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We are currently renting a 4 double bedroom house in London.

Our smoke detectors have been...
We are currently renting a 4 double bedroom house in London. Our smoke detectors have been malfunctioning the past two months, washing machine recently broke down (after 3 years of usage amongst 4 tenants) and lawnmower broken in the first year of moving in (never been replaced since). We have been approaching our estate agent multiple times via email and have received no responses. Is there anything further we can do in legal terms if they continue to ignore us?

Our common law tenancy agreement clearly states in section 3.5 Landlords Obligations that,   "...reasonable steps to ensure that the landlord's domestic gas and electrical appliances and other similar mechanical appliances in the premises for which he is responsible are safe, in proper working order and in repair both at commencement of, and during the tenancy, as may be necessary from time to time in order to company with the landlords obligations under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations and (Safety) Regulations 1994."
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Answered in 23 minutes by:
6/25/2010
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,151
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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There is no specific legislation that states the landlord has responsibility for installing smoke alarms but there is generally accepted that the landlord owes a common law duty of care.

There is a caveat to that - if the property was built after 1992 then the landlord has a responsibility to install mains operated smoke alarms under the Building Regulations 1991.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
The house was only built in 2007. Just doubled check our tenancy agreement contract, is it possible to place a claim even though the contract itself does not specify the Building Regulations 1991 anywhere?

Also, how can we take this further?
I would serve notice on the agents advising that the alarms are faulty which is in breach of the BR1991. It is possible to get a court order for the repair as the position is potentially dangerous and falls outside of the 1 year limitation period on enforcement.

You could contact the local authority who may enforce for you or you could advise the agents that unless they are fixed within 14 days you will pay for the repair yourself and look to them for the costs.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I have asked the estate agent before about repairing the alarms and having the costs reimbursed with them. However they had said "no way". What happens if I go ahead with arranging a fixture and they never pay me back?
You would have to go to the small claims court. You cannot withhold rent or you risk eviction proceedings.

Providing the property was built after 1992 you would be successful as the landlord is in breach of legislative requirements. You can reclaim court costs you incur and claim interest at 8% per year.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Would this apply for the broken washing machine and lawnmower?
No I'm afraid not unless your agreement states the landlord is responsible for the items or will provide working such items. There is no statutory duty for the landlord to provide a working washing machine or lawnmower. Do check your agreement though - you may be lucky.
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,151
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thanks a lot for your help!
No problem - good luck with the agents
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