Turn the spotlight on the lease

Our lawyer, Katharine Marshall, advises on the legal obligations for landlords to replace fixtures and fittings in rental properties
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© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
Question: I own a house that is let out to five individual tenants. The lounge is fitted with halogen spotlights, one of which has recently stopped working and the residents are asking me to fix it.

I live some distance away and am loathe to pay out when it could just be a new bulb that's required. Am I obliged to fix this?

Answer: The tenants are entitled to have all of the lights within their flat working. However, as you say it may just be a replacement light bulb needed and I suggest you ask them to try this.

It is expected that a tenant will replace "wear and tear" items such as a light bulb. If, however, it is the light fitting which is at fault here then the terms of your lease will almost certainly oblige you to repair this.

You should check the terms of your lease but most leases will oblige a landlord to ensure that all landlord's fittings such as lights are in good working order.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Katharine Marshall please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk, or write to: Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5EE.

We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here.

Katharine is a solicitor and director at Pitmans Solicitors (www.pitmans.com).

These answers do not constitute legal advice to any reader in any specific situation and should not be relied on as such. Pitmans accepts no liability for any such reliance.

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