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Understanding Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985

10 November 2021

Mark Walton

When you rent a property, your landlord has a standard duty of care that they are obligated to carry out, ensuring the property is habitable and fit for purpose. Failure to adhere to these duties can lead to various landlord and tenant disputes arising, and legal action may be required in order to settle them. The Landlord and Tenants Act 1985 applies to short leases for residential properties and any tenancies agreed for a period of fewer than seven years, and covers obligations that both tenants and landlords must adhere to. When legal issues arise, it is recommended that you seek the help of a qualified solicitor as quickly as possible.

Section 11 of the Act states that, during the lease period, a landlord must maintain the exterior and structure of their properties. Failure to do so could lead to a wide range of property disputes, so it is important to understand your rights or obligations, as a tenant or a landlord, before making a claim. Here at Taylor Bracewell, our residential property solicitors can provide expert legal advice to help build your case, implementing effective dispute resolution to help you reach a solution. Section 11 is an important piece of legislature that both landlords and tenants could benefit from understanding, as it could help you avoid legal issues in the future...

 

What Does it Outline?

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985 outlines the obligations upon landlords to carry out basic repairs during a tenancy agreement. Unless the tenancy has a fixed term of seven years or more, or it started before October 24th 1961, these obligations must be carried out. The property must be fit for habitation and be free of any hazards that could cause personal injury, as well as include appropriate heat, light and sanitation provisions. The fixtures and fittings that landlords must keep in good repair include, but are not limited to:

  • Running water and heating systems. Gas boilers must be checked annually, and heating systems must be checked every five years
  • Electricity and appliances. Wiring, light fittings and sockets must be maintained and checked every five years, and if the landlord has provided a washing machine or fridge, for example, it is their responsibility to maintain and repair them
  • Sanitation. Toilets and drainage systems must be maintained
  • Gas appliances, such as pipes and flues, must be in perfect working conditions.

Any faults that are reported to the landlord must be acknowledged and action must be taken. No matter whether you are a landlord or tenant, lawyers who specialise in property disputes can analyse your claim and build a case. To find out more about our landlord and tenant disputes solicitors, please visit us here.

 

A Landlord’s Obligations

When it comes to repairs, landlords must maintain the structure and exterior of the property, such as roof tiles and drains, as well as the internal walls. Also, the installations of electricity, water and gas must be in optimal working order, and everything must have been in good repair when the tenancy began. However, there are some circumstances when the landlord is not responsible for repairs, such as:

  • When the tenant is liable for the damage caused
  • When repairs are needed for an item the tenant has brought into the property themselves.

Once the tenant notifies the landlord that repairs are needed, they should respond promptly. The landlord must be granted a “right of entry” to view the condition of the property at a reasonable time and give 24 hours’ notice. If the repair is the landlord’s responsibility, it must be repaired within a reasonable time; if the damage endangers the inhabitants of the property, repairs must be carried out as a matter of urgency. If your landlord has not responded to your request, our property dispute solicitors here in Doncaster and Sheffield can assist, with years of experience in settling landlord and tenant disputes. 

 

A Tenants Obligations

Despite the obligations placed upon a landlord, tenants are expected to act in an appropriate manner when occupying the property. They must take care and carry out everyday maintenance, and not contribute to the deterioration of any part of the property. Obligations include, but are not limited to:

  • Proper use of electrical appliances
  • Keeping the property clean
  • Trying to ensure that drains aren’t blocked
  • Following rules on smoking and pets

Landlord and tenant disputes are common; from issues concerning rent arrears to lease renewals, it is recommended that you seek legal advice to settle these disputes efficiently and effectively. To find out more, or to receive a consultation, please fill out our online inquiry form here.