A Landlord’s Repair Responsibilities External To The Home

or call Legal HD on 0161 974 7350

broken garden shed and fence

A Landlord’s Repair Responsibilities External To The Home

or call Legal HD on 0161 974 7350

It is generally understood what a landlord’s repair responsibilities are inside the home, and therefore what a tenant can claim for and what is actually their own responsibility. However, with regards to the outside of a rented property, this is something of a grey area. In terms of legal responsibilities, Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states only that the landlord needs “to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes).” Most general assumptions therefore take that to mean the external walls and roof, the foundations, drains, guttering, external pipes and external windows and doors.

Where a grey area exists is what a landlord’s responsibility is regarding external structures such as a shed, garage or outbuilding. A recent case highlighted this problem when an elderly lady reported a leak in her garden shed, at a property she rented from a housing association. The 88-year-old lady had rented and lived in the same property for 53 years, initially renting from the council, and had experienced problems when her shed roof started leaking. This consequently damaged “hundreds of pounds worth of garden tools” and caused her physical issues when she was found “wringing wet” having to carry large and heavy buckets of water used to catch water and prevent further damage.

Landlords must protect the tenant’s safety and wellbeing

There is no specific provision made to external buildings in the legislation, however, in this case it was accepted that a garden shed was part of the property, ie. a fixture of the property that was provided to the tenant as part of the tenancy agreement. In general, the landlord is responsible for any repair that is specified in a tenancy agreement. In this case, it is possible that the lady’s garden shed was specified in the tenancy agreement, however, in the event that it wasn’t, the shed’s disrepair could be covered as a landlord responsibility by the fact that the landlord must protect the tenant’s safety and wellbeing in terms of the property’s structure, and this extends to the exterior.

The fact that the shed roof was extensively leaking and led to the lady having to transport large volumes of water, posed a safety risk, as well as damaging her belongings. The same assumption can be applied to having boundary fences repaired, for example. Even though fences are not items specially referred to in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, they are elements of external structure which could threaten the tenant’s safety and wellbeing if in disrepair.

In the case of the leaking garden shed roof, the housing association in question sent round an outsourced maintenance company who inspected the problem but didn’t repair it. The repair didn’t take place until several reports and complaints had been made. The housing association then apologised and offered a goodwill gesture, therefore effectively admitting their liability for the repair.

How Legal HD can help you with a housing disrepair claim

So to summarise, landlords are responsible for the following external repairs:

  • External walls and roof, the foundations, drains, guttering, external pipes and external windows and doors
  • Anything externally that is specified in the tenancy agreement
  • Any external fixture provided as part of the tenancy which is in disrepair and could therefore pose a risk to the tenant’s safety and wellbeing

If you are renting your property from a housing association, local authority or through social housing and have reported an external repair issue which falls into one of these categories, and it has not been resolved, contact Legal HD today and we can help you make a housing disrepair claim. We are the housing disrepair claim specialists and we can support you through this process and secure suitable compensation for your ordeal.

Andrew Dow - Legal HD Co-Founder
Peter Hartley - Legal HD Co-Founder

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Do you believe you have a case to make a housing disrepair claim? If so, contact Legal HD today via the form below or call us on 0161 974 7350 today.

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