Reporting poor housing conditions
The landlord's main repairing duties
In general, if you are a landlord who has created a short lease (a lease with an initial fixed term of seven years or less) the law will impose certain repairing duties on you which you cannot contract out of.
You will probably be responsible for most of the major repairs including:
- leaking roofs and gutters
- rotting floor boards and windows
- rising damp
- damp walls
- defective electrical wiring
- dangerous ceilings and staircases
- faulty gas and water pipes
- broken water heaters and boilers
- broken lavatories, sinks and baths and shower facilities
- repairs to communal areas of the property which are used by all tenants
You may also have responsibilities for the good management of the accommodation, such as making sure communal areas are clean and are well lit.
The tenant's duties
Responsibilities of the tenant include:
- some small internal items of repair, under the terms of the contract
- internal decoration - unless a tenancy agreement states otherwise or decorations have been damaged as a result of the landlord's negligence or repairs
- occupying the accommodation in a responsible way and making sure it is kept secure
- keeping sinks unblocked
- ensuring members of their family or guests do not damage the property
If you are a private tenant in Brent and you feel that your landlord is failing to carry out an essential repair, please tell us by filling in our 'report a disrepair' form.
Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS)
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a tool we use to assess potential risks to the health and safety of people in residential properties. It can be used to assess all residential dwellings.
We do not have to inspect every property in our area but will inspect if we have reason to do so.
If it is considered the most appropriate action, we can implement any of the following:
- serve an improvement notice requiring remedial works (the most likely action)
- make a prohibition order, which closes the whole or part of a dwelling or restricts the number of permitted occupants
- serve a hazard awareness notice
- take emergency remedial action
- make a emergency prohibition order
- make a demolition order
- include the property in a clearance area
Enforcement of repairs
We respond to requests for intervention by private tenants whose landlords will not carry out necessary work within their accommodation.
Using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), detailed above, we carry out a full health and safety 'risk assessment', which includes gardens and paths within the boundary of the premises.
This assessment allows us to identify any significant hazards before we decide what action will be taken.
In some instances part of a problem, such as a broken boiler, may be treated as urgent and dealt with more quickly, while provision of additional amenities will take longer.
Some 'hazards' may be deemed less than significant and we may make you aware of the situations without enforcing any immediate improvement.
If work needs to be done we will issue instructions to the landlord in the form of statutory notices. This will set out the work needs to be done and will specify timescales in which it must be completed.
If you fail to carry out legally required work, we may prosecute you via the local magistrates' court. If you are found guilty, the court will normally issue a fine and/or other instructions.
In addition, if you fail to carry out required works require, we may do it ourselves.
Hotel, hostel and other accommodation
We also monitor and inspect of all hostel, hotel and other accommodation being used to temporarily house people on our housing waiting list, to make sure they meet the required standards.
This area of our service operates under the Setting the Standards (StS) regime, where we share information gathered with all other London councils.