Repairs in private rented accommodation
Unless the tenancy has a fixed term of more than seven years, the landlord is responsible under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 for repairs to:
- The structure and exterior of the dwelling.
- Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations in the dwelling.
- Heating and hot water installations.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS is a method of risk assessment. It replaces the fitness test under the Housing Act 1985 as the statutory minimum standard for housing.
The new system is premised on the principle that any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor. Risks are assessed on the basis of the likelihood of an occurrence that could cause harm and the probable severity of the outcome, if it did happen.
To uphold the health and safety of tenants the HHSRS insists that:
- A dwelling should be free from unnecessary and avoidable hazards.
- Where hazards are necessary or unavoidable, they should be made as safe as reasonably possible.
If a hazard scores high enough on the HHSRS assessment then it will be categorised as a Category 1 Hazard and the Local Authority has a duty to take action.
The Decent Homes Standard
The government announced that by 2010 all homes must be of a decent standard. The Private Accommodation and Standards Team will work with all landlords to bring their properties up to the Decent Home Standard.
The Decent Home Standard has four criteria:
- It meets the current statutory minimum standard for housing (i.e. the dwelling should be free of Category 1 hazards under the HHSRS).
- It is in a reasonable state of repair.
- It has reasonably modern facilities and services.
- It provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.
I need to carry out repairs but I have tenants?
There is an implied term in tenancy agreements under the Rent Act 1977 and the Housing Act 1988 that the tenant will let the landlord have access to the property, and all reasonable facilities to carry out repairs which he or she is entitled to do.
The landlord or an agent authorised by the tenant may, at reasonable times of the day, enter the property to inspect its condition and state of repair. The landlord must give the tenant 24 hours notice in writing before the landlord carries out such an inspection.