A landlord phoned this week with a question relating to preparing their property for winter. With temperatures dropping, this landlord said that their tenant had got in touch with them, demanding that they visited the property everyday to check if the steps needed de-icing.
The landlord had never encountered this request from a tenant before, but was sure that it was not his responsibility to do this. He phoned our advice team asking what he should tell the tenant.
The response from our Landlord Advice Team
No, it is NOT a landlords responsibility to de-ice steps.
Questions from landlords about winter are common for our landlord advice team at this time of year. We told this landlord that as a general rule, landlords are not expected to do any of the little jobs that could arise in a property. These are jobs that a person would normally do if they owned their own home-things like changing light bulbs and unblocking a sink.
This is because they fall under what Lord Denning called ‘acting in a tenant-like manner’
This means it is the tenants responsibility to de-ice the steps.
It’s a small job, it’s not technical and it’s performed up and down the country by people every year without incident or complaint.
What is a landlord responsible for?
Where the landlord should be careful however, particularly with icy conditions is that they do have repairing obligations under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
In particular they are under an obligation to maintain the exterior of the property including the guttering, and make sure that the drains are in good working order. If the guttering or drains are broken and causing the slippery conditions, then the landlord should fix it immediately as they may well be found liable if the tenant is injured.
Ahead of the festive season, read these twelve top tips for landlords this festive season, from checking up on vulnerable tenants to preparing your property for winter weather.