Reporting, evidence & access

Reporting repairs and allowing access


Private tenants must let their landlords know about any repair work that needs doing and should allow reasonable access for work to be done.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Landlords’ repairing obligations have not changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

You should inform your landlord of any repairs needed to the property by phone, email or online. They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn’t delay repairs unreasonably.

You normally have to allow your landlord access to carry out repairs but you can ask your landlord to postpone any repairs which are not urgent.

You should use your own personal judgement around letting somebody into your home.

What if my boiler breaks, or something else happens which is an urgent risk to my health?

If it is safe and reasonable, you are able to allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect or fix any urgent health and safety issues. Anyone who comes to your property should follow Welsh Government guidance on social distancing.

Welsh Government recommends no work should be carried out in any household which is self-isolating unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety.  Inform your landlord if you are self-isolating, you should arrange for them to contact you either by phone, email or through a family member or friend.

Urgent health and safety issues might include:

  • a leaking roof
  • a broken boiler leaving you without heating or hot water
  • plumbing issues meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
  • broken white goods which mean you don’t have a washing machine or fridge to store food safely
  • security issues such as a broken window or external door
  • repairs to equipment that a disabled person relies on.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement but they should be rearranged if they cannot go ahead safely because someone in your home is at high risk or self isolating.  Further guidance for tenants and landlords is available on the Gas Safe Register website.


How do I report repairs?


Report all repair problems to your landlord (or your landlord’s agent) as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the problem has got really bad – it might end up costing more to put right.

It is often a condition of your tenancy agreement that you must report repairs, so if you don’t do it, your landlord may try to take money out of your deposit.

You can report repairs in person, by phone or text. You should always follow this up with a letter or email confirming the details. Make sure you date any letters and keep copies.

Use and adapt our sample letter Repairs 1.


What if I don’t know who the landlord is?


It should be sufficient to report repairs to any letting agent but, as a tenant you have the right to know the name and address of your landlord.

Ask the person who collects your rent (eg. the letting agent) to provide the details. They must do so within 21 days. If they don’t, they are committing a criminal offence and can be fined.

You can also find the name of the owner of your property by doing a Google search or by searching the Land Registry information here, but you will have to pay a £3 fee for this service.


How quickly should repairs be done?


This depends on the type of repairs needed. There are no fixed time limits, but they should be carried out within a reasonable time. Certain repairs, such as blocked drains or problems with gas should be carried out urgently.

Call the Gas emergency number 0800 111 999 immediately if there is a gas leak or you notice any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.


Do I have to let the landlord come in?


You must allow your landlord access to the property so they can assess what repairs are needed and to carry out the work. They should give you reasonable notice (usually at least 24 hours) before coming round, unless it’s an emergency.

Bear in mind that landlords only have the right to come into the parts of your home that need repair work done. If they need to fix the kitchen sink, for example, it doesn’t mean that they can look round the rest of your home without your permission. If they’re using repairs as an excuse to snoop around or come round all the time, they may be guilty of harassment, which is a serious offence.

Although your landlord should arrange the repairs, they may ask you to be at home to let in any contractors.


What if they want to come in to do improvements?


Your landlord doesn’t have the right to come into your home to carry out improvements, unless this is specifically stated in your tenancy agreement. They will have to get your permission before entering your home. If they want to make your home nicer, it may be in your best interests to agree, but bear in mind that they may want to increase your rent as well.


Keep records


If your landlord refuses to carry out repairs, you might need to take further action. It’s important to always keep records of the repairs that are needed, and what you have done to get your landlord to carry them out.

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information on what type of evidence you will need to gather.

Other pages in repairs and bad conditions






Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Tenants doing repairs

Doing the repairs yourself

If you have caused damage to the property, or if your landlord is refusing to do repairs which are their responsibility, then you might need to do the repairs yourself.

In both situations you must follow the correct procedure and understand the risks involved.

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information.

Responsibility for damage

If you accidentally or deliberately damage your home in any way, you will be responsible.

It may be better to get the damage repaired yourself – otherwise you could lose your deposit when you leave. Get the landlord’s agreement before any work is started and always get receipts for any work you have done, and for any parts or materials you buy.

What if my landlord is refusing or delaying carrying out repairs?

Agreeing with your landlord for work to be done yourself

If your landlord has agreed that the repairs need doing but hasn’t done them yet, they may be happy for you to arrange for the work to be done. Ask your landlord to confirm in writing that they will pay for everything before the work is started. They may want you to get estimates from more than one contractor before they will agree to this.

Withholding rent

You do not have the right to stop paying rent because your landlord won’t do repairs. Your landlord can take steps to evict you if you don’t pay the rent, even if you have a good reason why you are not paying.

If you do decide to stop paying rent, you should keep the rent money aside in a separate bank account. This will ensure that you can pay off the rent arrears immediately if you have to.

