Landlords should beware of changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
Section 11 of the Act explains whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for rental property repairs.
It states that the landlord must “keep in repair, the structure and exterior of the dwelling house” as well as any part of the property that a landlord has an “estate or interest”.
Generally, it is assumed that landlords are only responsible for the interior of the rental home. However, you should remember that outside areas could also be your responsibility.
Your duties may stretch to entrance areas, pathways, parking areas and stairwells, depending on whether these areas provide access to the property. If they do, the landlord has an estate or interest and must therefore repair any damage.
Steve Jones, Director of Rentguard Insurance, says: “With this increased level of responsibility, landlords will be under added pressure to ensure that they are providing a safe and secure environment for their tenants.”
The changes to the legislation add extra responsibility onto the landlord, but could also pose risks. Now, landlords could be sued for not completing repairs.
Additionally, landlords of flats should remember that management companies may not be liable for damage outside a block of flats.
Jones continues: “The main aspect that landlords need to consider are hazardous defects that can cause injuries to tenants, such as damaged areas that can lead to people tripping or slipping. The revision of section 11 implies that landlords will need to liaise with superior landlords and those responsible for common areas, in order to ensure that defects are repaired quickly and a high level of safety is maintained.
“Landlords must protect themselves, as tenants are not obliged to report disrepair and one of the best ways to do this is to have the right insurance.”
Take a look at our landlord insurance policies for unrivalled cover on your investments.