Landlord responsibilities for improvements in your home

Your landlord only has to carry out improvements to your home in certain situations.

Landlord responsibilities for improvements

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home but this doesn't usually include improvements. 

Improvements could be large or small. Examples include:

  • new curtains or furniture
  • painting and decorating
  • replacement windows
  • a new kitchen or bathroom
  • building a conservatory  

You could ask for permission to do the improvements yourself if your landlord won't improve your home.

When your landlord must improve your home

Your landlord must carry out and pay for improvements if the council gives them an improvement notice because there's a risk to your health.

Your landlord may also have to carry out improvements if repairs don't fix an underlying problem.

For example, if rising damp is an ongoing problem that needs repeated repairs, they may have to install a damp proof course. 

Disability adaptations

If you have a long term disability which affects your day-to-day living, your landlord must make reasonable adjustments if you ask for them.    

What is considered reasonable can depend on what is practical and affordable. Councils and housing associations may have to do more than private landlords.  

You can also ask your landlord's permission to get adaptations done yourself. You may be able to get a disabled facilities grant to fund the work. 

Find out more about asking for disability adjustments from Citizens Advice

How to ask for an improvement

Put your request for an improvement in writing. Keep it polite and friendly.

Make sure you explain how the improvement will help if it's related to a:

  • disability
  • health and safety risk

Be prepared to negotiate if your landlord doesn't have to carry out the improvement.

Private tenants

Before you contact your landlord, think about how long you're likely to be living there. 

Improvements might not be worth it if you have to leave in the near future.

It can help if you have a good relationship with your landlord and have lived there for some time.

You could point out that improvements may increase the value of their property. You could offer to pay something towards the improvements.

Be aware that your landlord might increase the rent if the property is improved.

Council or housing association tenants

Your landlord may have improvement works planned in the near future. Check to see if the improvement you want is scheduled.

You could ask for permission to do the work yourself if your landlord refuses an improvement.

You won't usually need permission for smaller jobs like painting and decorating.

Get any agreement in writing

Make sure you get any agreement in writing. You should get details of:

  • what has been agreed
  • who is paying for what
  • the schedule of works
  • any agreement about rent

Last updated 05 Aug 2019 | © Shelter

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