Doing the work yourself and deducting the cost from the rent

It is possible to do repairs without your landlord’s agreement and take the cost out of your rent but it is very risky. You must follow the correct procedure (see below) otherwise you risk being evicted for rent arrears.

Other pages in repairs and bad conditions

Repairs in private tenancies
Repairs in social housing

Home safety
Getting adaptations
Problems with neighbours
Overcrowding
Mobile home site conditions
Flooding

See all advice topics

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

How to deduct repair costs from rent

You must follow all the steps below if you want to pay for repairs and take the cost out of your rent. Otherwise, your landlord could evict you.

Be sure to keep copies of all letters and emails, and keep accurate records of what you have paid and when.

1

Write to your landlord letting them know what repairs are needed and allow time for them to be done.

2

Write to your landlord telling them that you will arrange the work yourself unless they are done within a certain time.

3

Get 3 quotes for the repair work from reliable contractors.

4

Send the quotes to your landlord.

5

If your landlord hasn’t responded, arrange for the work to be done by the contractor that gave the cheapest quote.

6

Pay for the work yourself and send a copy of the receipt to your landlord, asking them to refund the money.

7

If your landlord doesn’t pay you, write and confirm that you are going to deduct the money from your future rent.

Will I be responsible for the quality of the work?

Yes. Make sure the repairs are carried out properly – whether you do them yourself or get a professional in to do them. Never try to do them yourself if you’re not sure what you’re doing, or if gas or electricity is involved. If you carry out or arrange repairs that are done badly, you’ll be legally responsible for the consequences.

Is the place fit to live in?

Health and safety standards for rented homes (HHSRS)


All rented homes must meet certain health and safety standards. The council can inspect your home and use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess if there are risks. They can take action against landlords if risks are identified.



What is the HHSRS?


The HHSRS assesses faults in your home and how they might affect your health and safety. The HHSRS considers how likely it is that a hazard would occur and how serious the outcome would be. If the assessment shows your home isn’t safe, the council can take action against your landlord.

The HHSRS looks at lots of different things, including:

It covers problems in communal areas and outside spaces as well as problems inside the house.

If you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO), there are also limits on the number of people who can live in the property. The number of people allowed depends on the number and location of cooking, washing and toilet facilities. If you live in an HMO and think any of these facilities are not adequate, get advice as soon as you can. Your home may be dangerous.

The Residential Landlord Association Cymru have produced a ‘Safe and Secure‘ home guide which gives examples of the most common hazards in the home.


What should I do first?


Firstly, you need to think carefully about whether to take action. In particular, consider whether your landlord is likely to try to evict you rather than do the work. He/she may be able to do this if you are an assured shorthold tenant, an occupier with basic protection or an excluded occupier.

Secondly, you should report any problems to your landlord in writing, and allow a reasonable time for them to be fixed. The time needed will depend on the urgency of the problem. If the landlord does nothing, you could send a second letter, warning that you will contact the environmental health department if the repairs are not done by a certain deadline.

Use our sample letters to help you:

  1. Repairs 1 – 1st letter to report repairs
  2. Repairs 2 – 2nd letter to report repairs.

What can the council do if there are hazards in my home?


If your landlord does not respond or deal with the problems, you can ask the council’s environmental health department to come out and inspect your home. Use our sample letter requesting an EHD inspection.

The inspection should happen quickly if there’s a serious risk of harm to you or your family. You might have to wait longer for an inspection at busy times of the year or if the disrepair problems are less urgent.

If the council decides that your home includes a serious hazard, they have to take action.

They can do this by:

  • issuing a hazard awareness notice – this warns the landlord that the council is aware of the problem
  • giving your landlord an improvement notice, ordering the landlord to carry out certain repairs or improvements by a certain time
  • ordering the closure of all or part of a building or restricting the number of people who live in the property
  • taking emergency action, to do the repairs themselves and reclaiming the costs from the landlord
  • making an order to demolish the property
  • buying the property from the landlord under the compulsory purchase rules.

If the council identifies minor repair issues in your house, they do not have to take action. However, they can decide to enforce the improvements, to avoid future problems.


What if the environmental health team won’t help me?


If the environmental health department doesn’t take action, you may be able to:

  • take the landlord to court yourself
  • if your landlord is the council or a housing association, complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
  • challenge the environmental health department’s decision not to take action by complaining to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales or by way of judicial review through the courts.

Get advice from Shelter Cymru if you are considering doing any of these things.


What if I have to move out?


If you have to move out of your home because it’s no longer safe for you to live there or is being demolished, you can make a homeless application to the council’s housing department. If you don’t have anywhere else to go, they may have a duty to rehouse you.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

Responsibility for repairs

Responsibilities for repairs


Council and housing association landlords are normally responsible for most repairs. As a tenant, you are probably only responsible for some minor maintenance and for putting right any damage you have caused.

