What to do if your rented home is unsafe

Options if your landlord won’t deal with hazards in your rented home.

Hazards that could make your home unsafe

A hazard means there is a risk to the health and safety of someone living in or visiting your home.

Common hazards include:

Your landlord is usually responsible for any repairs needed to deal with a hazard

If your tenancy began or was renewed on or after 20 March 2019 you may have more options to take action against your landlord

Report hazards to your landlord

Contact your landlord immediately if there are hazards in your home.

Find out how to report repairs to a:

Give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to do any repairs that are needed.

Keep a record of:

  • when you contact your landlord 
  • the response you get

Some private landlords try to evict tenants if they ask for repairs

Make a complaint

Private tenants

If your landlord uses a letting agent, you can make a complaint to the agency.

Council and housing association tenants

You can make a formal complaint to the council or your housing association about an unsafe home.

You can contact the Housing Ombudsman if you’re not happy with the way the complaint is dealt with.

Get help from your council

You can contact the council’s environmental health team if your home is unsafe.

An environmental health officer can carry out an assessment of any hazards in your home.

Private tenants

Environmental health can take action to make your landlord deal with the hazards.

Housing association tenants

Environmental health may not take action against your landlord, but they should still inspect.

Council tenants

Environmental health can’t take action, but they can inspect and tell your housing office what work needs to be done.

Consider court action

If your landlord doesn’t do repairs or deal with poor conditions, you could consider taking them to court.

You can ask the court to order your landlord to:

  • do any work that’s needed
  • pay compensation

The court will expect you to show what you’ve done to try and resolve the situation with your landlord.

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person.

Last updated 19 Mar 2019 | © Shelter

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