Maintenance and Disrepair

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Who is responsible for carrying out repairs?

A well drafted lease should make it clear which elements of the building are the responsibilities of the freeholder to repair, and which fall to the individual leaseholders to maintain.  As a general rule, areas owned by the freeholder (which may be communal areas such as hallways in a block of flats, lifts or stairs, and sometimes driveways and gardens) should be maintained and repaired by the freeholder, or the management company on the freeholder’s behalf.  In some cases, it isn’t clear which party is responsible, and that can lead to a costly dispute.    

What if the freeholder is not completing repairs

If you own a leasehold property and are paying a monthly service charge to the freeholder, you should rightly expect all necessary repairs to be completed.   A well run management company will keep a rolling schedule of fully-costed repairs, providing transparency to the leaseholders as to what repairs will be undertaken and when, and to show what their money is being spent on.  If there is an emergency such as a water leak however, it can be extremely frustrating if the management company is not taking action. Sometimes the freeholder or management company might request additional contributions if it does not have the money to cover the cost of repairs.  

How we can help

If you own a leasehold property and the freeholder or the management company are not carrying out necessary repairs, or are asking for more money to help pay for repairs, we can help you understand your rights.  In some cases the repairs might have been urgent and you might be out of pocket for emergency costs.  Our expert lawyers will give you guidance and:   

  • Listen to your concerns regarding repairs and costs you might have incurred yourself
  • Explain what your legal rights are
  • Talk you through the options for achieving the best and most cost-effective outcome for you.
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Meet your experts
Catherine Hudson 360X360 Catherine Hudson Catherine is an expert in landlord and tenant law, having worked for a housing charity as a Caseworker for 15 years. See profile
Lawyer Profile Picture 360 360 Sophie Jones Sophie joined Which? in June 2015 specialising in landlord and tenancy as well as other areas. See profile
Adrian Schwab Sq Adrian Schwab Adrian is an expert in landlord and tenancy as well as consumer issues, travel and aviation, traffic law, civil litigation and neighbour disputes.
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