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information.


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Landlords’ repairing obligations have not changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

You should inform your landlord of any repairs needed to the property by phone, email or online. They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn’t delay repairs unreasonably.

You normally have to allow your landlord access to carry out repairs but you can ask your landlord to postpone any repairs which are not urgent.

You should use your own personal judgement around letting somebody into your home.

What if my boiler breaks, or something else happens which is an urgent risk to my health?

If it is safe and reasonable, you are able to allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect or fix any urgent health and safety issues. Anyone who comes to your property should follow Welsh Government guidance on social distancing.

Welsh Government recommends no work should be carried out in any household which is self-isolating unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety.  Inform your landlord if you are self-isolating, you should arrange for them to contact you either by phone, email or through a family member or friend.

Urgent health and safety issues might include:

  • a leaking roof
  • a broken boiler leaving you without heating or hot water
  • plumbing issues meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
  • broken white goods which mean you don’t have a washing machine or fridge to store food safely
  • security issues such as a broken window or external door
  • repairs to equipment that a disabled person relies on.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement but they should be rearranged if they cannot go ahead safely because someone in your home is at high risk or self isolating.  Further guidance for tenants and landlords is available on the Gas Safe Register website.



What am I responsible for?


It’s up to you to look after the property and avoid causing any damage wherever possible.

This involves:

  • keeping your home reasonably clean
  • not damaging the property or any contents provided, and not allowing your family or guests to do so either
  • carrying out minor maintenance, like checking smoke alarm batteries
  • using the heating properly, to avoid dampness and burst pipes.

In most cases, you will also be responsible for interior decoration. Your tenancy agreement should set out exactly who is responsible for what.


What is my landlord responsible for?


Your landlord will always be responsible for repairs (unless your tenancy is for a fixed term of 7 years or more) to:

  • the structure and exterior of the building – this includes the roof, walls, windows and external doors
  • central heating, gas fires, fireplaces, flues, ventilation and chimneys
  • water, pipes, basins, sinks, toilets and baths, drains and guttering
  • gas pipes, electrical wiring, and any appliances provided
  • common parts such as lift, communal entrances.

Landlords have certain extra responsibilities for gaselectrical and fire safety in your home.

They must also make sure that your home is free from any hazards that could affect the health and safety of anyone in your household.

Your tenancy agreement may give your landlord extra obligations, such as the maintenance of fences or boundary walls around your home – check to see what it says.


What about damp?


Your home could be affected by any of the 3 common types of damp:

  • condensation
  • penetrating damp
  • rising damp.

It isn’t always easy to work out who is responsible for sorting out problems with damp, because it’s often difficult to identify what’s causing the problem. But your landlord will usually be responsible if the damp is the result of:

  • leaking pipes
  • a structural defect (such as a leaking roof)
  • an existing damp proof course that is no longer working (if there wasn’t one to begin with, your landlord does not have to put one in).

Condensation is often caused by lack of ventilation, lack of insulation, and/or inadequate heating. Where this is the case, the landlord must take steps to remedy the problem, for example, by improving the heating or ventilation in the property. Bear in mind though that condensation can also be caused by drying clothes indoors or not using heating systems properly. If this is the case, your landlord is probably not responsible.

You can contact the council’s environmental health department if your landlord doesn’t fix the damp problem. They can inspect the property and take action against the landlord if they think there is damp and/or mould growth causing a hazard.


What about my own appliances and installations?


Your landlord is only responsible for maintaining any electrical appliances and installations that have been supplied with the property.

They are not responsible for repairing any appliances or installations that belong to you or which you have had installed. For example, if you have bought a dishwasher or tumble drier and had it installed, you will be responsible for its upkeep.


What about communal areas?


Your landlord is responsible for repairs to areas that are shared with other people, such as hallways, stairs, or lifts.


What about gardens?


Your tenancy agreement should say who has responsibility for the upkeep of your garden. It is often the tenant’s responsibility, although this doesn’t mean that you will have to improve the garden if it is in a mess when you move in.

If the garden is shared with other tenants, you may all share responsibility for the upkeep, unless one tenant has agreed to take it on. However if the garden is not mentioned at all it is possible that neither you nor your landlord has responsibility.


What about decorating?


Tenants are usually responsible for the internal decorations unless work is needed because of dampness or disrepair that is the landlord’s responsibility. Before carrying out any redecoration you should get your landlord’s consent.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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Repairs in private tenancies

Repairs in private tenancies


If you are a private tenant and your home needs repairs, your landlord is responsible for most repairs, but you also have some responsibilities. This section explains who is responsible for what and what you can do if your landlord refuses to carry out repairs.

You might want to download our Disrepair factsheet.

If you are under 25 take a look at our Repairs and bad conditions advice page, specifically put together for young people.


