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Question

Landlord Responsibility for Repairs and Maintenance (England) | Tenant Obligations (England) | Tenant Relations and Dealing with Complaints (England)

Locked in property

2 Dec 2017 | 1 comment

Front door to our let property has a Yale lock as well as a further lock and tenants are supplied with two front door keys. Our latest tenants, who have been at the property one month, called us 7.30 am(whilst we were on our way to work) to say they were locked in the house. To cut it short they had used the bolt lock at top of door which had snapped and therefore door unable to be open. They called locksmith – who climbed in kitchen window and he has sorted problem. My husband was trying to check what happened as property not near us. Who should foot the bill – I don’t think it should be us as we never told them about bolt lock ( to be honest didn’t know on front door) and the two locks on main part of door are sufficient for security. Also if anything damaged by entry through kitchen window are we liable or tenants?

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    On balance, we think if they were supplied a key to a lock and the lock then broke, this would be the landlord’s responsibility to repair. Section 11 Landord and Tenant Act 1985 requires the landlord to keep in repair various aspects of a property including the structure (and as a lock is a fundamental part of a door it will be classed as structure).

    A landlord is not in breach of repairing obligations within the let part of the property until they’ve received notice of the defect and then repaired with reasonable expedition. The question therefore is whether it was reasonable to first notify you then give you time to arrange for the repair. If in reality you would have called a locksmith (as opposed to attending yourself) then we don’t see there is any difference who called the locksmith.

    Although the answer to that question isn’t entirely clear, it certainly wasn’t unreasonable – given the hour – to have called a locksmith instead of yourselves.

    However, if you could show that had they called you instead, you could have attended promptly and fixed it yourself, you may have a case.

    The locksmith should have public liability insurance if anything was damaged.

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