Repairs and housing conditions
Landlords have a legal obligation to maintain their properties to a decent standard and ensure that they're free from health and safety hazards. In general we find that most landlords are responsible and will carry out repairs when they're necessary, and when they're made aware of them.
Tenants must tell their landlord as soon as possible about any issues, and give them a reasonable time to carry out repairs. If repairs are urgent, such as heating breaking down in the winter, we suggest that tenants phone their landlord so that the repairs can be done as quickly as possible. It's advisable to then follow this up in writing via letter or email.
If you're living in a property where the conditions are generally poor, and you feel that your health or safety may be at risk, you should notify your landlord in writing, via letter or email. We have two template letters you can use to do this. Firstly to inform them of the repairs, secondly to remind them about the repairs and advise that if they don't act immediately you'll contact us to investigate.
You don't have to use these example letters - you can write your own, but we strongly advise that you always contact your landlord first and give them an opportunity to carry out the repairs before involving us. We won't automatically visit your property if you haven't given your landlord the opportunity to resolve the issues first.
It's also possible for you to have the repairs done yourself if you've contacted your landlord and they've refused to do them. There's a very specific process you need to follow in order to do this. You should not withhold your rent. The Shelter website explains the process for doing repairs yourself and provides useful template letters.
If you're in any doubt about doing repairs yourself you should first contact your landlord, and then contact us if the repairs aren't done. You can find more information about repairs in private rented homes on the Shelter and Gov.uk websites.
There are new rules where eviction is taking place following a complaint being made about conditions in the property, where we've been involved in relation to these conditions. Further details on this can be found at the Shelter website.