I have a long lease. Can I force my landlord to repair my property?
Unless the lease is for less than seven years, the law imposes very limited statutory obligations on a landlord to repair a property. The relationship between you and your landlord is governed by your lease. This is a contractual document and will set out what your respective obligations and responsibilities are regarding the repair and maintenance of the property. Therefore, it is essential that you read your lease carefully to establish who is responsible for which parts of the property.
If, having considered your lease you believe that your landlord is liable for certain repairs then it is important that you give him or her notice of what repairs are needed and why you consider them to be their responsibility. Ideally the notice should be in writing giving as much detail as possible.
If the landlord does not respond or disagrees that the repairs are necessary, you need to be aware of what your potential remedies are:-
- You can bring a claim in the County Court for compensation for the breach of the landlord’s repairing obligations. In reality the amount of compensation is likely to be the cost of the repairs themselves. If additional damage has been caused, or you have incurred other losses directly as a result of their failure to do the work when requested, you may be able to recover those sums too.
- The County Court can also order that the landlord carries out the repairs. This is known as an order for specific performance. However, the court is only likely to order specific performance where the breach is very serious and it considers that awarding compensation will not be adequate to remedy the problem.
- Self-help – where you carry out the repairs and then recover the cost from the Landlord. Firstly you should check your lease to make sure there is nothing to prevent you from doing this. Then you should obtain at least 3 quotes which should be sent to the landlord. The landlord should be given a period of time to remedy the problems and told that if the repairs are not carried out then you will accept the cheapest of the three quotes and arrange to have the work carried out yourself. If the Landlord refuses to reimburse you, you would have to bring a claim in the County Court to recover your outlay.
Unfortunately, there is no quick remedy to force a reluctant landlord to carry out repairs and it can be very frustrating, not to mention costly to resolve matters. If you are in any doubt as to whether you are entitled to hold the landlord responsible for repairs, you should seek legal advice on the wording of your lease.
If you would like assistance in this regard, please contact our experienced property litigation solicitors by telephone 01202 525333 or by email email@example.com.