Private landlords are required to make sure a property is safe, secure and fit to live in before you move in, and to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair throughout your tenancy.

Repair responsibilities 

Your landlord will be responsible for most major repairs, and will normally be responsible for repairs to:

  • the structure of the property
  • sanitary fittings in the property and any permanent fixings
  • heating and hot water systems
  • damage resulting from attempting repairs
  • other hazards that may be identified such as fire alarms or broken handrails¬†

As a tenant you will usually only be responsible for minor maintenance. You do have a duty to take reasonable care of the property and to put right any damage that you (or any guests) have caused.

Your landlord is not obliged to repair anything that belongs to you, unless it has been damaged because they didn't carry out their repair obligations.

Requesting a repair

Report any repair work that needs doing as soon as possible to your landlord (or letting agency).

If you report the repair in person, by phone or by text first, you should then follow this up with a letter or email confirming the details.

After you have reported a repair problem your landlord should tell you when you can expect the repairs to be done.

If they do not carry out repairs in reasonable time or refuse to carry out the repair, it is a good idea to keep evidence you can provide in case you need to take further action. This can include copies of correspondence between you and your landlord, including dated letters and emails. You could also take photos of the repair work that needs doing.

What can I do if repairs are not carried out?

If your landlord does not carry out the required repairs, you may be able to take court action, or ask us (as the local housing authority) for help.

You can ask us to inspect the property under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and to take any necessary action.

If we identify any serious hazards we must take enforcement action to make sure that the hazard is removed.

We may decide to take enforcement action for less serious hazards, if considered necessary. In these cases we must contact the landlord to give notice that we will be carrying out the risk assessment.

In most cases we will not take any further action until your landlord has been given an opportunity to address the problems.

Withholding your rent

If you withhold your rent your landlord may be able to take action against you, including seeking a court order to evict you. 

In some cases you may be able to offset rent against repairs your landlord has not done but you should always seek legal advice as this could result in you losing your home.