Nick Blencowe, from Citizens' Advice, talks about issues with landlords this month
- Credit: CITIZENS ADVICE
We hear from lots of people who say they have a good relationship with their landlord, but they are struggling to get repairs done.
This can be a very frustrating situation for a tenant. The law states that your landlord must provide accommodation that is safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.”
If you have problems such as electrical wiring that you think might be faulty, or there’s damp, or an infestation by pests, the landlord has a legal obligation to put things right.
Landlords are also responsible for the maintenance of the general structure, and fittings such as boilers and radiators; basins, baths and toilets; and the drains. They must also provide electric and gas safety certificates
Your landlord should give you a copy of an electrical safety certificate before you start renting a new home, check the expiry date. They must do an electrical safety check at least every five years and if you have gas installed your landlord needs to do a gas safety check every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered installer.
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Your landlord has to give you a copy of these safety reports within 28 days of the check. If there are any safety problems on the report, your landlord must get them fixed within 28 days of the safety check. You should check the report for anything that needs fixing sooner than 28 days.
You’ll be responsible for minor repairs, for example changing fuses and light bulbs. You’ll also have to fix anything you’ve damaged.
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If your home is damp, your landlord might not be responsible. It depends on what type of damp it is - and what caused it.
The first step is to contact your landlord in writing. Include photographs of the problems. Keep a record of all communications and evidence relating to the disrepair.
If that doesn’t prompt any action, Citizens Advice Rural Cambs can help with next steps. These could include contacting your local council (who will have dedicated officers for dealing with disrepair in private rented properties) or asking for a visit by the environmental health team.
Tenants can take their landlords to court to force them to carry out repairs. However, it’s worth getting some advice and thinking carefully before embarking on this route.
If you need help or support contact Citizens Advice Rural Cambs on 0808 278 7807 or visit our website: www.citizensadvicerualcambs.org.uk