The property must be dry, safe and structurally stable. It must have adequate heating, drainage, lighting, ventilation, toilet and bathing facilities. It should meet minimum health and safety standards.
The landlord is responsible for repairs to the structure of the building: the roof, windows, doors, drains, gutters, baths, sinks, toilets, heating, hot water, damp and general building repairs.
The tenant must do minor jobs, like replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink. They must also repair damage that they or their visitors have caused. Tenants are usually responsible for internal painting and decorating (unless otherwise stated on your tenancy agreement). Tenants should dispose of household rubbish including old furniture etc. Tenants should contact the landlord if you have a problem with your property. It is also the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the rent is paid (rent should not be withheld just because your landlord has not done repairs).
What To Do If your Property Is In Disrepair
Problems with a private Landlord or Agent
Your landlord, or their agent, has legal responsibilities to manage your tenancy fairly and to keep your home up to a decent standard. As a private tenant you also have rights and responsibilities too.
If your landlord or agent doesn’t come up to the standards, get advice straight away. If:
- Your deposit is not protected: see the Tenancy deposits – Shelter England
- You don’t have a tenancy agreement, or you don’t understand it, see the Types of renting agreement – Shelter England
- Your landlord hasn’t done a repair you have requested – report it
- Your landlord is not meeting safety standards, see the Private renting: Your landlord’s safety responsibilities – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Your landlord or agent is bothering you at home or harassing you, see the How to deal with harassment from landlords or agents – Shelter England
- Your landlord is trying to evict you, see the Eviction – Shelter England
- You asked your landlord for repairs or complained about conditions in your home, see Revenge eviction if you ask for repairs – Shelter England
- You rent from a letting or managing agent you can contact Letting agent redress schemes – Shelter England
Rights and responsibilities
See more about private renting rights and responsibilities, and dealing with landlord and agent problems:
Nothing was done when repairs were reported
You need to start a formal procedure – report it
Report a repair to your landlord
You must get in touch with your landlord about repairs first.
We can help if your landlord is refusing to do repairs
Make sure you have followed these steps before you report the problem to us.
As a private tenant, you have the legal right to live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair.
Housing Association tenant
If you are a Housing Association tenant please follow the information below;
Your landlord is responsible for repairs if you rent from a housing association or other non-profit landlord.
What you can do
Contact your landlord to order the repair.
Your tenancy agreement with your landlord gives you the right to get repairs done within a reasonable time.
Also see advice about repairs in social housing on the Shelter website.
If the landlord is not responding to your requests
If you are not satisfied with your landlord’s response, you can make an official complaint. Your landlord’s website will tell you how to do this.
Private landlord / agent
You must speak to your landlord first:
- write to your landlord explaining the problem. There’s a sample reminder letter on the Shelter website You can use this wording on email/text – keep a copy
- wait two weeks or longer after you first report the problem. If nothing is done, then contact your landlord again
- wait another two weeks, if you haven’t heard back from your landlord
- send a final letter or email to your landlord giving them 48 hours to respond, and
- keep copies of all correspondence.
Collect evidence about the problem, such as:
- copies of any letters sent to or received from the landlord
- receipts, reports or bills from professionals who have looked at the problem, or
- a note from a doctor if the problem is affecting someone’s health.
If you don’t receive a response after 48 hours then report the repair problem with your landlord to us and we will investigate.
If the problem is causing an immediate danger, or serious threat to health or security phone us for advice on 01254 388111. We will check that you have reported the problem to your landlord and that it is genuinely urgent.
Examples of an immediate danger, serious threat to health or security, are:
- a leak near electrics
- an external door that can’t be locked
- no cooking facilities
- a permanent loss of heating in the house in winter
- a flood, or
- something that particularly affects vulnerable people, for example, a baby, someone who is old and infirm, or a person with a relevant medical condition or disability.
If you have gone through all the steps we have asked you about, and still not had a response from your landlord, report the problem here.
Keep evidence of the problem, and evidence that you have taken the steps we asked about: letters to your landlord, photographs, estimates, receipts, doctor’s note and so on. We may ask to see this evidence.
We will contact your landlord or their agent to sort out this problem. We may also need to contact other people or organisations you give us in evidence. By sending this form, you are agreeing that we can do this.
The Housing Standards team cannot assist with housing priority banding
What Happens Next?
An officer will review your complaint and respond within 5 working days. If we can take the complaint forward – By law we must write to the owner of the property to advise that we will be visiting to carry out an inspection. Although we will not say that you have made a complaint please bear in mind that it is often obvious how we became involved.
We will then contact you to arrange to visit and carry out an inspection of the property under The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
This system was introduced by The Housing Act 2004, as a risk assessment method to identify housing related hazards that could affect the health and safety of any potential occupier or visitor to a property.
There are 29 different hazards that are assessed and these include damp and mould growth, excess cold, falls on stairs, fire safety, electrical safety, food safety etc.
Following the Inspection
We will tell the landlord about problems we found during our inspection and ask them to carry out any necessary works. In the majority of cases we will first ask your landlord to carry out the works on an informal basis, giving times when the works should be finished. If your landlord does not do the works then the Council can serve a legal notice requiring repairs to be carried out within a set timescale. If the landlord does not comply with the notice then the Council may carry out the works and recover costs from the landlord.
Sometimes the assessed risk is so low that we cannot make the landlord carry out the works and in these cases we can only recommend that certain works be done.
If works are to be arranged at your property please try to co-operate fully with your landlord to allow access for contractors to carry out the work and keep your landlord up to date with your contact telephone numbers.
Damp and Mould
If you have damp and mould in your home please use the report it procedure (as above)
The following guidance may also be useful:
Housing Standards Team
Telephone: 01254 388 111