Housing repairs - communal areas and services

If you live in a house or block of flats with other tenants there will be areas and services of the property that are communal. Some areas or services will be your responsibility to repair and maintain while others will be the responsibility of the landlord.

What are communal areas and services?

Communal areas can be:

  • shared parking areas
  • shared gardens
  • shared paths
  • shared entrance halls
  • shared staircases
  • shared kitchens and bathrooms

Communal services can be:

  • lighting to shared areas both inside and outside a shared house or block of flats
  • roof coverings to shared houses and blocks of flats
  • shared drainage to blocks of flats and blocks of garages
  • shared lifts
  • shared rubbish chutes in blocks of flats

Responsibility for repairs to communal areas and services

Many tenancy agreements will set out which repairs a landlord is responsible for. These repairs, set out in the tenancy agreement, are likely to include a number of repairs to communal areas or services.

In any case, the law imposes requirements on landlords to keep certain parts of properties and certain services in repair and proper working order.

These requirements mainly apply to keeping the structure and exterior of the property in repair and keeping certain installations, in particular those about heating, lighting and sanitation, in proper working order.

You should be aware that, as a tenant, it is your responsibility to keep all entrances, passageways, communal halls and stairs clean and free from obstruction, and not to damage these areas.

What you should do if you notice that repairs are needed to communal areas or services

There are occasions where tenants identify that repairs are necessary to communal areas or services. You should make requests for these repairs to your landlord, the Housing Executive or your housing association as soon as possible. 

They should carry out repairs for which they are responsible within a reasonable time.

If you are aware that damage is being deliberately caused by an individual or groups of individuals you should contact your landlord, Housing Executive office or housing association. It will welcome such information, which could lead to those people being charged with the costs rather than the costs falling on the tenants.

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