Reparis, Standards and Security

Repairs

Landlords can be legally responsible under the tenancy contract for dealing with repairs to the property. If a repair is needed, report it quickly and confirm in writing, asking for a date when the repair will be carried out.  The work should be done in a reasonable time, which will vary depending on the nature of the repair.  For example, a repair to a broken boiler should be dealt with quickly, but you would expect to wait longer for minor problems.   If there is an unreasonable delay, write again reminding the landlord of his responsibilities.  Keep copies of your emails and send letters by recorded delivery so you have proof of them being received.  If there is still no response you should seek advice. The local authority (Cardiff Council) has extensive powers and duties that require landlords to carry out repairs.   If repairs are not carried out in a timely and satisfactory manner after you have written to your landlord, contact Student Advice for further information.

You should not withhold rent because the landlord has failed to carry out a repair, as you will be breaking your contract.   Although you may feel justified in refusing to pay the rent, your landlord could take court action against you.

Standards

The standards in your rented home are governed by a tenant’s rights under the contract and laws enforced by the local authority.  The local authority, Cardiff County Council, is responsible for checking standards in rented property in Cardiff.  Some shared student houses come under the regulations for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HM0). These include minimum standards for bathroom and kitchen facilities, room size and fire protection. 

Some houses must have an additional licence from Cardiff Council even if they are not an HMO.  If you are renting a property with 3 or more tenants in Cathays or Plasnewydd (Roath), check with the agent or landlord if an additional licence has been applied for and granted.  Additional licences look at property standards (including size of rooms, number of bathrooms etc.), health and safety, a ‘fit and proper person test’ for owner/manager and can have conditions attached (egg maximum number of occupiers/ improvements).

If you want to check if  your property is licensed or think it fails to meet the required standards,  you can contact Cardiff Council’s Private Sector Housing on 029 20871762 or email privatesectorhousing@cardiff.gov.uk .  You will be able to discuss your situation and if necessary arrange for a member of staff from the Council to visit your property and make a full assessment.  If action is needed to bring the property up to the required standard the Council will contact your landlord.  You do not need the permission of the landlord before contacting the Council.

The standards in your rented home are governed by a tenant’s rights under the contract and laws enforced by the local authority.  The local authority, Cardiff County Council, is responsible for checking standards in rented property in Cardiff. 

Redecorating

If you want to redecorate or make any other changes to the property, you must have the permission of the landlord. It is advisable to obtain this in writing.

You should not withhold rent because the landlord has failed to carry out a repair, as you will be breaking your contract. Although you may feel justified in refusing to pay the rent, your landlord could take court action against you.

Pests

Cardiff Council can advise on dealing with pest problems, including mice, rats and bed bugs. There is a charge for their services. You can find out more about this here, phone 029 2087 2934 or email pestcontrol@cardiff.gov.uk.

Your landlord may be unwilling to pay for the service if he says that lack of cleanliness/failure to dispose of rubbish correctly has caused the problem. If the problem existed when you moved in, or there is a problem with the property which is contributing to the situation, you can ask your landlord to pay for (or contribute to) the costs.  Student Advice can give more information about this.

If the problem existed when you moved in, or there is a problem with the property which is contributing to the situation, you can ask your landlord to pay for (or contribute to) the costs.

Safety in your rented home

Gas Safety Certificate 

It is a legal requirement for landlords to have all gas appliances in rented property checked annually and a copy of the gas safety certificate given to tenants.  This is important because carbon monoxide, which you cannot see, taste or smell, may accumulate in a property from unsafe appliances and carbon monoxide can kill. If you have requested a copy of the certificate and it has not been provided, you can report your landlord to the Health and Safety Executive Gas Safety Advice line on 0800300363 or their webpages.  

Electrical safety

A landlord has a responsibility to ensure that the wiring and any electrical appliances supplied with the accommodation are safe. This includes heaters, cookers, kettles, and any other electrical goods. Information can be found here

If you are concerned that an electrical appliance is not safe and your landlord is unwilling to check it, you can contact the Trading Standards department of the local authority. Trading standards departments have a duty to enforce legislation which covers the safety of electrical appliances supplied with accommodation.

Fire safety

When an application is made by a landlord for an HMO or Additional Licensing Licence, Cardiff Council will make a fire safety risk assessment and can impose conditions for fire safety. More information about this is available from Cardiff Council and Gov UK

Furniture supplied by the landlord

Your landlord has obligations to tenants about the safety of furniture and furnishings in the property.  If there is upholstered furniture (including beds) in the property, look to see if it has a label showing compliance with fire safety laws.  If not, ask your landlord for it to be replaced. For concerns or enquiries about the safety of electrical items and furniture, there are some useful pages from Cardiff Council here

Before you sign the contract, check what furniture your landlord will be including if the property is furnished.  There should be a bed and storage in each bedroom, cooker and fridge, chairs in a lounge area, heating.  If there are other items which you require the landlord to provide, list these in the contract when it is signed.  

Security

Always make sure doors are locked and windows are shut when you go out, and do not leave valuables such as laptop computers in view.

When you are viewing a house, look at the locks on the front and back doors.  Are there mortice locks with thumb turn locks on the inside?  Window locks on the ground floor and other accessible windows are a deterrent to burglars.  Always make sure doors are locked and windows are shut when you go out, and do not leave valuables such as laptop computers in view.  Most burglaries occur in properties where access is easy through open windows or unlocked doors.

If there is upholstered furniture (including beds) in the property, look to see if it has a label showing compliance with fire safety laws. If not, ask your landlord for it to be replaced.