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Repairs in your council or housing association home

Complain to your landlord about repairs

You can complain if your council or housing association landlord:

  • refuses to do repairs

  • does not answer when you ask for repairs

  • does the repairs badly

  • takes too long to do the repairs

If your landlord uses a private company for repairs

Complain to your landlord directly if there are problems with the company. Do not let your landlord put you off and say you must keep asking the private company.

Your landlord is responsible.

Before you complain

Always report repairs to your landlord first.

Ask how long the repairs will take. Give your landlord a reasonable time to do them.

Make sure you keep paying your rent while you are sorting out repair problems. Your landlord can try to evict you if you stop paying rent.

Keep good records

Keep all details about repairs you ask for. It is important to keep records and evidence from the start.

Make sure your records include:

  • all letters, emails and messages with your landlord

  • details of phone calls including times, dates and the names of people you speak to

  • photos and videos of all problems, including bad repairs or damage caused by the work

  • when the landlord or their contractor does not turn up

  • medical letters or reports if your health is affected

  • receipts for things you had to buy, for example, to replace damaged belongings

Complain to your landlord

Ask your council or housing association landlord for a copy of their complaints procedure. Check their website for a copy or a complaints form.

Your landlord should make sure their policy is clear and easy to follow.

Read the policy carefully and follow the steps.

Put your complaint in writing.

Be as clear as you can. Give details of the problems you've had.

Keep a record of when you send it and when you get responses.

If you're a council tenant, you can find the department to complain to on GOV.UK

How your landlord should deal with your complaint

Your landlord must:

  • take no more than 5 working days to tell you they have received your complaint

  • follow the Housing Ombudsman's rules about complaints

  • investigate your complaint fairly

Councils and housing associations must have a 2 stage complaints process for their tenants and leaseholders. This means you can ask the landlord to look at your complaint again if you're not happy with their decision.

Your landlord must reply to your complaint in:

  • 10 working days when you first complain

  • 20 working days if you ask them to look at it again

This is counted from when they tell you they have received your complaint.

You can complain to the Housing Ombudsman if you are not happy with your landlord's final response.

See the Housing Ombudsman's step by step guide: how to complain to your landlord.

Other ways to get help

There may be other ways to get repairs done or a complaint about your landlord sorted out.

You could contact:

Your councillor or MP can talk to your landlord on your behalf.

A renters union could help you ask for repairs and challenge bad practice by your landlord.

A tenant panel is a group of tenants who work with a social landlord to make sure they give the right services and deal with complaints properly.

What to say

Tell the person you contact:

  • why you complained about repairs

  • why you’re unhappy with your landlord’s response

  • what you want the landlord to do

Legal action against your landlord

You can sometimes take your landlord to court if repairs are not done or are done badly.

You cannot usually complain to the Housing Ombudsman if you take legal action.

Last updated: 1 April 2024

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