Doing the repairs if your landlord won't

If your landlord won't do repairs, there's a procedure you must follow if you want to arrange to have the work done and bill your landlord.

When you can deduct repair costs from rent

It is possible to pay for minor repairs if your landlord won't do them within a reasonable time and take the cost out of your rent.

But there are risks with doing this:

  • private landlords might take steps to evict you

  • there is a process you must follow and it is time consuming

  • you are responsible for the quality of the work but you can't do it yourself

  • if you get benefits to help with rent, your payments could be suspended or reduced until the issue is resolved

Do not withhold rent. You don't have the right to stop paying rent even if your landlord won't do repairs.

All tenants with rent arrears are at risk of eviction.

Private tenants can often be evicted without a reason.

If you decide to deduct repair costs from your rent, you must follow all the steps below.

1. Write to tell your landlord about repairs

You must let your landlord know that repairs are needed.

Keep copies of all letters to and from your landlord and accurate records of what you've paid.

Check the repairs are your landlord's responsibility.

2. Write again if the work does not start

Write to your landlord again if you don't get a reply or if the work doesn't start.

Explain that unless the repairs are done within a certain time (for example 2 weeks), you'll arrange the work yourself and take the cost of the repairs out of your rent.

You can't deduct any other costs from your rent money.

You can ask your landlord for compensation to cover extra costs caused by the repair problem. For example, if you had to replace damaged belongings.

3. Get 3 quotes and send to your landlord

If your landlord does not fix the problem by the deadline, get 3 quotes for the repair work from reliable contractors.

Send the quotes to your landlord with a letter explaining that unless they get the repairs done within a certain time (for example 2 weeks), you'll go ahead with the cheapest quote.

4. Arrange for repair work to be done

Once the time you gave your landlord has passed, if your landlord hasn't responded, arrange for the work to be done by the contractor that gave the cheapest quote.

Don't proceed if you have doubts about the contractor. You'll have to put things right if the work is done badly.

5. Send receipts to your landlord

Pay for the work yourself and send a copy of the receipt to your landlord with a letter asking them to refund the money.

6. Write to confirm rent deductions

If your landlord doesn't pay you, write and confirm that you're going to deduct the money from your future rent.

Explain exactly when the deductions will start and how long they'll last.

Last updated: 14 December 2021

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