The UK has been battered by some Storm Dennis this week, with many parts of the country experiencing incredibly strong winds.
One RLA member gave our advice team a call this week, because heavy rainfall had meant that several things needed repairing at his rental property.
He had several properties in his portfolio, and his query came down to how to respond to these repair requests and where the responsibility lies for sorting out the repair works; himself or his tenant.
Gutters blocked by leaves
The first part of the query that landlord had was about the gutters at a terraced property the landlord owned, which had been blocked by leaves and debris and the excess rainwater was overflowing.
The responsibility for this is laid out in section 11 (1) (a) of The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which states;
to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes)
This puts the responsibility of the gutters being maintained squarely at the landlord’s door.
The question was raised of the tenant’s responsibility to live in a tenant-like manner, which although could be construed to include cleaning out gutters, it is rarely advisable. Acting in a tenant-like manner is constrained to carrying out normal works that are within reason. Should a tenant not have the equipment to carry out the work safely e.g. ladder with good support, then it may be considered unreasonable to ask. In any case, the landlord is obliged by the law to carry out this kind of work regardless.
There is also a risk that the landlord’s insurance may be invalidated if basic maintenance work like this was not done. In these circumstances, it is always best to err on the side of caution and make sure the works are done and you have a record of them being done. Sometimes it is better to take control!
Leaky roof in purpose built block of flats
The member then raised a second query relating to a flat the member owned on the top floor in a purpose-built block. The block had a flat roof and the water hadn’t drained away and was beginning to leak through to the member’s property. We advised that the external structure of the building was the responsibility of the freeholder through their management company and advised the member to report it to their management company.
Advice team leader, Maria Sheldon, had this to say “Heavy rainfall often exposes faults with leaks and drainage and landlords should take the opportunity when bad weather comes to inspect their properties where possible, as it may reveal some defects that wouldn’t otherwise get picked up and may lead to such faults being found earlier. These checks should form part of a comprehensive plan for maintenance of the premises.”
- Read our article about what landlords can do to prepare for a storm and what to do once a storm has passed here.
Stormy weather? Remember the importance of insurance!