If a private landlord refuses to do repairs

Options to consider and steps to take to get repairs done if your private landlord won't do repairs.

Make sure you've reported repairs 

There are various options for action to take against a landlord who doesn't do repairs they are responsible for.

Before you consider further action, make sure you have reported the repair problems to your landlord and given them a reasonable time to start and finish the work. 

Landlords are usually only responsible for doing repairs they've been told about.

Find out how to report repairs to a private landlord.

You can report repair problems to your landlord's letting agent if they manage repairs on behalf of your landlord.

If you don't have any contact details for your landlord, find out how to find your landlord.

Negotiate with your landlord or letting agent

It's often easier to get things done through negotiation. You could send a reminder letter or phone your landlord or letting agent to check if they received your original request for repairs.

If a letting agent manages repairs on behalf of your landlord but isn't dealing with the repairs, you can use their complaints procedure. This may prompt them to arrange the repairs.

You can complain to their letting agent redress scheme if you don't get a satisfactory response or the letting agents don't reply. You can still pursue other options.

Complain to environmental health

If your landlord won't do repairs and this affects your health and safety in your home, you can ask your local council to visit to inspect the condition of your home. The council should be able to offer help and advice and may tell the landlord to do repairs.

You usually need to contact the environmental health team or the private renting team at your council.

You can tell your landlord you're going to ask the council to inspect your home. It may encourage your landlord to do the work.

Use Shelter's template letter to write to your landlord to say you'll contact the council if they don't do repairs.

Find out more about how environmental health can help with repair problems in your home.

Consider taking legal action

You can take legal action for a court to order your landlord to carry out the repair work needed.

You can also take legal action to ask a court to order your landlord to pay you compensation. Compensation can cover inconvenience and any damage to your personal property or your health.

Find out about court action for compensation for disrepair

Get advice about taking legal action. 

Use Shelter's directory to find a local law centre or call our free helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice.

Get advice about deducting repairs costs from rent

You don't 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.

But 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 legal procedure to do this. If you don't you could be evicted and still have to repay all the rent owed.

Get legal advice before you decide to do this.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local law centre or call our free helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice.

Find out more about doing repairs if your landlord won't.

Keep records about the dispute

Keep a record of the repairs that your home needs.

This could include:

  • photographs of what needs repairing
  • 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

Keep copies of all letters and emails you send to your landlord about repairs.

Keeping records helps if you need to make a complaint.

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.


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