An investigation by homeless charity Shelter has found that the number of complaints to local councils about landlords has increased by 27% in the last three years. 62% of the complaints were about serious and life-threatening hazards.Legally all landlords are obliged to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property, the installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity and sanitation and the supply of hot water and heating.

Landlords also owe a duty of care in relation to any person who might be affected by a defect in the property. Landlords must take reasonable care to see that these people are reasonably safe from personal injury and from damage to their property caused by the defect.

The research suggests that despite the legislation, tenants in both private accommodation and social housing are increasingly finding it be an uphill struggle to ensure that landlords keep to their legal obligations. In part this could be a reflection of the difficulties Britain’s economy has faced in recent years, but the law has not changed and this is no excuse for landlords to shy away from their legal duties.From leaking roofs to mice infestations and intermittent heating, these defects can have a serious detrimental impact on the physical and mental health of tenants and their families.