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Landlords’ repairing obligations have not changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

You should inform your landlord of any repairs needed to the property by phone, email or online. They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn’t delay repairs unreasonably.

You normally have to allow your landlord access to carry out repairs but you can ask your landlord to postpone any repairs which are not urgent.

You should use your own personal judgement around letting somebody into your home.

What if my boiler breaks, or something else happens which is an urgent risk to my health?

If it is safe and reasonable, you are able to allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect or fix any urgent health and safety issues. Anyone who comes to your property should follow Welsh Government guidance on social distancing.

Welsh Government recommends no work should be carried out in any household which is self-isolating unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety.  Inform your landlord if you are self-isolating, you should arrange for them to contact you either by phone, email or through a family member or friend.

Urgent health and safety issues might include:

  • a leaking roof
  • a broken boiler leaving you without heating or hot water
  • plumbing issues meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
  • broken white goods which mean you don’t have a washing machine or fridge to store food safely
  • security issues such as a broken window or external door
  • repairs to equipment that a disabled person relies on.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement but they should be rearranged if they cannot go ahead safely because someone in your home is at high risk or self isolating.  Further guidance for tenants and landlords is available on the Gas Safe Register website.

Responsibility for repairs

This section explains what repairs your landlord is responsible for, and what your responsibilities are as a tenant.

Is the place fit to live in?

All rented properties must meet certain standards to make sure they are safe and fit to live in.  Find out what you can do to make sure your property is safe.

Tenants doing repairs

There are some situations where private tenants have to carry out repairs themselves, for example where a tenant has caused damage. If you want to do repairs because your landlord won’t do them, there’s a procedure you must follow.

Reporting, evidence and access

Private tenants must let their landlords know about any repair work that needs doing. Tenants also have to allow reasonable access so that the work needed can be done.

Furniture and equipment

If you rent privately and the place is furnished, it’s likely that both you and your landlord have responsibilities to repair or replace furniture and other household items provided.

Disruption and poor work

If your landlord arranges repairs, they are responsible for the builders’ work. This page explains what you can do if the work isn’t done properly, or if it causes major disruption.

Moving due to disrepair

If you’re living with serious disrepair, sometimes moving out may be the best option. If you are considering doing this you need to understand your rights and responsibilities.

Taking court action

If a landlord won’t carry out repairs, it may be possible to get a court order instructing them to do the work and/or claim compensation.

Compensation for disrepair

If disrepair in your home has made you ill, caused you inconvenience and stress, or damaged your belongings, you might be able to claim an amount of compensation from your landlord.

Risk of eviction

Before you take action, you need to consider the risk that your landlord might try to evict you rather than do the repairs.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

Repairs and bad conditions

Repairs and bad conditions


This section provides information about the rights you have if your rented home needs repairs. It also explains what you can do if you are worried about safety, or your home has become unsuitable for you.

You can also download our Disrepair factsheet.


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Landlords’ repairing obligations have not changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

You should inform your landlord of any repairs needed to the property by phone, email or online. They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn’t delay repairs unreasonably.

You normally have to allow your landlord access to carry out repairs but you can ask your landlord to postpone any repairs which are not urgent.

What if my boiler breaks, or something else happens which is an urgent risk to my health?

If it is safe and reasonable, you are able to allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect or fix any urgent health and safety issues. Anyone who comes to your property should follow Welsh Government guidance on social distancing.

Urgent health and safety issues might include:

  • a leaking roof
  • a broken boiler leaving you without heating or hot water
  • plumbing issues meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
  • broken white goods which mean you don’t have a washing machine or fridge to store food safely
  • security issues such as a broken window or external door
  • repairs to equipment that a disabled person relies on.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement but they should be rearranged if they cannot go ahead safely because someone in your home is at high risk or self isolating.  Further guidance for tenants and landlords is available on the Gas Safe Register website.

For urgent advice please call our expert housing advice helpline on 08000 495 495

or, for non-urgent enquiries please use our email advice service. An adviser will aim to reply to emails within five working days.

Repairs in private tenancies

If you are a private tenant and your home needs repairs, your landlord is responsible for most repairs

Repairs in social housing

This section explains the rights you have if your home needs repairs and you rent from a council or housing association

Home safety

This section looks at fire, gas and electrical safety. It explains how to prevent accidents and what you should do in an emergency

Getting adaptations

It may be possible to get adaptations carried out to make your home more suitable for you

Problems with neighbours

Find out what you can do if your neighbours are noisy or are harassing you. If you are having a dispute with a neighbour it is a good idea to seek mediation to resolve problems before they get worse.

Overcrowding

Find out who qualifies as legally overcrowded and what you can do if you are living in overcrowded conditions.

Mobile home site conditions

If you live on a protected site, there are several options open to you, whether you rent or own your mobile home

Flooding

Find out what you can do about rehousing and repairs if your home is flooded.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.