Advice Column – Private Rented Sector Disrepair

  • May 18, 2021
  • Posted by: Rosalie Boyles

I’ve been living in my privately rented flat for years. I generally have a good relationship with my landlord, but I just can’t get them to carry out various repairs that have built up. How can I get them to act – and what exactly do they have to do?

This must be a very frustrating situation. The law states that your landlord must provide accommodation that is safe, healthy, and free from things that could cause serious harm. (This is for England – housing is devolved in Wales.)

You don’t say exactly what repairs are needed. If you have problems such as electrical wiring that you think might be faulty, or there’s damp, or an infestation by pests, the landlord has a legal obligation to put things right.

Landlords are also responsible for the maintenance of the general structure, and fittings such as boilers and radiators; basins, baths, and toilets; and the drains.

The first step is to contact your landlord again, in writing. Include photographs of the problems. Keep a record of all communications and evidence relating to the disrepair.

If that doesn’t prompt any action, the housing advisors at Citizens Advice can help with next steps. These could include contacting your local council (who will have dedicated officers for dealing with disrepair in private rented properties) or asking for a visit by the environmental health team.

Tenants can take their landlords to court to force them to carry out repairs. However, it’s worth getting some advice and thinking carefully before embarking on this route.