How long should a private landlord take to do repairs?
Your landlord should do repairs within a reasonable time from when you tell them about the problem.
The law does not say how long a reasonable time is. It depends how serious or urgent the problem is and how vulnerable the people living in the property are.
It's a good idea to report repairs to your landlord or letting agent in writing.
Landlords have to fix things they are responsible for.
Health problems and vulnerable tenants
Repairs are urgent if they put people who live in the property at risk of serious harm.
Some people could be more seriously affected. For example:
older or vulnerable people
people with mobility problems
anyone with health problems or disabilities made worse by the repair problems
Tell your landlord if you or someone you live with is seriously affected.
Example: Broken stair banisters
You could say:
I need the problem to be fixed within 48 hours because the stairs are unsafe.
Young children or older people live with me and there is a risk of injury.
Damage and risk of injury
Some repairs should be treated as an emergency if they're needed to make your home safe or stop more damage.
leaking pipes that could cause damage, or get into electrics
broken locks on external doors
It is reasonable to ask for problems like this to be fixed within 24 hours.
If this is not possible, you can ask your landlord to make your home safe while they arrange full repairs.
Example: Broken front door lock
You could say:
The front door lock is not working and I am unable to lock the property.
This is unsafe and means I cannot protect my belongings.
Because of this, I need to ask you to fix it before the end of today.
Gas, electricity and fire safety rules
Your landlord must follow gas, electricity and fire safety rules.
Find out about deadlines for:
Landlords also have to provide working smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and repair them if they stop working.
You are responsible for changing smoke alarm batteries.
Repairs during cold weather
Some repair problems should be fixed more quickly in winter.
Example: No heating in winter
You could say:
Please arrange for the repair to be done within 24 hours because of the cold weather.
I am concerned about the effect on my health if the problem is not fixed quickly.
I am also worried that no heating during such cold temperatures will cause further damage to the property.
If the problem keeps happening
Ask your landlord to respond more quickly if the same problem keeps happening.
Problems that are not fixed properly can lead to further risk to health and damage.
Example: Recurring leaks
You could say:
There is still a water leak in the property despite contractors attending.
Please arrange for someone to fix the problem within 24 hours.
I am concerned that the leak will lead to damp. This affects my health and could damage my belongings and the property.
Problems finding a contractor
Your landlord may not be able to get someone to do the repair straight away.
If the property is unsafe to live in, they should still aim to fix the problem in 24 hours.
Remind your landlord about repairs
Write to your landlord again if they do not arrange to carry out the repair after you report it.
Copy our sample text into an email to your landlord or letting agent.
[Use the subject: Follow up request for urgent repairs]
I’m writing again to ask for repairs at [your address].
The repairs needed are [list the repairs needed].
I contacted you about this on [dates of conversations, messages or emails].
The disrepair is: [list any problems caused. For example, if the disrepair affects your health or makes your home unsafe].
Please contact me within the next 2 days to agree a time for the repairs to be done.
I look forward to hearing from you.
You can also send the letter as an email attachment or by post.
Word template: Urgent request for repairs (docx 22kb)
If you deal with a letting agent
Your letting agent should make sure problems are fixed in a reasonable time.
The time starts from when you tell them about the problem.
You could contact your landlord directly if:
your agent takes too long to get the repair done
you do not think the agent has told the landlord about the problem
Complain about the agent if you are not happy with how they're dealing with the repair.
Complain to environmental health
You can complain to your council about delayed repairs if your landlord:
refuses to carry out repairs they're responsible for
has not done repairs after a reasonable amount of time has passed
The council can speak to your landlord on your behalf. If the problem is serious, they could force your landlord to do repairs.
Ask to pay less rent
You could ask for a rent reduction if, for example:
repairs are not done in a reasonable time
you pay for repairs yourself
Your landlord might not agree to pay you back if you pay for repairs. Ask them to confirm in writing if they agree to a rent reduction.
If you want to leave your tenancy
Make sure you have somewhere to move to before you take steps to end your tenancy.
You could take legal action to get repairs done.
This takes time and you might have to pay legal fees. Get legal advice before starting a claim.
Last updated: 8 June 2023