Moving out during repairs

If you rent privately and your home needs major repair work, you may need to move out for a short time or even permanently.

If you’re asked to move temporarily

Your landlord may ask you to move out temporarily during major repair work to your home.

Before you leave, ask your landlord to confirm in writing:

  • how long the works will last
  • if you have to pay rent during this period
  • your right to return to the property after the work is completed
  • any compensation or costs they are willing to pay

Unless it is part of your tenancy agreement, your landlord does not have to provide you with somewhere else to live.

Your landlord can apply to the courts for an order for you to leave temporarily if you refuse to move while repairs are being done.

Get advice to check your rights if you have to leave your home temporarily.

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

If your landlord wants to evict you

Your landlord could decide to end your tenancy in order to carry out repair work.

Your landlord will need to give you notice to leave. How much notice depends on the type of tenancy you have. Some landlords need a legal reason to evict you.

Your landlord has to follow the correct legal procedure to evict you. The eviction may be illegal if they don’t. Most landlords must get a court order.

Use Shelter's tenancy checker to check your rights

Your landlord can't try to force you out by making life difficult for you. If they do, they may be guilty of harassment.

Taking action to stop eviction

You may be able to take action to stop your landlord evicting you.

If you are an assured shorthold tenant there is some protection against revenge evictions for complaining about repairs.

If you're facing eviction:

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone

If you want to move permanently

You might decide to look for somewhere else to live if the disrepair in your home is bad and your landlord refuses to fix it.

You must end your tenancy properly if you want to leave. The process is slightly different depending on if you have a fixed-term or a periodic (month-to-month or week-to-week) tenancy.

You could be liable for the rent even after you have left if you don't. You may also lose your deposit if you don't give the correct notice.

If you still have a few months left on your tenancy agreement your landlord can say you have to pay rent for the whole period. You can consider taking court action to claim compensation for failing to carry out the repairs if they do.

Apply as homeless

You can make a homelessness application if your home isn't safe to live in.

Do not give up your home before your homeless application is accepted. The council could decide you made yourself intentionally homeless.

Returning home after repairs

Ask your landlord to do more repair work if the repairs have not been finished or done badly. Your landlord is responsible for fixing any problems caused by the repair work.

Claim compensation

You can make a claim for compensation if the repair problems in your home:

  • caused you inconvenience
  • damaged your belongings
  • made you or someone in your household ill

You must have told your landlord about the problems and allowed them a reasonable time to do them.

You can start court action during your tenancy or after it's finished as long as it's no more than 6 years (or 3 years for a personal injury claim) after you first told your landlord about the problem.

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone


Last updated 16 Nov 2017 | © Shelter

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