You must first contact your landlord about repairs or maintenance of your privately rented home before asking for our assistance.
Asking your landlord for property repairs
You should contact your landlord to report anything that requires repairing in your privately rented home. You can send them a letter or email, describing the repair issue. There are letter templates available on the Shelter website, that you might find helpful.
Taking action against your landlord
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 legislation exists to give tenants the power to take action against their landlord if they do not make the necessary repairs or maintenance of a privately rented home. This allows tenants to raise their concerns as a breach of contract to the Court, on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation.
The remedies available to tenants include an order by the Court that requires the landlord to reduce or remove the hazard and compensation of damages for having to live in a property that was not fit for human habitation.
The Shelter website also offers advice about properties being fit for human habitation that you may find useful.
Help for private rent tenants
We have an enforcement team who have a legal obligation to protect tenants in privately rented accommodation. We can help protect you from the inappropriate or illegal behaviour of your landlord, including for example; putting your health and safety at potential risk.
We're unable to produce reports of property conditions for civil claims or support re-housing applications or influence your position on our housing register.
Our obligation is to ensure that your landlord completes any necessary repairs so that you're able to continue living in your home, free from any risk to your health and safety. We can help you if your landlord refuses to carry out repairs. Before reporting such defects to us, you must:
- contact your landlord by emailing or writing to them to explain the problem
- allow your landlord two weeks to respond after you've reported the problem to them. If nothing is done or your landlord has not responded to you, you should try contacting the landlord again
- allow your landlord one week after your second attempt to resolve the issue. If you've not heard from your landlord within this time, you should send a final letter or email to them and inform them that you're giving them 48 hours to respond
- keep copies of all correspondence with your landlord, as we might ask you to provide them.
If you don't receive a response from your landlord after your final correspondence, you can report the problem to us and we will investigate further.
How we handle defect reports
Our Private Rented Sector Enforcement Team will review your defect report. We may contact you for further information such as copies of correspondence or pictures of the disrepair. To progress your case, we will:
- send a letter to your landlord informing them that we're aware of the repairs and to request they arrange for them to be sorted out. We also ask for the landlord to keep us informed of the progress and upon completion of the repairs
- send you a letter to inform you that we've made contact with your landlord and we'll ask that you also keep us informed of the progress.
If your landlord does not respond to us or carry out the repairs, we'll contact you to arrange a full inspection of your property. We'll then:
- inform your landlord of the repairs required and give them a timescale for sorting them out, if they are classed as high-level disrepair
- if the repairs are classed as low-level, then your landlord will be informed as to what they are and be advised to address them
- where there is high-level of disrepair, we'll take legal action against your landlord if they fail to meet the given timescale. This is to make sure the repairs are carried out for you.