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Reporting disrepair to your privately rented landlord

Sorting out repairs is one of the most common problems in privately rented homes. You should know which repairs you are responsible for, which repairs your landlord must do, and how to report problems.

Your landlord is legally 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.

They must also repair damage that was caused by someone with no connection to you - for example during a break-in or vandalism.

Reporting repairs

When a repair needs doing, tell the landlord in writing as soon as possible. You can use the template letter on Shelter's website (opens new window).

It is important that the repair is reported to your landlord in writing even if it has been reported by telephone as this can offer a degree of protection from retaliatory eviction. The following link gives further advice on contacting your landlord in writing: - Writing to your landlord

By putting your complaint in writing to your landlord, tenants can make reasonable complaints about the property they are living into their landlord without fear that they will be evicted as a result. The kind of complaints to which these rules apply concern a serious issue that might cause a potential risk of harm to the health or safety of the tenant, or a family member.

Examples of repairs that are covered by these rules would include a leak in the property or a problem with the heating, especially in colder weather. The sort of repair that would not be covered by this is a dripping tap or changing a lightbulb. 

If it's an emergency (such as a burst pipe), phone them.

You have to give the landlord a reasonable time to do the repair. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take; it depends on the urgency of the job. A blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window for example. A landlord should respond to a tenant's reasonable complaint within 14 days describing what action is to be taken to fix the matter, if not already remedied. If the repair isn't done in a reasonable time, even after reminding the landlord, do not stop paying your rent.

Landlord's visit

Your landlord has the right to come into your home to check what needs repairing - but they must give you at least 24 hours' notice, and must come at an agreed time (although you'll obviously want them to come as quickly as possible if it's an emergency job).

The property you rent must meet certain health and safety standards by law. If your landlord doesn't meet these standards, they are risking your safety. The landlord is committing an offence and could have legal action taken against them. For more detail on see our safety in rented property page.

The Council may be able to take action against your landlord if there are serious matters of disrepair in the property and you as a tenant can always take your own private action against your landlord if they are failing a repairing obligation or duties introduced under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act. See Guide for tenants: Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 - GOV.UK (

My landlord won't do the repairs that I have asked them to do

If the landlord does not carry out a repair you have reported within a reasonable timescale, you can report the matter of serious disrepair to the Council for investigation by contacting our Home and money team to start a formal procedure or report it online and one of the Environmental Health Team will be in touch.

Please ensure that you have information about your landlord to hand when making a report such as their name, telephone number, address, email address and if you hold a tenancy agreement. Things that will be also of use will be who you pay your rent to and how. If you are using the online tool to report the disrepair any images or videos of the matters of concern can be uploaded to help assess the seriousness and triage the services requests that are received by the Environmental Health Housing Team.

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