If you're not happy with the condition of your accommodation and the landlord isn't dealing with it, check your tenancy agreement first to see who is responsible for what. Both landlords and tenants have responsibilities with regard to repairs and this should be stated in the agreement. However, there are some repairs that are the landlord's legal responsibility, which cannot be passed to you unless you caused the damage.
Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 your landlord is responsible for certain repairs, including:
- electrical wiring
- gas pipes and boilers
- heating and hot water
- chimneys and ventilation
- sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains
- common areas including entrance halls and stairways
- the structure and exterior of the building, including walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
Your landlord must also ensure the house is fit to live in. Here are some examples of what could make your house unfit to live in:
- gas safety risks
- unsafe electrics
- fire safety issues
- damp or lack of heating
- rats, mice or other pests
- structural or internal disrepair
- unsanitary toilets, bathrooms or kitchens
Mould and Damp
You are expected to ventilate and heat your home properly so that damp doesn't build up. Some ways of reducing the risk of mould include:
- keep rooms at a minimum of 15 degrees
- use extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens
- close internal doors when you cook or shower
- leave a gap between furniture and external walls
- dry clothes outdoors or use a vented tumble dryer
- open bedroom windows for 5-10 minutes when you get up
You can still get damp and mould through no fault of your own, for example if the house is poorly insulated or there are problems with the heating. Shelter has more information about the causes of damp and mould on their website. The local councils' landlord accreditation scheme also produced a booklet for landlords that includes measures they should be taking and tips for how to clean mould.
If you have damp or mould, the landlord should fix it if it's either:
- caused by a repair problem such as a leak, rising damp, broken heating systems, rotten window frames; or
- affecting your health and safety
Remember that mould is a health concern, especially if you have an underlying condition like asthma, and the council can send someone from Environmental Health for an inspection.
What You Can Do
If your house is in disrepair and it's the landlord's responsibility, you should inform your landlord as soon as possible. We do not advise you to just stop paying rent - you would be in breach of contract and the landlord can take you to court to claim the rent due to the end of the fixed term, along with interest and any costs they incurred while pursuing you.
If your landlord isn't responding or is refusing to fix the problem, you can visit our Disrepair page for advice on further letters you can send and who you can contact. You can also read more about repairs on Shelter's website.
Living On Campus?
You can report problems on KLE and if you're not satisfied you can make a complaint. Information about the university's complaints process is here and you're welcome to get in touch with ASK for support with the process.