Repairs & Maintenance

Leasehold Property - FAQ

What are Internal Repairs

Who is responsible for External, Main Structural and Common Parts Repairs


Who is responsible for exterior decoration of building and common parts?


Decoration - What will my responsibility be?


Who pays for major repairs?


Consultation on major works

 

 

What are internal repairs?

Most leases oblige the tenant to keep the interior of the flat in a good and tenantable condition, including cleaning the windows regularly, and keeping the sanitary fitments in good order. There will usually be a requirement for redecoration to be carried out periodically.

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Who is responsible for External, Main Structural and Common Parts Repairs

The description in the lease of the flat and the block/building are critical in establishing which parts of the internal and external surfaces belong to the Tenant or the Landlord.

In a well-drawn lease, the Landlord will be responsible for the roof, main walls, foundations, common parts, lifts, chutes, drains, pipes etc. The cost of repairs and maintenance is spent by the Landlord and then claimed from the tenants, usually through the service charge collected by the Landlord or the landlord's agent.

However, in houses converted into flats or maisonettes, there can be many permutations of who owns what, and sometimes, it is may be difficult to resolve this with certainty. Sometimes the lease may specify ownership, but not make it clear who is responsible to carry out repairs.

For example, the ground floor tenant may own the foundations, but there is no obligation on him to carry out repairs; or, there is a responsibility to carry out repairs and no provision in the lease to recover any part of the cost from the upstairs tenant.

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Who is responsible for exterior decoration of the building and common parts?

Some leases impose a strict repainting schedule e.g. every 3 years. Others say that repainting should be carried when in the Landlord’s opinion it is necessary or desirable. The cost may arise in the year when expenditure is incurred or may be provided through a sinking fund which is built up each year for such types of periodic expense.

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Decoration - What will my responsibility be?

Most leases impose an internal repainting and redecoration schedule e.g. once every 5 years. Some older leases may even specify the type of paint to be used!

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Who pays for major repairs?

Some leases make provision for a sinking/reserve fund into which tenants must make an annual payment. This will be necessary for buildings where roofs and boiler or lift replacement can involve large amounts. The fund is usually held in an interest bearing account until monies are withdrawn to pay for major repairs. Where there is no such fund, a Landlord may refuse to carry out works until and unless he first receives either the full payment or an ‘on account’ payment from all tenants.

Exterior redecoration is usually the Landlord’s responsibility - costs are recovered through the service charge, but sometimes the tenants are required to decorate the exterior of their own flat. This is obviously not as satisfactory. Some leases delegate the repairing and maintenance responsibility to a management company. The lease will usually make the party responsible for works also liable to reinstate any damage at their expense. You should ensure your contractors carry suitable insurance.

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Consultation on major works

The landlord cannot carry out major works to the building without first consulting the tenants in the proper fashion: if he fails to do this, he may not be able to recover all the costs.

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