Responsibilities for repairs if you have a community landlord

  • Landlords are responsible for most major repairs 
  • You are probably responsible for any damage you cause 
  • You should check the supplementary and additional terms of your contract thoroughly  

Responsibilities for repairs 

Community landlords are normally responsible for most repairs. If you rent from a community landlord, you are probably only responsible for some minor maintenance and for putting right any damage you have caused. 

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information. 

What am I responsible for? 

As a contract-holder you have to use your home in a responsible way. This involves: 

  • keeping your home reasonably clean 
  • not damaging the property and ensuring that your guests don’t either 
  • carrying out minor maintenance, like changing light bulbs 
  • using the heating properly, (eg not blocking flues or ventilation). 

In most cases, you will also be responsible for interior decoration. Also, if your contract says that you are responsible for something that isn’t automatically your landlord’s legal responsibility as listed below (eg. maintaining the garden) then it is probably valid. Your occupation contract should set out exactly who is responsible for what. 

If you cause any damage to the property or the furniture, even if it’s accidental, you are liable for the costs of repairing or replacing the damaged item/s.

What is my landlord responsible for? 

Your landlord will always be responsible for repairs (unless your occupation contract is for a fixed term of 7 years or more) to: 

  • the structure and exterior of the building – this includes the roof, walls, windows and external doors 
  • central heating, gas fires, fireplaces, flues, ventilation and chimneys 
  • water, pipes, basins, sinks, toilets and baths, drains and guttering 
  • gas pipes, electrical wiring, and any appliances provided 
  • common parts such as lift, communal entrances. 

Landlords have certain extra responsibilities for gas, electrical and fire safety in your home. 

They must also make sure that your home is fit to live in and free from any hazards that could affect the health and safety of anyone in your household. 

Your occupation contract may give your landlord extra obligations, such as the maintenance of fences or boundary walls around your home – check to see what it says. 

What about damp? 

Your home could be affected by any of the 3 common types of damp: 

  • condensation 
  • penetrating damp 
  • rising damp. 

It isn’t always easy to work out who is responsible for sorting out problems with damp, because it’s often difficult to identify what’s causing the problem. But your landlord will usually be responsible if the damp is the result of: 

  • leaking pipes 
  • a structural defect (such as a leaking roof) 
  • an existing damp proof course that is no longer working (if there wasn’t one to begin with, your landlord does not have to put one in). 

Condensation is often caused by lack of ventilation, lack of insulation, and/or inadequate heating. Where this is the case, the landlord must take steps to remedy the problem, for example, by improving the heating or ventilation in the property. Bear in mind though that condensation can also be caused by drying clothes indoors or not using heating systems properly. If this is the case, your landlord is probably not responsible. 

You may be able to ask for the council’s environmental health department to inspect your home if your landlord doesn’t fix the damp problem. They can inspect the property and take action against the landlord if they think there is damp and/or mould growth causing a hazard. However, if your landlord is the council, then environmental health will not be able to take enforcement action. 

If you are having issues getting your landlord to do repairs, or make your home fit to live in, you should use their complaints procedure. If they do not resolve your complaint you can complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. 

What about my own appliances and installations? 

Your landlord is only responsible for maintaining any electrical appliances and installations that have been supplied with the property. 

They are not responsible for repairing any appliances or installations that belong to you or which you have had installed. For example, if you have bought a dishwasher or tumble drier and had it installed, you will be responsible for its upkeep.

What about communal areas? 

Your landlord is responsible for repairs to areas that are shared with other people, such as hallways, stairs, or lifts. 

What about gardens? 

Your occupation contract should say who has responsibility for the upkeep of your garden. It is often your responsibility as the contract-holder, although this doesn’t mean that you will have to improve the garden if it is in a mess when you move in. 

If the garden is shared with other residents, you may all share responsibility for the upkeep, unless one resident has agreed to take it on. However, if the garden is not mentioned at all it is possible that neither you nor your landlord has responsibility.

What about decorating and other work? 

Contract-holders are usually responsible for the internal decorations unless work is needed because of dampness or disrepair that is the landlord’s responsibility. You should check the supplementary and additional terms of your occupation contract to see if you need the landlord’s consent to redecorate. Contract-holders in community landlord homes can usually redecorate without needing permission. However, if you want to carry out major work or alterations in your home or other buildings (e.g. a shed or garage) you will probably need to get written consent from your landlord.

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: February 16, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.