Is my home fit to live in?

  • Your landlord has a responsibility to make sure your home meets ‘fitness for human habitation’ standards. 
  • If you have a new occupation contract, your home should be fit to live in from the beginning of the contract until you move out 
  • You might be able to take court action if your home is not fit to live in 

Which renting agreements are covered  

The rule that rented homes are fit to live in applies to all occupation contracts except fixed term standard contracts of 7 years or more. 

This includes if you rent from: 

  • a community landlord 
  • a private landlord  

What renting agreements are not covered? 

If you do not have a secure or standard occupation contract you will not be covered by the fitness rules. You might not have an occupation contract if you live in some temporary or supported accommodation with a licence or common law tenancy or your renting agreement comes under another exception 

However, even if your renting agreement is not covered by the fitness rules, your landlord will probably be responsible for the repairs and ensuring that the property does not present a serious hazard. If you are unsure what kind of renting agreement you have, check our renting advice pages.

What makes a home unfit to live in? 

Whether your home is fit to live in or not will usually depend upon a number of factors but there are certain things that have to be done. Your landlord must: 

  • provide working smoke alarms (these must be on each storey, mains-wired and connected to each other)
  • provide working carbon monoxide alarms in each room where there is a gas, oil or solid-fuel appliance
  • provide you with a copy of a valid electrical installation condition report (these are valid for a mximum of 5 years, but can be valid for shorter periods)    

If you moved in on or after 1 December 2022

If your occupation contract began on or after 1 December 2022, and any of the above has not been done then your home would be classed as unfit to live until the landlord complies. 

If you moved in before 1 December 2022

If you moved into your home before 1 December 2022 you have a converted contract. Your landlord should have provided carbon monoxide alarms from 1 December 2022. They must have have installed mains-wired smoke alarms on every storey from 1 December 2023, and must have given you a valid electrical report before 15 December 2023.

Your home would be classed as unfit for any period during which your landlord hadn’t complied with the above.

Conditions that could make your home unfit

There are other matters that should be taken into account in deciding whether your home is fit to live in. For example:  

  • damp and mould growth 
  • excessive cold or heat 
  • overcrowding
  • risk of falls 
  • risk of rats, mice or other pests 
  • fire risks 
  • structural or internal disrepair 

For a full list see Welsh government’s guidance for contract-holders. 

If you have a secure or standard occupation contract, your landlord should have ensured that none of the matters listed made your home unfit. This should have been done from 1 Dec 2022 if you have a converted contract, and for any new contracts beginning from that date.

If your home does have some of these poor conditions it doesn’t always mean it is unfit to live in. Your home is only unfit if the problems in the property make it unreasonable to live there.  This could be because the conditions: 

  • seriously affect your health  
  • cause a high risk of physical harm or injury 
  • prevent you from making full use of your home 

If you think your home is not fit to live in becuase of unhealthy or unsafe conditions, you will probably have to show that the problem is so bad that it’s not reasonable for you to live there. 

If your home is fit to live in but you still have issues with disrepair or poor conditions, your landlord could still be responsible. Take a look at our disrepair pages for more information.

When might the landlord not have to act?  

There are some circumstances when the landlord does not have a legal responsibility to act even if your home is unfit to live in. These include: 

  • if your home has become unfit because of something you did 
  • if it would cost too much to make your home fit to live in 
  • repairing anything that you are allowed to remove from the property
  • rebuilding anything that has been destroyed by a fire, storm, flood or any other incident that couldn’t have been prevented
  • if the landlord has not been made aware that the property is unfit
  • the landlord needs permission from someone else to do the work, has tried to get permission but been unable to (for example, if work is needed in a corridor of a block of flats and your landlord only owns your flat)

Get help from an adviser if you think your home is unfit and your landlord says it is fit or that it is not their responsibility. You may have to ask a court to decide.

What you can do if your home is not fit to live in 

Paying rent 

You should check what your contract says about paying rent if your home is not fit to live in. Even if your contract says that rent is not due when the property is unfit, it is best to keep rent aside so that you can pay it if a court decides that your home is fit.  If you don’t pay the rent your landlord might try to evict you. If you are a standard contract-holder and fall into serious rent arrears of 2 months or more it will be easier for your landlord to evict you (see below).  

Court action 

You can take court action if you think your home is unfit to live in.  

The court could order your landlord to: 

  • carry out any work needed to make the property fit 
  • if the work is urgent, order it to be done immediately 
  • pay you compensation  

Court action can be very expensive and complicated. To find out more, please read our advice about court action for repairs or fitness. 

Can I take action if my name isn’t on the occupation contract?

If the contract-holder has given you permission to live in their home, you are a ‘permitted occupier’ and you can use the Fitness Regulations.  

However, if you have a lodger’s agreement or sub-occupation contract with the contract-holder, and their contract with the landlord doesn’t allow lodgers or subletting, you can’t use the Fitness Regulations. Subletting arrangements can be complicated, get help from an adviser if you are in this situation. 

Can your landlord evict you instead of making your home fit to live in? 

If you have a secure contract, your landlord can’t evict you unless you have breached your contract.  

If you have a standard contract and your landlord gives you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice (section 173) or landlord’s break clause notice could argue in court that it is a retaliatory eviction.   

However, if you have a private landlord and are given notice for serious rent arrears, the court might have to grant the landlord a possession order if you are in 2 months arrears at the time you received the notice and at the court hearing. For more information see our eviction pages.  

If you have a community landlord, you can ask the court to review the landlord’s decision to give a ‘no fault’ or notice for serious rent arrears. You will need an adviser or solicitor to help, as reviews can be complicated.  

If you ask your landlord to make your home fit to live in and they give you notice, get help. 

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
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.

This page was last updated on: Mai 9, 2024

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.