If you're a private or housing association tenant, find out what you can do if your rented home needs repairs or isn't safe or healthy to live in.

How we can help

If the condition of rented housing is affecting your health or safety, our environmental health inspectors may be able to help and get your landlord to improve the property.

They can investigate a report of serious disrepair which is causing a hazard in a rented property if you have evidence that your landlord has not dealt with it.

They can't however, get involved in disputes between tenants and landlords over minor defects or routine maintenance.

Before they can help, you must report your concern to your landlord, managing agent or housing association as we'll ask to see a copy of your letters or emails as well as any responses.

Tell us about poor housing conditions

We can't act on behalf of council tenants. If you live in a council property, please visit the council housing pages.

Reporting a problem to your landlord

Private landlords or managing agents

Shelter provide advice and standard letters which you can use to report repairs to your landlord. The letters can be sent by email or post. Remember to always keep a copy for your records.

For an urgent repair, such as a lack of heating or hot water or dangerous electrics, you should contact your landlord or agent immediately by telephone and follow the call up with a letter or email.

Housing associations

Housing associations operating as registered social landlord are regulated via their own internal complaints procedure and the Housing Ombudsman.

If you have a disrepair you should do the following:

  1. Report the problem to your housing association.
  2. If they fail to respond in an appropriate and timely manner make a formal complaint to them.
  3. If they still fail to deal with your complaint, contact us and complain to the Housing Ombudsman.

What happens next

What to expect from your landlord

Landlords should normally attempt to fix serious hazards such as a broken boiler or electricity failure within one to three working days but less serious hazards can be repaired over a longer timescale.

What is expected of you

If your landlord agrees to carry out the repairs, it is important that you give them reasonable access to inspect the property, time to find a contractor and enough time to start and finish the work. Your landlord should let you know how long it will take to complete the work.

If your landlord doesn’t carry out the repairs it is important that you do not withhold your rent. If you do, it may result in your landlord applying for possession of the property.

Further information

Use our tool below to access help on the most common problems and safety issues in rented accommodation.

Most of the links provided go the website for Shelter - the housing issue and homelessness charity. They provide comprehensive advice and guidance on landlord responsibilities and how to report your issues.

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