Problems during council or housing association repairs

What you can do if council or housing association repairs cause problems or the work is done badly.

Staying in your home during repairs

You have the right to stay in the property while repairs are being carried out. The landlord should try to make sure there's not too much disruption.

Some repairs might take longer and cost the landlord more because you are still in your home. The landlord cannot use this as an excuse to ask you to leave.

Having repairs carried out means that you might have to put up with some disruption. You do not have the right to be rehoused while repairs are being completed.

You do not have the right to stop paying the rent during repairs.

If repairs to your home are very disruptive (for example, if some rooms are unusable) you can ask your landlord for a reduction on your rent.

Moving out during repairs

You may have to move out of your home if it needs major repairs or has been badly damaged in a fire or flood.

Your landlord should provide you with alternative accommodation.

Before you move out, ask your landlord about:

  • paying rent
  • how much they will pay towards any extra costs you have, such as removal costs
  • how long the work will take

You should also ask for your landlord's agreement in writing that you'll be able to move back to your home after repairs are finished.

Find out more about housing help after a flood.

Eviction during repair works

Your landlord can take court action to evict you if the repair works cannot be done unless you move out.

If you are a council tenant or a secure housing association tenant, your landlord can only evict you if they can offer you suitable alternative accommodation. You can get a home loss payment if the move is permanent.

If you are an assured (or assured shorthold) housing association tenant, a court can evict you if the housing association cannot carry out major repairs with you still in the property. The housing association does not have to offer you anywhere else to live if this happens.

Get advice if you are in this situation.

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

Call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444.

Use of your electricity and gas

The landlord's workers probably have to use your electricity, gas and other services during repair works.

If you think they have used too much or if it continues for a long time, ask your landlord if they can make a contribution towards your bills.

Responsibility for repair work

Your landlord must make sure that their repair work is carried out properly. 

The work should:

  • be completed within a reasonable time
  • not cause other repair problems

The landlord should also make sure that internal decorations and your personal belongings are not damaged.

Your landlord is responsible for repairing any damage caused by the disrepair or by the work to fix it. 

For example, the landlord should repair any damaged plaster or wall coverings, repaint if needed and replace any damaged items such as carpets.

Find out more about responsibility for repairs.

Complain if repairs aren't done properly

If you're not happy with the standard of the repairs, report any outstanding disrepair.

Find out more about reporting repairs.

You can also complain using your landlord's formal complaints procedure. Ask your landlord for more information about this or check your tenants' handbook.

You can complain to the ombudsman or take your landlord to court if you're not happy with the response you receive.

Claim compensation

You may be able to claim a small amount of compensation through the right to repair scheme if you are a council tenant.

Find out more about the right to repair scheme.

Take legal action

You can consider taking your landlord to court if the repairs affect your quality of life. For example if the repairs:

  • make you ill
  • cause major inconvenience or stress
  • mean you can't use all your home
  • damage your belongings

Find out more about taking your landlord to court.

Last updated 01 Sep 2015 | © Shelter

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