Ask the Legal Expert: Landlord and Tenant FAQs (2)

Ask the Legal Expert: Landlord and Tenant FAQs (2)

Ask the Legal Expert was launched last year by Clapham & Collinge LLP in relation to topical employment law questions. This series of articles helped deal with various employment law topics and issues in general terms. The Litigation Team are now shifting its focus to Landlord and Tenant Law following the relaxing of restrictions on evictions earlier this year.

Should you require any more specific assistance, please contact us on

I have issues of disrepair at my rented property. What can I do?

Before deciding what to do, the first thing for you to consider is whether your Landlord is responsible for the repairs. The tenancy agreement between you and your Landlord should specify who is responsible for repairing the property. Usually, the Landlord will be responsible for the structure and the Tenant for the interior but it will depend on the contract terms so it is important to read your tenancy agreement first.

Should you consider the disrepair issues to be your Landlord's responsibility, it is important to report the problem to your Landlord promptly and allow a reasonable amount of time for the repair work to be completed.

If your Landlord fails to repair the issue within a reasonable period of time, they may be in breach of their obligations under the tenancy agreement. If so, it may be appropriate to consider taking legal action to compel your Landlord to complete the necessary repairs.

Issuing court proceedings should always be considered a last resort. There are several alternative causes of action to exhaust prior to doing so, such a mediation or a round table meeting. We can advise you on the options available to you based on your specific circumstances.

I have not informed my Landlord of the issue. How should I go about this?

You should report the issue to your Landlord in writing as soon as possible so you have evidence to demonstrate the date you reported the problem.

Naturally, your Landlord or their contractor will require access to the property to see what work is required and to carry out the repair work. Usually, they will be required to give you at least 24 hours' notice of their attendance, but you should check the specific terms of your tenancy agreement.

What can the court do?

If your Landlord fails to rectify the issues, you may be able to seek an order from the court as follows:

  • An Order for specific performance- an Oder compelling the Landlord to perform their contractual obligations and complete the required repairs.
  • A mandatory injunction- where the court will direct the Landlord to perform specific repair works.
  • Compensation- a financial remedy to put you back in the financial position you would have been in had your Landlord made the repairs when they should have done.

There are not issues of disrepair at my rented property, however I consider that the property is not fit for human habitation. What can I do?

On 20 March 2019, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (the "Act") came into force. The purpose of the Act is to make sure rented houses and flats are 'fit for human habitation'.

It is a Landlord's responsibility to ensure that your rented property is 'fit for human habitation'. This means that they must ensure the property is safe, healthy and free from things which could cause you or others serious harm

Similar to housing disrepair claims, under the Act, the court can make an Order compelling your Landlord to perform specific works or award compensation due to the risk of harm caused by the condition of the property.

There are some exemptions to the use of the Act in bring proceedings against your Landlord. Whether you have a potential claim under the Act will depend on your specific circumstances. We have a range of experts who can advise you on whether you have a potential claim under the Act on the basis that the property is not 'fit for human habitation'.

Our dedicated team is on hand to provide expert advice to you in connection with Landlord and Tenant Law. For more information on the Landlord and Tenant services we offer, please visit our Residential Landlord and Tenant or Commercial Landlord and Tenant web pages.

If you need further information or require legal advice on any of the points discussed above please contact our expert litigation team today. Call 01603 693500 or email us using 'Make an enquiry' form on our website.

We offer telephone and video appointments through various applications including FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom. Face-to-face meetings are available by appointment only at our Norwich, North Walsham and Sheringham offices.

*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.