Right to repair for council tenants

Council tenants can ask the council to carry out small repairs quickly under the right to repair scheme.

The right to repair scheme

Council tenants can use the right to repair scheme for small repair jobs. The repair must cost less than £250.

The right to repair scheme covers some small repairs to your home. You must allow the council's contractor to carry out the work.

The repairs must be done within a certain time limit. You are entitled to claim compensation they are not.

Contact your council for details of their scheme including a full list of the repairs that are included.

Use the Gov.uk local council finder to request a repair to a council property.

Repairs covered by the scheme

Repairs covered by the right to repair scheme include:

  • unsafe power, lighting sockets or electrical fittings
  • blocked flues to fires or boilers
  • toilets that won't flush
  • blocked sinks, baths or basins
  • loose or broken banisters or handrails

The scheme also covers leaking roofs and leaking or flooding from pipes, tanks or cisterns.

Repairs not covered 

Councils don't charge tenants for repairs covered by the right to repair scheme.

But your council may charge you if it decides you're responsible for the repair.

This could be for:

  • repair of broken glass in windows and doors (unless it was caused by criminal damage such as burglary)
  • replacement of lost keys
  • repair of locks where damage was caused by misuse
  • replacements or repairs needed because something was damaged or broken through misuse

How to report repairs 

Councils should have a system for reporting and dealing with repairs.

Many councils have an online reporting repairs form. Most have a telephone number to call.

When you report a qualifying repair, your landlord should:

  • tell you how long it should take to fix
  • explain your rights under the right to repair scheme
  • give you the contact details of the contractor who'll be doing the repair
  • let you know a time and date to be home to let the contractor in

Tell your landlord if you know you're not going to be home when the contractor arrives. Try to make alternative arrangements.

The repair work will be cancelled if you're not home at the arranged time to let in the contractor. You'll need to start the procedure again.

How long repairs should take 

All work on a qualifying repair has to be carried out within one, three or seven working days, depending on how urgent the problem is.

1 working day for repairs to be done if:

  • you have no water or electricity
  • you have no gas or the supply is reduced
  • windows or doors are not secure (for example following a burglary)
  • there is a leak from a pipe, tank or cistern
  • the flue to an open fire or boiler is blocked
  • the heating or hot water are not working between 31 October and 1 May
  • the sewage drain or soil stack are blocked or you only have one toilet and it can't be flushed
  • electrical lighting or other fittings are unsafe

3 working day for repairs to be done if:

  • there is a partial loss of water or electricity
  • the heating or hot water aren't working between 1 May and 31 October
  • a sink, bath or basin is blocked
  • a tap can't be turned
  • you have a loose bannister or handrail or rotten wood on the floor or stair treads

7 working days working day for repairs to be done if:

  • the roof is leaking
  • a door entry phone isn't working
  • an extractor fan is broken


If the contractor doesn't turn up to do the work by the last day of the time limit, let the council know. They should make arrangements for another contractor to do the work.

You are usually entitled to £10 compensation if the second contractor doesn't do the repairs by the time limit. For every extra day's delay, you get another £2, up to a maximum of £50.

If you have rent arrears, the amount isn't paid to you. It's deducted from your arrears instead.

You probably can't claim compensation if the repair work is cancelled because of unforeseen circumstances such as extreme weather.

You won't get compensation if the repairs didn't happen because you didn't report the repair or don't allow access to your home.

Contact your landlord for more information about compensation.

Get advice from Shelter

Get advice about the right to repair scheme.

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

Last updated 03 Dec 2015 | © Shelter

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