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Written by Emma Lunn

A third of renters claim they have fixed something in their rented home themselves rather than asking their landlord to do it.

This is one of the findings from research conducted by AA Home Membership. It says the average cost of a repair arranged by a tenant was £63.20 with one in six paying more than £100.

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 AA says 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 fallouts over repairs are quite common. Having clear guidelines about who is responsible for particular issues could be helpful, as could having reasonable expectations as to how landlords 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, should only be carried out by properly qualified professionals. It could be useful for landlords to leave details of somebody the tenant could contact in their absence, such as a trusted tradesperson.”

Comments

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    Tenant repairs..? Tenants only complain about water coming through their kitchen ceiling when it becomes clear that the bath waste pipe above it has become dislodged, by the tenant, because it became blocked with the tenants hair. Or the time a tenant disassembled a new shower unit because he wanted to paint his bathroom but didnt bother to locate the cold water stop tap & just took the shower ot bits & couldnt rebuild it. A useful saying in the PRS used by me very occassionally is `..what would you do if this was your property..?` Some tenants behave in a completely different way to those that own their property. It`s a bit like the occassional customer who abuses a hire car simply because they dont own it. Tenants have a duty of care towards the landlords property & should report all defects to the agent/landlord to protect the tenant & the property. Most adhere to this but some dont because they have caused the problem & deny liability.

    • 18 November 2014 09:33 AM
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    Presumably the tenants aren't calling the landlord to repair because the article infers that it takes too long for a minority of landlords to repair. The article doesn't say how many of these tenants are managed by a managing agent (ie not the landlord) or large landlords.

    Some tenants like to fiddle and consider themselves to be DIY proficient and a few are. In my experience some are not, in the instance when an integrated dishwasher was fiddled with, a part was broken which was irreplaceable, the landlord still had to repair, pay to rebuild and lump it, as this is an instance when the tenant did his best, shouldn't have and if he d be faced with the large bil, it would have soured future relations.

    Some know it's their fault blatantly and will be charged under the letting agreement, so they try to do it themselves. Very dangerous avenue, as some repairs need professionals and most repairs in this field are temporary and will need to be done again. This avenue should not be encouraged and the tenants should advise the landlord to fix.

    Tenants should have a number and an email that works at all times to a managing agent or landlord.

    It has not been my experience or others that I know that the tenant has paid for a repair.

    • 17 November 2014 10:09 AM
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