Landlords and tenants have battled over maintenance issues for decades. It’s a constant back and forth of emails, phone calls and, in some cases, a lawsuit. After hearing the horror stories about landlords, some tenants are scared to report maintenance issues. They don’t want to get evicted, replaced by another tenant or given a bad tenant reference. A bad reference could impact their chances of securing another property down the line.
Many tenants resort to fixing damages by themselves and spend more money on their homes. In 2017, Citizens Advice found that a whopping 1.85 million UK households wait longer than they should for a repair to be carried out. In some cases, a repair can be as simple as a leaky tap or broken light. Other times, it can impact the health and safety of the tenant and lead to long term illness. Repairs can range from broken windows to dangerous electrical appliances.
Why do tenants avoid reporting maintenance issues?
Renters are often scared of how their landlord will react if they report the maintenance issue. Citizen Advice found that half of UK renters are scared their landlord will increase their rent if they consistently complain about maintenance. Furthermore, nearly three in five said they didn’t want to spark an issue with their landlord in case of eviction.
Renters are scared of losing their homes and put up with unsuitable living conditions as a result. In 2016, Citizens Advice helped private renters with more than 16,000 problems. Many of these properties were in poor condition, and the tenants clearly had grounds to make a reasonable request.
A reasonable request refers to anything that you can’t fix yourself. You can file this request to your landlord and give them ample time to carry out the repair. These requests can be fixed within 24 hours and for moderate repairs within a month or so for serious cases.
You can obtain a notice from your local authority’s Environmental Health Team to make sure your landlord does the repair. This will also protect you from getting evicted from the property. It’s also important to make sure your landlords are up to date on safety tests and certificates, such as the EICR London certificate for passing electrical safety!
How can renters feel more at ease?
If you feel stressed about your rental property, you could consider moving elsewhere. This isn’t always an option for renters, and the next landlord might be just as bad as the current one. Take out tenants’ insurance as a safety net and to give yourself some peace of mind.
It’s important to keep a record of the repairs you have requested. You should file evidence of the repairs, such as photographs of a leaking tap, broken window and damaged floorboards. Keep a record of all conversations with your landlord, the date they occurred and anything they agreed to do. You need to keep copies of all digital communication as well. If they refuse to do the repair, you can use this evidence to back yourself up and, potentially, talk to your local authority.
Ask a professional for advice on how to handle your landlord and poor living situation.