Housing help after a fire

Your rights if your rented home is damaged by fire.

Landlord's repair works after a fire

Your landlord can repair your home so that you can move back in. This could take several months if major repair works are necessary.

Find out about health and safety standards for rented homes.

If your home has been very badly damaged, your landlord could decide not to repair it.

Get legal advice if this happens to you.

Responsibility for the fire

Your landlord is responsible for making sure your home has fire safety measures.

Find out more about fire safety in rented homes.

If you or someone in your household caused the fire in your home, your landlord could tell you that you must pay for repairs.

As a tenant, you are responsible for paying for any damage you cause.

Find out more about paying for damage in private rented homes.

Check what your tenancy agreement says about repairing damage in your home.

The landlord could deduct money from your tenancy deposit to pay for the damage or if the damage isn't fixed.

If the fire happened because of faulty electrical appliances, such as an old washing machine provided by the landlord, or poor gas safety or fire safety, the landlord is still responsible for repairs.

Get advice if the landlord insists the fire was your fault and won't pay for repairs.

Responsibility for damaged belongings

Your landlord isn't responsible for replacing or repairing any of your personal belongings that have been damaged or destroyed by fire.

You might be able to get help from a local assistance fund to replace items.

Find out more about sources of cash and other help in a crisis.

If you have home contents insurance, contact your insurer to make a claim.

Find out more from Money Saving Expert about home insurance for tenants.

Paying rent for your fire-damaged home

Your landlord might want you to keep paying rent for your home, even if it's being repaired and you can use only one or two rooms.

You must keep paying the rent. You can be evicted for rent arrears if you don't.

You can ask your landlord for a rent reduction or refund because you can't use all the rooms in your home.

If you can't live in your home, you can ask your landlord to suspend rent payments. Your landlord might agree that you don't have to pay rent while your home can't be lived in.

Check if your tenancy agreement says anything about paying rent if your home cannot be lived in for any length of time.

Get advice if your landlord wants you to keep paying rent for a home you can't live in. 

Homelessness help from the council

Your local council has a duty to provide you with emergency accommodation if you're made homeless by fire.

Anyone made homeless by a fire is automatically treated as being in priority need for homelessness help.

Contact your local council to make a homelessness application.

Rehousing if you have to move out

Your landlord is probably not responsible for finding you somewhere else to live if you can't stay in a home that's been badly damaged by fire. But your landlord might have an insurance policy that will pay for this. Contact them to ask.

If you rent your home from a housing association or from the council, your landlord should provide temporary accommodation if you have to move out.

If you have to leave your home because of fire damage, ask your landlord for an estimate of how long repairs will take.

You should also get your landlord's agreement in writing that:

  • you had to move out due to fire damage
  • you'll be able to move back after repairs are finished

If you have to rent another home

You may have to find somewhere else to live while essential repair work is being done.

If you are still paying rent on your home, you could ask your landlord to pay some of the cost of your temporary accommodation. Your landlord might have insurance that covers this.

You may be eligible for housing benefit for your temporary accommodation but you can't usually claim housing benefit for more than one home.

You won't need housing benefit to cover the cost if you have an insurance policy that covers the cost of temporary accommodation.

Find out more about claiming housing benefit.

Still need help?

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

Or contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone.


Last updated 03 Oct 2017 | © Shelter

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