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Question

Landlord Responsibility for Repairs and Maintenance (England) | Tenant Obligations (England)

Tenants’ repairing obligations

4 Apr 2017 | 3 comments

Hello, am I right in thinking the Tenant ought to fix a dripping tap himself? The taps were new last year, and from what he is saying, it is probably just a washer.

Answer

3 Comments

  1. guildy

    Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (which is landlords repairing obligations) provides (among others):

    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), …

    In our view the taps form part of the basin or sink and therefore repairable.

    In our view, in this modern day, most tenants wouldn’t even know where to start with a washer (if that’s what it is which would be unusual for such a new tap).

    We are landlords as well as running the Guild and have never asked a tenant to repair a tap. In fact we never even bother repairing washers anymore for several years. Whenever we used to get to the job it was always something else or there is some problem with getting the washer to properly fit. Now, we just put new taps on and have done with it for the next 10 years!

    In a case which pre-dates the above legislation, it was held that the duty to act in a “tenant like manner” (which includes doing the little jobs about the house that a reasonable tenant would do) extended to replacing a washer tap. However, as we say, that was before the above legislation and I doubt the case would apply in the modern day anyway (but it is an arguable point).

    We think another crucial point in this case is that the tap doesn’t appear to have failed due to general wear and tear. It sounds like there is some problem with the tap itself. A washer should last several years and it is arguable perhaps that the tenant should replace every 7 – 10 years or so. Not every year though.

    • Cobalt

      What about the situation where a tap is replaced for new twice in a year and the tenants still manage to break it by forcing the tap lever to turn more than it should?

      • guildy

        If you could show that they have broken it by not acting in a tenant like manner, we have no problem in requiring the tenant to carry out the repair.

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