Doing the repairs if your landlord won't

You can pay for minor repairs if your landlord will not do them within a reasonable time and take the cost out of your rent.

You can only do this if the repairs are your landlord's responsibility.

You may not be able to do this if you are a council tenant and get housing benefit.

There are risks with doing it because:

  • private landlords might take steps to evict you

  • you must follow a complex process step by step

  • you are responsible for the quality of the work but you cannot 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 do not have the right to stop paying rent even if your landlord will not do repairs.

All tenants with rent arrears are at risk of eviction.

Private tenants can often be evicted without a reason.

Steps you must take

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

You need to send letters 1 to 5 below in order.

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

Find out how to contact your landlord if you do not have their details.

1. Write to tell your landlord about repairs

You must start by sending a letter to let your landlord know that repairs are needed.

Letter 1

Use these templates to contact your landlord.

You can send the letters as an email attachment or by post:

The letters below must be sent in order of 2 to 5.

2. Write again if the work does not start

Write to your landlord again if you do not get a reply to your first letter or if the work does not start.

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

Letter 2

Use these templates to contact your landlord

You can send the letters as an email attachment or by post:

You cannot deduct any other costs or damages 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 quotes and send them 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 will go ahead with the cheapest quote.

Letter 3

Use these templates to contact your landlord

You can send the letters as an email attachment or by post:

4. Arrange for repair work to be done and send receipts

If your landlord has not responded once the deadline has passed, arrange for the work to be done by the contractor that gave the cheapest quote.

Do not proceed if you have doubts about the contractor. You will have to put things right if the work is done badly.

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

Letter 4

Use these templates to contact your landlord

You can send the letters as an email attachment or by post:

5. Write to confirm rent deductions

If your landlord does not pay you, write to them again to confirm you are going to deduct the money from your future rent.

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

Letter 5

Use these templates to contact your landlord

You can send the letters as an email attachment or by post:


More sample emails

See all our template emails about getting repairs done.

Last updated: 19 May 2022

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