Housing disrepair and how to make a complaint

It is a legal responsibility for your landlord, or their agent, to manage your tenancy fairly and to ensure your home is of decent standard and safe for you to live in. It is also important to note that as a private tenant, you also have rights and responsibilities too.

Tenants’ rights and responsibilities 

You must always contact your landlord first to request a repair.

You can visit the Shelter website where you can find a sample letter [external link].

Your landlord must provide you with their contact details or the details of their agent. If they don’t give you their details you have rights as it is important you have a contact for you to report and issues or repairs. Please visit the link above for tenants’ rights.

If you rent privately you can use Land Registry [externa link] to request your Landlords details for a small fee.

If you rent from a housing association, you should be able to request your landlords details.

What can help if Landlords are refusing to do repairs?

As a private tenant, you have a legal right to live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair.

There are some steps to follow when reporting disrepair. You must follow these steps before contacting us to report a problem.

Contact your Landlord

You must speak to your Landlord or their agent first:

  • Write to your landlord explaining the problem.
  • Wait 2 weeks after you first report the problem. If nothing is done, then contact your landlord again.
  • Wait another 2 weeks.
  • If you haven’t heard back from your Landlord, send a final letter or email to your them giving them 48 hours to respond, and
  • Keep copies of all correspondence.

Collect Evidence

Collect evidence about the problem, such as:

  • Photographs.
  • 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 you can report the disrepair to the Private Sector Housing Team and we will investigate or advise you of alternative action you might be able to take.

If you feel the disrepair is causing immediate danger or a serious threat to health or security then seek immediate advice. This could include:

  • 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.
  • 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.