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Landlord obligations

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. Section 11 of the Act sets out who is responsible for repairing a property whilst it is being rented.

The Act states that the landlord is responsible:
  • To keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling, including drains, gutters and external pipes,
  • To keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity, and
  • To keep in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water .
    (Section 11, Landlord and Tenant Act, 1985)

The landlord is required to keep the property in good repair throughout the tenancy, so that it remains up to the standard it was in at the start of the agreement. If the property was not in good repair at the beginning of the tenancy the landlord may be required to repair these aspects. However, "to keep in repair" does not refer to the landlord having to make significant improvements to the property, to suit the tenant. Tenants have a responsibility for living in a 'tenant like manner'


The landlord is responsible for maintaining installations for the supply of:

  • Water

  • Gas; to including providing a valid CP12 Gas Safety Certificate by a Gas Safe engineer annually

  • Electricity

  • Sanitation

  • Space heating and heating water

This would include cisterns, radiators, boilers, heating ducts, water tanks, baths, sinks and all the pipes for gas (where relevant) and water as well as electrical sockets and wiring throughout the property.

Exterior and Structure

The landlord is responsible for the exterior of the property and any structural problems to the property which may occur. This could include damage to :

  • The roof

  • The guttering

  • Drains and exterior pipes

  • Exterior walls

  • Windows and doors (only as a result of structural problems, not damage by the tenant)

The landlord is not required to repair any interior problems such as internal plaster, internal doors or skirting boards, unless these are affected as a result of the exterior of the property not being in a good repair. In these circumstances the landlord would be required to ensure these aspects were restored to good working order, had they been affected by the poor exterior of the property.

The landlord would not be held responsible for any breakages caused by the tenant not abiding by the forms of the agreement and not using the property in a 'tenant-like manner'. For example, a broken window would not be the landlord’s responsibility to repair.

Furniture and Equipment

Equipment and furniture supplied by a landlord should be safe and in good working order. Upholstery items should be fire resistant and carry the fire safety standards label.

If a piece of furniture is no longer working or unfit to use as a result of everyday wear and tear, then the landlord is required to replace or repair the item. The unsafe equipment or furniture should be reported to the landlord, who will then decide if it is worth repairing or if it would be more viable to replace the item. The landlord cannot charge the tenant or withhold the deposit for items which are unusable due to everyday wear and tear.

However, if a tenant has damaged a piece of furniture or equipment through improper use or carelessness then the landlord is allowed to charge the tenant for the damage or withhold all or part of the deposit.

Electrical Appliances

All electrical equipment provided by a landlord must be safe and in good working order. The landlord is responsible for repairing any broken or faulty electrical items listed on the inventory that they have provided as part of the tenancy . However, the tenancy agreement may state that the landlord is only responsible for certain electrical appliances, so it is important that the tenant is familiar with both the inventory and terms of the agreement. Sandersons would encourage all landlords to opt for an independent inventory and check in to ensure the contents are accurately recorded and agreed by both parties. The tenant is always responsible for repairing any electrical items which they own and have brought with them to the property.


The tenant would not normally be required to re-decorate the property at the end of the tenancy unless stated in the agreement. If the property’s interior decoration had been damaged beyond fair wear and tear the tenant may be required to re-decorate the property, or the landlord may retain some of the deposit to cover re-decoration costs.

If a tenant wants to re-decorate the property they should always seek the landlord's permission first and find out what changes they are entitled to make. If any damage is caused whilst decorating (e.g. paint splashes to surfaces, fixtures, fittings) or it is carried out to an unprofessional standard, the tenant would be responsible for any remedial work required. 

If the property is in need of decoration as a result of normal use and wear and tear then the landlord is responsible for re-decorating and should not retain any of the tenant’s deposit.

Communal Areas and Gardens

Where the tenant has chosen a property with a garden and has exclusive use of that area they are responsible for maintaining it, regardless of whether or not maintenance equipment has been provided. With regard to communal areas such as the entrance to a block of flats, the landlord would normally be responsible to maintain these areas of the property. Typically, the landlord would have a shared responsibility for these areas with the other flat owners.

Damp and condensation

If a property is damp as a result of leaking pipes, a damaged roof or wall or an existing damp-proof course which is no longer effective, then the landlord would be responsible to carry out the necessary repairs.

Dampness in a property may be caused by condensation due to a lack of availability of heating, insulation or ventilation and in these circumstances the landlord would be required to resolve these problems. Although it may appear damp, it is often as a result of condensation through tenants not drying clothes properly, failing to use kitchen extraction when cooking or due to improper use of heating and windows. In this instance, the landlord would not be responsible for remedial work and re-decoration as a result of the condensation dampness. For properties managed by Sandersons, frequent property visits would highlight any early signs of condensation enabling us to give advice around managing ventilation etc in the home to prevent further damage and avoid the need to make deductions from the tenants deposit.