Amid widespread yellow weather alerts, homeowners may wonder whether their insurance extends to torrential rain-induced roof repairs. But what responsibilities do landlords have when it comes to roof repairs?
In 2023, there were 2,860 Google searches in the UK asking ‘who is responsible for roof repairs in a (leasehold) flat?’.
To help with this uncertainty, experts at home insurance have answered some of the most common roof-related questions, according to search data.
Who is responsible for roof repairs in a flat?
If you live in a leasehold flat, you’re leasing the right to live there for a given term. In other words, you don’t own the land but have a temporary right to use the home.
In these types of properties, roof repairs are the responsibility of the freeholder of the property (the land owner). For renters, this is the landlord.
A freeholder is responsible for maintaining both the property and the land and handles repairs to the following:
  • The building’s structure, such as the roof and cladding

  • Shared communal areas, such as lifts and stairways

In a leasehold property, tenants are responsible for repairs inside the flat or home, including:
  • Plumbing and wiring

  • Plasterwork and flooring

  • Paintwork and decoration

  • Furniture and appliances

  • General wear and tear

What should I do if the roof of my leasehold flat needs to be repaired?
Landlords aren’t required to carry out regular checks at their leasehold properties. If tenants notice damage to their flat’s roof, they should raise the issue right away.
When reporting the issue to the landlord, tenants should:
  • Provide exact details of the issue

  • State how urgent the required repairs are and why

  • Provide images of the issue, if possible

  • Date your letter/email and keep a copy

If the freeholder refuses to carry out repairs or doesn’t respond to their tenant, there are actions they can take. The tenant may be able to take the landlord to court, either for compensation or to fix the problem.
What should I do if the repair work carried out on my roof isn’t satisfactory?
  • If any completed work is unsatisfactory, you should get in touch with the contractor straight away. This gives them the opportunity to rectify the issue. It’s important that you keep a record of any communication that you have with the contractor about this.

  • If the problem still isn’t fixed, you can make a formal complaint. Medium and small-sized companies may have an official complaints procedure. Small companies and sole traders may be part of a trade association. You can also contact Trading Standards if you have serious concerns.

  • Following this, you can attempt to recover the money that you have paid. To do this, there needs to be a clear breach of contract. The next step would be to escalate the issue and take legal action. Make sure that you’ve gathered all your evidence so that you have the best chance of success.

  • Problems with a repair may only become clear some time after the work has been done. This makes it hard to get the contractor to accept responsibility. A contractor’s liability period tends to be around 12 months from completion. During this period, the contractor is typically responsible for fixing any issues and covering costs.

Matthew Harwood, home and lifestyle expert at home insurance, comments: “To help avoid any issues, it’s important to choose a reputable roofer. Checking online reviews is a good place to start. It’s also a good idea to ask multiple contractors to assess the issue and provide you with a quote. This means you can compare prices and ask questions. Make sure that you get a quote in writing so that you have proof of the price that the contractor gave you.”

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