Complain to environmental health about private rented housing

You can ask your council to inspect your home if poor conditions are affecting your health and safety.

When to involve environmental health

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?

Our adviser Nadeem explains that a section 21 notice could be invalid if your landlord's done something wrong.

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. 

Find your local council website on GOV.UK

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.

Use our template letter to ask for an inspection if the council don't arrange one

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.

Find your council's complaints department on GOV.UK

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

You could also consider raising the issue with your local councillor or MP.

Last updated 08 July 2020 | © Shelter

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