Landlord or tenant repairs?

A third of tenants paid for home repairs while renting

According to research by AA Home Membership one in ten tenants is responsible for household repairs to their rented property.*

But a third of renters (34%) have paid to fix something in their home rather than ask their landlord to do the work.

The findings reveal that the average cost of a repair arranged by a tenant was £63.20. An unlucky one in six paid more than £100.

It was quicker and easier to do it ourselves

A big advantage of renting accommodation is not having to organise and pay for certain household repairs. Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sets out the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant for maintaining or repairing the rented property.

In our survey a blocked drain or faulty shower topped the list of household mishaps – each experienced by one in five tenants. One in six paid to fix faulty wiring or a broken lock or key. One in seven has had a damaged carpet replaced or leaky pipe repaired while one in 14 shelled out for a boiler repair.

Half of those who fixed something said it was because it was 'quicker and easier to do it themselves'. A quarter said they caused the fault and felt responsible for repairing it, while one in eight said their landlord refused to help. Another 6% said they had a clumsy landlord who tried to fix the problem but made it worse.

The majority of tenants were visited by their landlord the same day, though almost a third had to wait more than a week for them to help out.

Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership, said: "Not being responsible for repairs is often seen as a perk of renting. Some landlords may accuse tenants of not taking care of properties, but our research shows they seem to be more conscientious than they're often given credit for.

"The relationship between landlords and tenants can be rather fragile and fall outs over repairs are not uncommon. There should be clear guidelines about who is responsible for particular issues, and a reasonable expectation as to how the landlord will deal with household repairs."

"Some of the repairs that tenants told us they'd undertaken might have been quite simple and cheap to fix. But some things, relating to gas and electrical problems for example, are usually the responsibility of the landlord and should only be carried out by qualified professionals. It could be useful for landlords to leave details of somebody the tenant could contact in their absence."

AA Home Membership offers homeowners – including landlords – and tenants cover for home emergencies and routine repairs.


What was the fault you paid to have repaired?*

Fault

Those who
needed a repair

Blocked drain

19%

Faulty shower

19%

Faulty electrical socket or wiring

17%

Broken lock or key

17%

Damaged carpet

15%

Leaking pipe

15%

Damaged white goods

13%

Damaged furniture

9%

Faulty radiator

7%

Faulty boiler

7%

Other

21%

Why did you pay to have this fault repaired?*

Choice

Those who
needed a repair

It was quicker and easier to do it myself

50%

I caused the fault and felt I should put it right myself

25%

My landlord refused to cover the fault

13%

I'm responsible for repairs

10%

My landlord was on holiday

9%

I couldn't get hold of my landlord

6%

My landlord tried to fix it themselves and made it worse

6%

My landlord fixed the fault but the repair wasn't very good

4%

Don't know

1%

Other

5%


* Research by OnePoll among 2,000 tenants aged 18+, 15 August 2013.

13 November 2014