Complain about council or housing association repairs

Find out what action to take if your council or housing association landlord refuses to do repairs, takes too long or does them badly.

Before you complain

Make sure you report the repair problem to your council or housing association landlord and allow them a reasonable amount of time to do them.

You do not have the right to stop paying your rent if repairs aren't done.

If you don't pay the rent, your landlord could take steps to evict you.

Keep records

Keep records and evidence about the repairs, what you've done to get your landlord to carry them out, and any work that has been done.

Records will help support any claims you make as part of a complaint.

You should keep:

  • letters or emails sent to and from your landlord
  • photos of the problem
  • details if the landlord or contractor did not turn up for a visit or to carry out the repairs
  • a record of any calls about the problem
  • doctor's notes or hospital reports that show your health has been affected by repair problems
  • receipts for money spent (for example to replace belongings damaged by mould)

Use your landlord's complaints procedure

If you’re a council tenant, check your tenants' handbook or landlord's website for details about complaining to your council.

Housing associations and housing co-operatives should also have a formal complaints procedure.

Complain to the Ombudsman

Complain to the Housing Ombudsman Service if you have gone through your landlord's complaints procedure and are not satisfied with the result.

If the ombudsman agrees with your complaint, they can recommend that your landlord takes steps to put things right. They can also ask your landlord to pay you compensation.

Most councils and housing associations take the steps the ombudsman suggests.

Complain to environmental health

You can ask the environmental health department to send someone to inspect your home for health and safety hazards.

Environmental health may be able to take enforcement action against your landlord if you are a housing association tenant.

If you are a council tenant, they can give the council's housing department advice about what to do to improve conditions in your home.

A report from environmental health can be used as evidence for a complaint or legal action.

Consider legal action against your landlord

It may be possible to take your landlord to court if you reported repairs but they weren't done or have been done poorly.

The court can order your landlord to carry out repairs.

If you claim benefits or have a low income, you may qualify for legal aid to help pay for legal advice or representation.

Contact Civil Legal Advice to check if you're eligible or use the GOV.UK legal aid checker.

Claim right to repair scheme compensation

Some minor repairs in council tenancies are covered by the right to repair scheme.

If these repairs are not done on time, you can claim a small amount of compensation.

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person.

Last updated 19 Apr 2018 | © Shelter

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