There are steps you can take to get repairs done to your home if your landlord ignores your requests or takes too long to complete the work.
1. Tell your landlord repairs are needed
Landlords are usually only responsible for repairs they've been told about. Report repairs and give them a reasonable time to start doing the repairs.
Use Shelter's template letter to write to your landlord to ask for repairs.
2. Contact your landlord again
If your landlord doesn't reply to your first request for repairs, contact them again.
Use Shelter's template letter to write again to ask your landlord for repairs.
3. Gather information about repairs
Keep a record of the repairs and your efforts to get the landlord to fix them.
This could include:
- photographs of what needs repairing
- copies of letters or emails you've sent to your landlord
- receipts for any items you've had to buy to replace damaged items, for example furniture or curtains
- doctors' notes, if the disrepair is bad for your health or the health of someone else in your household
- other professional reports or bills if you have them, for example if you've had to pay for pest control or get a surveyor to check for damp
Keeping records helps if you need to make a complaint.
4. Tell your landlord you're contacting the council
Wait a reasonable amount of time for repair work to start. If it doesn't, contact your landlord again. Tell them you're going to ask the council to check if your home is safe to live in.
Use Shelter's template letter to write to your landlord to say you'll contact the council if they don't do repairs.
5. Ask the council for help to get repairs done
Contact your local council to request an inspection if your landlord ignores or refuses your request to carry out necessary repairs.
The council should be able to offer help and advice and may tell the landlord to do repairs.
Use Shelter's template letter to write to ask the council to inspect your home.
Find out more about asking the council for help.
Get advice if the council tells you it can't help you. Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.
6. Do repairs yourself and deduct the cost from your rent
You do not have the right to withhold your rent if your landlord refuses to do repairs. If you don't pay rent, the landlord could take steps to evict you.
If the landlord has failed to do repairs, you can arrange for the repairs to be done and then deduct the cost from your rent.
You must follow the correct procedure to do this. If you don't you could be evicted and still owe all the rent.
Get advice about arranging your own repairs, especially if you are an assured shorthold tenant as it is easy for your landlord to evict you even if you do follow the correct procedure.
7. Get advice about eviction
Get advice if you're worried about being evicted if you ask for repairs.
Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.
8. Ask about a reduction to your rent
You may be able to claim a discount in your rent if the work to your home has been very disruptive.
Find out more about what to expect during repair work.
9. Take legal action
Get advice about taking legal action against your landlord. The court might be able to order your landlord to:
- carry out the necessary repair work
- pay you compensation – for inconvenience and any damage to your personal property or your health