Complain to environmental health about private rented housing

Environmental health is a department of your local council. The council must monitor housing conditions in the area, including private rented properties.

Report any repair problems to your landlord or agent before contacting the council. 

Consider taking your complaint to the council if your landlord or agent:  

  • doesn't respond

  • fail to fix things within a reasonable time

Environmental health only look into serious repair problems that could affect your health or put you at risk.

Can you be evicted if you complain about repairs?

Contact the right team at the council

Most councils have a private rented housing team. 

This team is usually your first point of contact as a private renter. They can refer you on to environmental health if the problem is serious enough.

You should be able to find the team's contact details on your council website, usually within the housing or homes section. 

What to expect

The private rented housing team will take details of what's happened so far.

They may want to see:

  • evidence that you've reported the problem

  • copies of any emails or letters

With your permission, they might contact your landlord to negotiate on your behalf. 

Sometimes councils are slow to respond to a complaint. Be persistent. Get the name of anyone you speak to on the phone and ask what the next steps will be. 

Home visits and inspections

The council should come out to inspect your home if the problems appear serious and the landlord is not taking steps to put things right.

They might do an informal home visit before deciding if a formal environmental health inspection under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is needed. 

The council will usually inform your landlord that they intend to inspect the property.

If the council does not arrange an inspection, you can send this letter:

If the council won't inspect or take action

You can complain if you don't think the council has dealt with your problem properly.

Ask for a copy of their:

  • housing enforcement policy

  • complaints procedure

Check the council have followed their own housing enforcement policy. If not, you can use the complaints procedure.

If you're not satisfied with the council's response to your complaint, you can complain to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman.

You cab also raise the issue with your local councillor or MP.

Last updated: 19 May 2022

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