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Nov
15

Getting Repairs Done While Renting

 

Tenants renting unfit properties leaking pipe

A water leak can cause rife between landlord and tenant -- landlords are responsible.

Both landlords and tenants have responsibilities which are usually set out in the Tenancy Agreement. Tenants have the right to live in an accommodation that is in good repair and landlords have the right to have their accommodations taken care of by their tenants.

There are several things you can do in order to get repairs done while living in a rental unit. The most obvious and least likely to be problematic would be to ask your landlord and for your landlord to agree to the repair. Unfortunately not all requests are met with positive responses from their landlords which usually means that you’ll have to go to different lengths in order to get the repairs done.

Of course the local authorities will undoubtedly step in if the property is in such disrepair as to cause a health hazard, such as a leaky roof or bug infested property, or if the condition is such that it is causing a ‘nuisance’ to other tenants or properties in the area. There are several authorities that can be contacted if it’s suspected that an unsafe or unhealthy situation exists, for example the Environmental Health Department. These agencies would demand that repairs be made by the landlord within a specific time frame, which would ensure that it was not left unattended.

Then there’s the “Right to Repair” scheme which is available in England, Wales and Scotland. Under this scheme if you are a local authority tenant you can ask your landlord for a different contractor if the repairs are not carried out under the prescribed time line. You can use this scheme if you have any emergency repairs that would cost up to £250, for which you could claim a compensation of £50.

Also in England and Wales there could be a possibility of getting Help with Home Improvements. The local authorities would be able to give you more information as to whom and how to qualify for such repairs. Although the law prohibits any form of discrimination, each local authority will have its own rules. For instance one might have a rule that says you can only get a grant or loan for the repairs if your savings is under a certain limit. Of course because you are renting, you will need to have your landlords approval for any repair or improvement before the local authority will even look at your application. If it is a reasonable request, or if you are disabled and the improvement would improve your way of life, your landlord will most likely be told he must comply and have the repair or improvement taken care of at his expense.

As was stated the first action that should be taken should be to negotiate with your landlord. If you try this and your landlord refuses, you could contact your Local Government Ombudsman. This should be considered only as a last resort as it can take a great deal of time for the Ombudsman to investigate your complaint and to have the local authority advised of the outcome.

Make sure that when making a request of your landlord that you are being reasonable in your expectations. Most landlords will consider these requests as beneficial to keeping their properties in good condition and will have most repairs and improvements done in a timely fashion.

 

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