What is disrepair?
The legal definition of disrepair is there is damage that needs to be put right and it might be you or the landlord who is repsonsible.
The work must be a repair and not simply as improvement. For example, replacing a sash window that is not broken with double glazing is an improvement but not a repair.
Your landlord is required to keep your home in good repair and has the following important obligations:
- to keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair, including: drains, gutters, roof, foundations and external pipes;
- to keep in proper working order the water, gas, electricity and sanitation, including: basins, sinks, baths, toilets and drains;
- to make sure any heating system provided is in good working order.
For tenancies that started on or after 15/01/1989, these repair obligations extend to the common parts of the building as hallways and stairwells.
The landlord will take repairing obligation only comes into operation when there has been damage to the structure and exterior of the property and which needs to be made good.
The landlord only has to fix the immediate problem. For example, if your roof is old and leaking, then your landlord only needs to patch it up and not replace it.
The landlord must to keep the premises in repair, even if the premises were in disrepair at the start of the tenancy. The landlord also owes a duty to any person who might reasonably be affected by any defects and anyone who might be affected while the works are carried out.
If the property is furnished then it must be fit for living in. If the disrepair is dangerous, if you smell gas or there is dangerous or faulty wiring or any other danger, contact your landlord and the relevant emergency services immediately.
If it is not an emergency and the disrepair is not dangerous, then before complaining it is important to be aware that certain tenancy agreements can be ended quite easily.
Ultimately the decision of whether it is actually disrepair lies with the courts and will not necessarily be in disrepair just because you think it is.