It’s always frustrating when something goes wrong in your rented accommodation and you need to get it fixed. But it’s ten times worse when your landlord refuses to fix it even when it is their responsibility.
Thankfully, most tenants have responsible landlords who always fix things when it is their duty to do so. But if you are unfortunate enough to have a landlord who will not fix a problem, what should you do? Here’s a guide to help you out.
Find Out Who Is Responsible
The first thing you need to do is find out who is responsible for the repairs. In most situations, your landlord will be responsible, but the tenancy agreement should make it clear. If you break something (e.g. you smash a window by accident), it is probably your responsibility.
Write to Your Landlord or Estate Agent
Once you know that your landlord is responsible for the repairs, the best thing to do is let them know about the problem as soon as you can. They are not required to take any action until they know about the problem.
Write a letter or send them an email. If everything goes through an estate agent, write to them instead. You can also phone them to let them know about the problem and tell them you have sent a letter.
The reason you should always write is that if there is a dispute later on if the repairs are not carried out, you can prove that you told your landlord.
Also, keep a record of any contact you have with your landlord, including copies of letters, emails, dates your landlord visited the property, times of phone calls and what you discussed.
Keep Records of Everything
Just as you should keep records of your contacts with your landlord regarding the issue, always keep records of anything else related to the repairs. This can come in handy should you want to complain later on.
This can include photos of the problem, receipts for any expenses you incur, details of any items that are damaged (e.g. personal items damaged by damp) as well as any pest control measures required.
Make sure you also keep records of anything related to your health, like doctors’ notes, should the issue be affecting your health.
If your landlord does not arrange to make the repairs, you will need to be persistent. Contact them again, or contact the estate agent if you operate through them. Use the complaints procedure of the estate agent to encourage them to take action.
Don’t Stop Paying Your Rent
Tempting as it may be to stop paying your rent, don’t do this. This is illegal and will only make problems worse. Your landlord could even take steps to evict you.
Complain to Your Council
If your landlord refuses to fix the problem, you may want to complain to your council. If it is affecting your health, you could complain to the council’s environmental health department, who may then inspect the property. They may also tell the landlord that they need to carry out the repairs.
Paying for Minor Repairs
In some instances, you may be able to arrange to pay for the cost of the repairs yourself and then deduct this from your rent. This saves the landlord the time needed to sort out the repairs. Just make sure you get any agreement in writing, and this is only appropriate where the repairs required are minor.
Take Legal Action
If your landlord simply refuses to carry out their responsibilities, you may want to resort to legal action. By taking your claim to court, your landlord can be ordered to carry out the work. They may also have to pay compensation if it is due.
Act Fast when Repairs Are Needed
The best advice is to always inform your landlord as soon as possible and to be persistent. It is always better to get it sorted out without having to resort to legal action. Whatever you do, remember to stick to the rules and to avoid simply refusing to pay your rent to avoid the problem getting out of hand.