What if your private landlord will not do repairs

Your landlord must:

You are responsible for any damage that you, your family or guests cause.

Wear and tear caused by normal everyday living by the tenant does not count as damage.

Your landlord should fix things that break through fair wear and tear.

You should report repairs to your landlord as soon as you can.

Keep records and evidence

Keep records and evidence of the repair problem. This can help if you take further action.

Proof of the problems can include:

  • photos of the problem and any damage to your belongings

  • emails, texts and letters to and from your landlord

  • doctor’s notes if your health is affected

Write to your landlord again

Make sure they are aware of what the problem is. Send an email or letter so you have a record of it. 

When you write to them:

  • remind them of their responsibility to do repairs

  • suggest dates and times when the repair could be done

  • tell your landlord the level of repair that you would find acceptable

Give your landlord a reasonable deadline to respond to your letter. 

Complain to the letting agent

You can complain to the agent if you face unreasonable delays.

You can escalate your complaint to the letting agent's redress scheme if you're not happy with their response.

Contact the council's private renting team

Your next step could be to report your landlord to your council's private renting team.

Do this if your landlord or agent:

  • delay repairs unreasonably

  • do not respond or fix the problem

The council's private renting team can help get your landlord to do the repairs and refer you for a home visit or inspection from the environmental health team if the problem is serious.

Ask your local councillor to contact the private renting team on your behalf if you’re having trouble getting the council to do an inspection.

It's up to you whether you tell your landlord that you are planning to report them to the council’s private renting team.

It may encourage them to do the work but it could increase your risk of revenge eviction.

If you arrange a repair yourself

It could be risky to either do the work yourself or pay someone else to do it.

You are responsible for the standard of work. Your landlord could charge you to put right any damage or further problems caused by the work.

There’s no guarantee you will be able to recover the costs of the repair from your landlord.

Deducting the costs of repairs from your rent

Ask your landlord if you can do the repairs yourself and deduct the costs from your rent. Get it in writing if they agree.

You can use a process if you want to pay for repairs and deduct it from your rent.

If you follow the process properly, any underpayment of rent should not count as rent arrears. But this does not stop your landlord giving you a section 21 eviction notice.

Consider legal action

You can take your landlord to court if they won't deal with repairs in your home. 

You should only consider legal action as a last resort. 

If you do take legal action, the court can order your landlord to:

  • carry out the repair work

  • pay you compensation

Use our letter templates

We have more letter templates for private tenants who need repairs done.

Choose a template

Last updated: 26 June 2022

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