Landlord Repairs

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985:

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that a Landlord will be responsible for ensuring that the following are kept in repair and proper working order:

  • The structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes;
  • The installations in the property for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity; and
  • The installation in the property for space heating and heating water.

Landlords are not obliged to effect improvements to the property. Nor are they expected to repair any of the items listed above in cases where the Tenant has caused the damage or disrepair. Landlords are furthermore not expected to rebuild or reinstate the property in cases of flooding, fire or other such accident, including the repairing or maintaining of furniture or other such assets belonging to the Tenant.

Procedure for Repairs:

The Landlord's obligations in terms of Section 11 will only arise when he has received notification of the defect. The Landlord is permitted a reasonable period in order to carry out the repairs. What determines a reasonable period will depend on the nature of the defect as well as the urgency of the defect needing to be repaired. The Landlord is entitled to first inspect the defect and should be provided with a right of access to the property, upon notice of such inspection to the Tenant.

Tenant's Remedies:

Where the Landlord has failed to carry out the necessary repairs in terms of Section 11, the Tenant has the following legal remedies:

  • Claim for Specific Performance:
    The courts can force the Landlord to carry out his repairing obligations.
  • Claim for Damages:
    The Tenant can claim for any loss or damage that he has suffered as a result of the defect not being repaired or not being repaired timeously. The Tenant is entitled to a sum that would restore him to the position that he would have been in had there been no breach on the part of the Landlord.
  • Set-Off:
    The Tenant could attend to the repairs himself and then set-off the cost of such repairs from the rent owed to the Landlord. This route should be exercised with caution and legal advice obtained as there are strict circumstances in which this remedy may be utilised.

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