Problems during council or housing association repairs

You may want to ask for a rent reduction, claim compensation or make a complaint if there are problems with repairs in your home.

Standard of repairs

It is your landlord's responsibility to make sure repair work is carried out properly.

Repairs should be

  • completed within a reasonable time
  • not cause other repair problems

If you're not happy with the standard of the repairs or if the problem has not been fixed completely, report this to your landlord.

You should also contact your landlord if the contractors do not turn up. If you are a council tenant using the right to repair scheme for minor repairs you can claim compensation if the work isn’t done within a specific time limit.

Find out more about action you can take if your landlord has done repairs to a poor standard

Damage caused by repairs

Your landlord must try to avoid damaging internal decorations and your personal belongings.

Your landlord is responsible for repairing any damage caused by the disrepair or by the work to fix it.

For example, the landlord should repair any damaged plaster or wall coverings, repaint if needed and replace any damaged items such as carpets.

You can claim compensation if repair work has caused damage to your belongings.

Disruption during repairs

Your landlord should keep disruption to a minimum when they carry out repairs in your home.

You can ask your landlord for a reduction on your rent if repairs to your home are very disruptive or make rooms unusable. If your landlord refuses to reduce the rent, you could take them to court to claim compensation.

You do not have the right to:

  • be rehoused while repairs are completed
  • stop paying rent during repairs

Use of your electricity and water

The landlord's workers will probably have to use your electricity, gas and other services during repair works.

Ask your landlord to make a contribution towards your bills if you think they have used too much or the repairs take a long time.

If you have to move out

You may have to move out of your home if it needs major repairs that make it unsafe to live in.

This could include:

  • major structural work
  • asbestos removal
  • fire damage
  • flood damage

Before you move out, ask your landlord about:

  • paying rent
  • how it will affect a housing benefit claim
  • how much they will pay towards any extra costs you have, such as removal costs
  • how long the work will take

You should also ask for your landlord's agreement in writing that you'll be able to move back to your home after repairs are finished.

Temporary accommodation

Your landlord could offer you temporary accommodation for you and your household. Check your tenancy agreement to see if it says anything about the circumstances under which they will offer temporary accommodation.

You can complain to the council or make a complaint to your housing association if you don't think the accommodation is suitable.

You may prefer to make alternative arrangements and stay with friends or family while the repairs are being done.

Eviction due to repairs

Your landlord can take court action to evict you if the repair works cannot be done unless you move out.

Some repairs may take longer and cost the landlord more because you are still in your home. The landlord cannot use this as a reason to ask you to leave.

If you are a secure or flexible council tenant or a secure housing association tenant, your landlord can only evict you if they can offer you suitable alternative accommodation. You can get a home loss payment if the move is permanent.

A court can evict you if the housing association cannot carry out major repairs with you still in the property if you are an assured (or assured shorthold) housing association tenant.

The housing association does not have to offer you anywhere else to live if this happens.

You could also be evicted if you are an introductory council tenant. The council does not have to offer you anywhere else to live if this happens.

Get advice if you are facing eviction.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

Make a complaint

You can complain to your council or housing association landlord about repair issues. Ask your landlord for more information about this or check your tenants' handbook.

You do not have the right to stop paying the rent if repairs are unfinished or not done properly.

If you're not happy with the response you receive, you can:

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone

Last updated 02 Nov 2017 | © Shelter

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