What is housing disrepair?

In summary, it puts an obligation on a landlord to keep in repair & proper working order:
  • The structure and exterior of the dwelling house, including drains gutters and external pipes
  • The installations of the dwelling-house that supply water, gas, electricity and sanitation (which includes basins, sinks, bath and sanitary fittings)
Housing disrepair is bound in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and implied into all tenancies of less than seven years.
The landlord is obliged to keep ‘the installations in the dwelling-house’ in repair and working order.  This includes installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, heating and hot water.  Water or gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators and other space heating.  Where an installation is centralised, e.g. in high rise block, then tenants with tenancies entered into after 15 January 1989 are protected with repairing obligations covering centralised systems.  The same is not true of those prior to this date.

How C7 Surveyors can help

As experts in the field of Housing Disrepair we review case law and relevant texts to ensure we prepare accurate evidence in our reports. Click on the link below to learn about our services.

Glossary of Terms

‘keep in repair’ is a continued obligation  to keep up the standard of repair throughout the duration of the tenancy.‘
'structure and exterior’ is the elements of the dwelling which give it its essential appearance, stability and shape. 
'dwelling house'
The is the building or part of building that is let to the tenant.

Typical Housing Disrepair Issues

(click on the various elements for more information)
DrainPipe
Chimney
Roof
Window
External Wall
Bathroom
Kitchen
Ground Floor Walls
Housing Disrepair Why is IE such a pain with SVGs? Is Blake real or from the Matrix? Why is Diaco's code so awesome?
Chimney
Cracked and poorly pointed chimneys
Drainpipe
Defective and missing drainpipes and rainwater goods
Window
Failed double glazing, condensation
Roof
Broken and missing roof tiles
External Wall
Ceiling leak from external wall
Bathroom
Leaks, mould
Kitchen
Typical issues include leaks, mould, vermin infestation
Ground Floor Walls
Rising damp and wood root
Chimney
Cracked and poorly pointed chimneys
Drainpipe
Defective and missing drainpipes and rainwater goods
Window
Failed double glazing, condensation
Roof
Broken and missing roof tiles
External Wall
Ceiling leak from external wall
Bathroom
Leaks, mould
Kitchen
Typical issues include leaks, mould, vermin infestation
Ground Floor Walls
Rising damp and wood root

Structure or Exterior

Examples of structure or exterior include:
  1. Floor joists are part of the structure
  2. A partition between two dwellings is a part of the structure
  3. The roof and any skylights are part of the structure
  4. The walls and any render are part of the structure.
  5. External joinery will usually be part of the structure and failure to paint to protect against rot is a failure to keep in repair [Irvine’s Estate v Moran 1991]
  6. Windows are part of the structure and exterior (usually).
  7. In relation to a house, the path and primary means of access, including steps are part of the exterior
  8. Bannisters and staircases are part of the structure [Hannon v Hillingdon Homes Ltd 2012]
  9. An extractor fan is part of the structure [Aden v Birmingham CC December 2013]
It must be shown that there is disrepair to these elements. There is much case law around this that requires careful consideration on a case by case basis. For example it is now clear that plaster is part of the structure [Grand v Gill 2011].
However, in our opinion, plaster requires a balanced assessment as hairline or decorative cracking isn’t section 11.  If plaster is contaminated by foul water, spalling or in a significant state of disrepair, it is a section 11 matter.  A more recent case [D R v Southwark LBC 2014] found that saturated plaster caused by condensation, when containing hygroscopic salts is considered damaged beyond recovery.

Flats and Apartments

For flats and apartments, the structure and exterior includes outside walls; outside and inner party walls; the outer sides of the horizontal divisions between the flat and other flats; the ceilings and walls of the flat [Campden Hill Towers Ltd v Gardner 1977] and the whole roof terrace (except tiled surfaces – Ibrahim v Dovecorn Reversions Ltd 2001).

Where a flat is the top floor flat and the ceiling and rood are an inseparable structural unit, the roof is within the definition of structure and exterior.

What if it is a flat, separated by another flat from the roof? 

II the tenancy was entered into after 15 January 1989, a defect to the roof that is affecting the tenant, e.g. water leaking in, the landlord can be held responsible (as long as the landlord had an interest in the roof).

Contact us

C7 Surveyors has a wealth of experience in Housing Disrepair, contact us today to discuss your requirements.
C7 SURVEYORS

MEZZANINE FLOOR, 1 SPINNINGFIELDS

MANCHESTER M3 3EB

EMAIL: OFFICE@C7SURVEYORS.CO.UK

TEL: 0333 9875107
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