In this article
• What to do if repair work causes damage to your rented home
• Tenant rights and landlord responsibilities for damage due to disrepair
• The importance of effective communication
It is common for repair work to create a bit of damage, such as a scrape or scuff on a wall, however if you don’t do anything about it, you could be held responsible and lose money from your deposit when you move out. Whether the person doing the repairs is your landlord or an experienced trades-person, mistakes can happen. While it is your landlord’s responsibility to fully restore whatever is damaged, it is your responsibility as a tenant to record and report it.
The Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) states that your landlord is responsible for ensuring that after any work has been finished in your home, it has “not caused other repair problems.” This includes making sure that “internal decorations and personal belongings have not been damaged.”
What the law means
If repair work is carried out in your home then any damage to “internal decorations should be made good.” Re-painting is the most common task after a repair and that can be anything from a lick of paint to re-doing an entire wall or whole room(s) to get the paint to match. At other times, it might be a matter of repairing cracked or broken plasterwork or other wall coverings and replacing any damaged items like carpets.
• If your landlord is doing the repair while you are home, politely point out any damage caused there and then. Take notes with dates and photos for your own records.
• You need give the landlord or tradespeople reasonable access to the property. Remember to ask to see identification cards before allowing anyone to enter your home.
• If are not at home during the repairs, check that the job has been done well, and check for any damage straight away.
• Take photos of any damage caused and send them in an email or letter to your landlord as soon as possible. Ensure the date is included in the letter and keep a copy for your own records. You can’t expect your landlord to accept that damage was caused during the repair if you don’t mention it near the time.
Polite and effective communication between you and your landlord is vital to a positive rental experience. Good landlords appreciate being kept well informed of their property while polite and effective communication will build a respectful and trusting tenant/landlord relationship.
Where to go for help
If your landlord is trying to avoid repairing the damage; if you are unable to use part or all of your home during the repair work; if the disrepair has caused damage to your property, is causing you stress or ill health, then you may be able to claim compensation. See our related articles on this topic.
Shelter has an online advice booklet about landlord repairs which is free: http://m.england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/23392/ShelterGuide_GettingRepairsDone.pdf or contact their advice service on 0808 800 4444 or the Citizens Advice Bureau http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england.htm
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our All advice category.
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