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Storm Doris: a weather bomb, a nationwide pandemic and a reminder to landlords

View profile for Louise Hebborn
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Storm Doris: a weather bomb, a nationwide pandemic, and a reminder to landlords

Storm Doris was named on the 21st February as warnings for wind, snow and rain were issued by the Met Office.

Overnight and into the morning of the 23rd February, storm Doris underwent explosive cyclogenesis labelling it a ‘weather bomb’. The centre of the storm moved rapidly through Northern Ireland in the early hours, across northern England and out into the North Sea by the early afternoon.

Strong winds and gusts were experienced across the UK particularly in North Wales where a gust of 94 mph was recorded at Capel Curig. 

The storm brought heavy snow to Scotland during the morning rush hour causing widespread disruption to transport, felled trees, causing homes to have broken fences, ripped off roof tiles, and unfortunately claiming the lives of four people.

According the Residential Landlord’s Association home insurers have been overwhelmed with calls from residential landlords, and home insurers have advised landlords to contact their tenants or visit their properties to see if they are still safe. 

This storm acts as a harrowing reminder of the force of nature, and a reminder of the duties of a residential landlord.

If you are a residential landlord who has a written tenancy agreement between yourself and your current tenant, the agreement should set out certain landlord’s obligations to rectify repairs to the property, these act as an express term within the agreement and must be adhered to.

If you are a landlord who does not have written tenancy agreement, or you have an oral agreement in place, or your agreement fails to include a provision for the landlord’s duty to repair elements of the property, you are still subject to implied contained in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

As stated above, storm Doris has caused nationwide damage to properties, and if you are a residential landlord you should check that following items of your properties remain safe and in a good state of repair: the structure and exterior of the property for example the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering, external pipes, and windows, water and gas pipes, and electrical wiring. All of these examples, and more are included in a landlords obligations to carry out basic repairs at their property.

A landlord’s responsibility under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is dependent on the landlord knowing about the need of a certain repair and so the property should be regularly inspected. Given the extent of the damage caused by this recent storm, an inspection should be carried out promptly.

If you are a landlord who currently rents out a property within an area that was affected by storm Doris, it is vital that you make sure that your property is safe. If you attend the property we would advise that pictures are taken of any damage and the tenant is notified of your plan to rectify the damage. As a landlord if you fail to uphold your obligations with regards to repair, you invite an opportunity for your tenant to bring a claim against you.

If you are a landlord who requires assistance in any form of landlord and tenant dispute, or require assistance in understanding the law surrounding residential renting, then please call us on 01616 966 229.