Paying rent when repairs are a problem

You shouldn’t withhold your rent. You might be able to negotiate a rent reduction if repairs are causing problems.

Don’t withhold rent

You don't have an automatic right to stop paying rent even if:

  • your health is at risk

  • important things like a boiler or toilet are broken

  • repairs are taking too long or causing disruption

  • you can’t live in your home or use all your rooms

What happens if you do

Your landlord can take steps to evict you if you don’t pay your rent.

Some tenants withhold rent anyway because they think this will make their landlord do the repairs.

This can be risky but if you decide to do this, make sure you keep the money set aside and don't spend it. Pay it as soon as the problem is fixed.

Paying the rent after repairs are completed won’t always protect you from eviction.

Ask for a rent reduction

You can ask for a reduction if your everyday living has been disrupted during repair work or because of disrepair.

Your landlord is not automatically required to reduce your rent but you can negotiate. 

Email or write to your landlord. Tell them why you think the rent should be reduced and by how much.

Keep records of any emails, letters or messages and get your agreement in writing. Records can help if you decide to make a complaint or claim compensation at a later date. 

Make sure your request is reasonable

A rent reduction could be considered reasonable when, for example:

  • you have to take lots of time off work

  • you're unable to use part of your home

  • there has been excessive and ongoing noise

  • your health is being affected by dust and chemicals

Keep in mind that most repair work will involve some disruption.

Use of gas and electricity

The landlord's workers might have to use your electricity and gas while they're doing repair work.

If you think they've used too much or if it continues for a long time, ask your landlord to pay something towards the bills.

Claim compensation

If negotiation doesn't work, you can sometimes claim compensation in court. 

Going to court can be expensive and takes time. You may not win. 

You should try and negotiate with your landlord first.

Sample emails to landlords about repairs

See our template emails about getting repairs done.

Last updated: 4 August 2019

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