So you’ve found a house, you’ve moved in, you’re all sorted. Great! But it’s good to know what to do if you ever encounter damages or disrepair and how to prevent common problems like damp and mould.

Disrepair, Repairs – The Basics, Getting Repairs Done.

To understand your legal rights as a tenant regarding disrepair, you need to know what kind of agreement you have with your landlord. Do you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or are you a Licensee? An Assured Shorthold Tenancy should entitle you to a property that is safe. Your landlord has a legal responsibility to:

  • Ensure all gas appliances are serviced and checked every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer (you have the right to see a copy of the gas service record)
  • Maintain the structure and exterior of the house, including roofs, guttering, windows, drains and garden walls
  • Repair appliances included as part of the rental agreement
  • Repair sinks, WC, hot water and gas appliances

Also have a look at our guide by clicking here.

It’s important that you report any repairs needed immediately, as the owner can’t be held responsible if they’re unaware of the problem. Always report disrepair in writing, as a record of your report may be needed in the future if repairs aren’t carried out.

A letter should include the following basics:

  • The date sent
  • The details of the owner
  • A brief description of the disrepair
  • A reasonable timescale for the completion of the work
  • A contact for you to arrange access to complete the repairs

If you struggle to get your landlord to help out and disrepair is causing you serious problems, you can contact Southampton City Council. More details can be found here.

If damp or mould are affecting the health of you or your housemates you can report this to Environmental Health. Responsibility for damp can be a complex issue. For example, disrepair or structural issues require action on the part of your landlord/letting agent. However, often the steps for preventing condensation are simple:

  • Close the bathroom door, open a window and use an extractor fan
  • Cover boiling pans, open a window and use an extractor fan when cooking
  • Dry clothes outside or in a room with an open window
  • Keep your heating on a low temperature for a few hours a day
  • Move large items away from walls to improve air circulation