How to report repairs to a private landlord

Report the need for repairs to your private landlord as soon as possible. Don't delay taking action if your home is unsafe for anyone living there.

Take action in an emergency

In an emergency such as a gas leak, call your gas supplier or the emergency services immediately. Tell your landlord too. 

Contact your landlord as soon as possible if problems with repairs or conditions in your home are harming your health or causing damage to the property.

Do this even if you are concerned that your landlord may evict you.

Check who's responsible for repairs

Landlords are usually responsible for repairs in rented homes. Before contact your landlord, check your if your landlord is responsible for the repairs.

If you have damaged your home, the landlord could ask you to fix or pay for repairs.

Don't start doing the repairs yourself. You could cause more damage or injure yourself and the landlord may charge you if the work has to be undone.

Report repairs in writing 

It's fine for you to tell your landlord about any repairs that are needed in person or by phone. But afterwards,  make sure you:

  • make a note of any conversations you have with your landlord
  • follow up your conversation with a letter confirming what was said and agreed

Use Shelter's template letter to write to your landlord to ask for repairs.

Keep a copy of your letter and send it to your landlord by recorded delivery. This will help later if there are any arguments over when the repairs where reported.

Write to your landlord again if you don't receive a response.

Use Shelter's template letter to write again to ask your landlord for repairs.

Keep copies of all letters to and from your landlord.

Ask your landlord if you don't know their address. You have a legal right to be be told your landlord's address.

Record details of repairs and damage

Keep details of the repairs needed to your home, for example:

  • take photographs of the things that need repairing
  • keep belongings that have been affected (such as clothes damaged by damp) or take photographs of them. Work out how much they are worth
  • keep copies of any doctor's notes or hospital reports which show that your health has been affected by the problem

Keep receipts for any money you spend because of the repair problem, for example if you have to replace clothes or furnishings because of mould or if you have to pay for a damp survey.

You could also get an expert such as an environmental health officer from the council to inspect your home.

How long repairs should take

When you report the repair problem, your landlord should tell you who is responsible for the work and what will be done to fix it. They should also tell you how long repair work will take.

Your landlord should reply to you quickly to arrange emergency or urgent repairs, for example if:

  •  you have no power or water supply
  • there's a large hole in your roof letting rain in

If the repair work is routine, your landlord should still reply to you quickly but might take slightly longer to arrange the repair. An example is if there's a loose roof tile that might slip.

Allow access for repair works

Allow the landlord reasonable access to your home so the repairs can get done. Always ask to see identification for anyone who says they have been sent to do repairs or give quotes for the work.

Find out more about what to expect during repairs.

What to do if the landlord won't do repairs

Write to your landlord again if they don't respond to your first letter reporting repairs.

Tell them you will be taking further action if repairs are not carried out within 21 days.

Read more about what to do if your landlord refuses to do repairs.

Why you should report repairs

It may be a condition of your tenancy agreement that you report all repair issues to your landlord as quickly as possible.

If you don't report problems, your landlord could:

  • blame you for costly repairs
  • take money from your tenancy deposit to cover avoidable repairs
  • try to evict you

Eviction if you ask for repairs

Most landlords are happy to fix repair problems. However, some landlords may decide to evict their tenants rather than pay for repairs.

If you have a tenancy with only a short notice period, you have very little protection from eviction. You may decide it's better to put up with some repair issues than risk eviction for reporting repairs.

Get advice if you have reported repairs and your landlord has told you to leave or you are worried that this might happen.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

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