs, or if problems such as: inadequate heating, blocked drains or toilets, damp and mould, or pests affect your health, it may help to take a more formal approach. You can contact the Environmental Health Department at your local council. They can carry out an assessment of hazards in privately rented accommodation under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System and can order the landlord to carry out repairs if necessary.
If you have a fixed term contract, your landlord cannot simply evict you for reporting disrepair. Seek advice from RUSU Advice Service if you are unsure of your rights.
Take a look at the Shelter Guide which provides information about the rights you have if your rented home needs repairs.