Repairs to your home




Sorting out repairs is one of the most common problems in privately rented homes. You should know which repairs you are responsible for, which repairs your landlord must do, and how to report problems.


Your landlord is legally responsible for repairs to the structure of the building: the roof, windows, doors, drains, gutters, baths, sinks, toilets, heating, hot water, damp and general building repairs. They are also responsible for ensuring that the property has a supply of services such as electricity, gas (where it's available) water and sewers. Landlords must also repair damage that was caused by someone with no connection to you - for example during a break-in or vandalism.


As the tenant you are responsible for minor jobs, like replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink. You must also repair damage that you or your visitors have caused.



Reporting repairs

When a repair needs doing, tell the landlord as soon as possible. You can do this by either by writing to them, emailing or phoning them. If you phone them it is a good idea for you to record the date that you made the call.


You have to give the landlord a reasonable time to do the repair. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take; it depends on the urgency of the job. A blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window for example. If the repair isn't done in a reasonable time, even after reminding the landlord, do not stop paying your rent. You should contact your local Housing Options Team for help - Housing Options, 17 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1LF. Tel: 01792 533100.



Giving your landlord and their contractors access to your home to carry out repairs

Your landlord has the right to come into your home to check what needs repairing - but they must give you at least 24 hours notice, and must come at an agreed time (although you'll obviously want them to come as quickly as possible if it's an emergency job).


It is important that when you agree a time for the landlord or contractors to visit your home to either inspect a problem or to carry out repairs, that someone is at the property to allow access to your home.



Health and safety

The property you rent must meet certain health and safety standards by law. If your landlord doesn't meet these standards they are risking your safety. If you think the condition of the home you rent is putting your health and safety at risk and the landlord has failed to take action to repair the property you should contact City and County of Swansea, Housing Benefit Section, Civic Centre, Swansea, SA1 3SN. Tel:01792 636000.


If the Council visit your home and consider that its condition is a risk to your health and safety they will ask the landlord to take action to repair the problem. If the landlord doesn't carry out the repair the Council might serve a notice on the landlord and if the landlord still fails to act they are considered to be committing an offence and could have legal action taken against them.



Gas safety

The law says that gas appliances must be properly installed and maintained to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The landlord must get all gas appliances including central heating systems, heaters, fires, cookers and gas pipework and flues checked once a year by a Gas Safe registered installer. They must have a certificate of compliance to show that this has been done.



Electrical safety

The landlord should ensure that the electrical installation in a property is in a safe and satisfactory condition; it is also an offence for a landlord to supply unsafe electrical equipment. Although there is no legal responsibility on the landlord to test the electrical installation and electrical equipment, it is good practice for a competent electrician to check appliances once a year and have the electrical installation inspected every 5 years.



Fire safety

The landlord must keep to specific laws about fire safety if they rent out a property that's occupied by more than one household - known as a 'house in multiple occupation' (HMO). An HMO could be: a house split into separate bedsits; a shared house or flat where tenants have separate tenancy agreements; a hostel; or a bed and breakfast hotel which is not just for holidays.


HMOs must have adequate and well-maintained fire alarms, extinguishers and fire blankets, fire doors, fire escapes and escape routes, smoke or heat alarms.


We strongly recommend that even if you don't live in an HMO you ask your landlord to install smoke alarms in your home, and that they are checked regularly.



Furniture

All furniture (except furniture made before 1950) included in the accommodation must meet all the current fire resistance requirements and carry permanent labels confirming this. This applies to anything which is upholstered or has a filling - like sofas, armchairs, mattresses, pillows, padded headboards and cushions.


If you don't understand all of the terms in a tenancy agreement you've been asked to sign - don't worry. You can get free, independent advice from:


  • Your local Housing Options Team - Housing Options, 17 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1LF. Tel: 01792 533100
  • Shelter Cymru by calling 08450 755005
  • Your local Citizens Advice Bureau - Swansea Neath Port Talbot Citizens Advice Bureau, Llys Glas, Pleasant Street, Swansea, SA1 5DS. Tel:08444 77 20 20