From water leaks to electrical faults, repairs to rental properties are inevitable from time to time. While most repairs can be carried out around your tenants with little disruption when it comes to major repairs, it may be necessary for them to move out – but as a private landlord, is it your responsibility to rehouse your tenants?
It is a landlord’s responsibility to provide safe and habitable living conditions for your tenants. If repairs need to be made to the rented property that renders it uninhabitable, you should provide alternative accommodation, but it is not a legal obligation.
Let’s take a look at what that means in more detail, along with the rights your tenants have when it comes to repair and renovation.
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What should you do before making major repairs to your rental property?
Communication is key when it comes to repairs. Talk to your tenant and let them know the anticipated timeline. Make sure they understand the scope of the work, how long it is expected to take, and how it may impact them.
Providing this information upfront can help manage their expectations and make the process smoother for everyone involved.
Do I need to provide alternative accommodation?
If the repairs will cause significant disruption or render the property uninhabitable for a period of time, you should consider offering your tenant alternative accommodation.
This could be in the form of a hotel or a rental property nearby. While this is not a legal requirement, it can be a gesture of goodwill and may help to maintain a positive relationship with your tenant.
Another option is to negotiate a reduction in rent for the period of time that the repairs are being carried out. Again, this is not a legal requirement, but it can be a way to offset the inconvenience to your tenant and ensure that they are not paying full rent for a property that is not fully functional.
Does a tenancy agreement cover repairs and accommodation?
A well-drafted tenancy agreement should typically include provisions related to repairs and accommodation. While specific terms can vary, a comprehensive tenancy agreement helps define the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, e.g. who is responsible for various types of repairs.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
Government guidelines state that landlords should keep a rented property “safe”, in “good condition” and that their properties should “meet safety standards”. The relevant clause of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that a private landlord is responsible for the repair and upkeep of the property:
(a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),
(b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and 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
(c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.
If the repairs are due to a breach of this section, e.g. faulty wiring leading to a fire, then you will be liable for the costs of alternative accommodation. However, if you have complied, then you may not be responsible for the costs.
What rights do tenants have during repairs?
If the rented property becomes uninhabitable during repairs, your tenants are entitled to temporary accommodation, although you, as the landlord, are not legally required to provide it.
The local authority has a duty to rehome the tenant in this scenario. However, it’s important to note that if your tenants report you to the local authority, they may start enforcement action.
How long does a landlord have to carry out repairs?
There’s no specific law on how quickly a landlord should carry out minor repairs. But common sense should dictate that in an urgent situation, e.g. a gas leak, the repairs should be carried out promptly.
Does landlord’s insurance cover temporary accommodation?
Typically, landlord insurance does not cover temporary accommodation, unless there is a valid claim making the property uninhabitable, such as a burst pipe flooding the kitchen.
Landlord insurance primarily focuses on protecting the property owner’s interests, such as the building structure, fixtures, and liability coverage. However, it could be added to a policy, and it’s essential to review the specific terms and coverage details, as they can vary.
To learn about what can be covered in a landlord’s insurance policy, check out our information blog here.
Does landlord insurance cover personal property?
No, tenants are responsible for obtaining their own contents insurance to protect their personal belongings. This should be clearly stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
Contents insurance can also help tenants cover the costs of temporary accommodation, relocation, and potential damage to their possessions.
Talk to Glowsure about your landlord insurance requirements
At Glowsure Insurance Brokers, we support landlords in finding the right insurance at the right price. You can rely on us for professional guidance on the commercial insurance market and expect friendly and high-quality service from our close-knit team.
In summary, while landlords are not legally required to rehouse tenants when they make repairs, most consider it a reasonable act of goodwill.
Good communication, providing alternative accommodation, or a reduction in rent can help to maintain a positive relationship with your tenant and ensure that they are not unduly inconvenienced during the repair process.
If the repairs are due to a breach of section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, then you may be considered at fault and, therefore, could be liable to cover the cost of alternative accommodation, although you still don’t have to provide it.
Remember, landlord-tenant situations can be complex. This blog article is merely a guide, and it is essential to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with the law and to understand the specific rights and obligations in your situation.