Years ago, if you were a social housing tenant your rent covered the cost of any repairs that your property needed – from a leaking tap to a leaking roof, it didn’t matter – your council did the repair. Nowadays things are different. Due to the government stripping away funding, councils are strapped for cash. Housing Associations find it harder to build new properties because since the recession of 2008, banks no longer wish to lend to them. But HA’s are self-funding and in theory the rents that they get from their tenants should cover the cost of a repair. Either way, all landlords have to find ways to save on costs. Charging its tenants for various repairs seems to be the way forward for some landlords. The general rule of thumb with my own council is if you break it – you pay for it. If its a crime, get a crime number and there will be no charge. If it is worn out, there will be no charge.
However, other landlords do it differently. For instance, Oxfordshire City Council will charge for the following:
Replacement of door locks internal / external or garage doors. Unless due to wear and tear. (Internal would only be if you are on the repairs exemption scheme).
Forced entry (following loss of keys or for an empty property where no keys were returned for the dwelling or garage).
All glass to doors and windows
Broken sanitary fittings (other than through normal use or age)
Broken floor tiles following removal of floor
Any damage identified as being caused by the neglect or carelessness of the tenant, members of the tenant’s household, or his / her visitors, sub-tenants or lodgers.
Damage caused by an attempted forced entry (unless the tenant has provided a crime number from the police)
To restore electricity supply – lights or power – where loss has been caused by a tenants appliance for example a cooker or by accidental damage to the wiring in the property.
Any work carried out to fixtures, fittings or appliances installed by or belonging to the tenant, or to alterations the tenant may have carried out during the tenancy, in order to make them safe.
Any work carried out after vacating the premises to repair damage caused to the property or to replace missing or broken fixtures and fittings, or to remove excess household articles or rubbish. And the list goes on.
One Housing Association charges the following:
A blocked sink = £60.00
A blocked toilet = £60.00
Replacing an external door = £600.00
Replacing broken toilet = £120.00
Broken electrical sockets = £60.00
Broken internal door = £120.00
And again, the list goes on.
Does your landlord charge for certain repairs? If so, what are the charges? Have you received a bill for a repair? Were you expecting it or was it a shock?
Questions? Just ask.
Other legal questions can also be asked on our forums – www.exchangeforum.co.uk/house-exchanges