Disrepair and nuisances
Are mice waking you up in the middle of the night? Is there building work going on at the crack of dawn till late at night? Do you have mouldy ceilings and damp?
There might be things you can do. Take a look at the advice below and see our pages on Repairs and bad conditions for much more information.
If you and your flatmate cannot have a normal conversation without raising your voice because of noise outside your flat, you have a serious noise problem.
Your council’s environmental health department deal with noise complaints so give them a ring. Go to Gov.uk to find your local council.
If you share a house or flat and one of your flatmates is noisy, try talking about it with them first. The best option is to find a compromise, for example, loud music is fine, but only at weekends. If the noise is really excessive and you cannot agree a compromise, you could get your landlord involved as well. If you are in halls of residence approach your university accommodation office or the building manager about it.
When complaining to your landlord, bear in mind that if you have a joint tenancy, or the tenancy is in the other person’s name, your landlord may decide to end the tenancy for everyone – not just the person causing problems.
Mice, rats, cockroaches and little unwanted animals
The initial actions residents and landlords can take are regular cleaning and maintenance to remove the food, water, and possible shelter (for example, stacks of newspapers under a sink should be thrown away). Not only will this help to prevent a pest problem in the first place, it is also crucial to controlling an existing infestation and maintaining a pest-free environment.
If the problem cannot be fixed this way, talk to your landlord or university about it. If this does not solve things, you can contact your local council’s environmental health department. They usually have a pest control section and will deal with rats and mice by baiting and trapping. They may require repairs and other works to be done to prevent their re-entry to the house and to deny them shelter and food. Most councils will also treat for insect pests, but many will charge.
Health and safety issues
If you have one or more of the following problems:
- the structure (i.e. the walls, floors, ceilings and roof) is not stable
- your property suffers from serious disrepair (for example, your heating is not working in the middle of winter)
- it is so damp that it affects your health
- it has no adequate natural and artificial lighting, heating and ventilation
- it has no adequate supply of water suitable to drink
- there are no satisfactory facilities for preparing and cooking food, including a sink with a supply of hot and cold water
- it has no suitably-located toilet
- it has no suitably-located bath or shower and wash basin, each provided with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water
- it has no effective system for draining foul, waste and rainwater
contact your landlord or university.
If your landlord or your university refuses to carry out the necessary works contact your local council’s environmental health department. If a house, flat or university hall of residence is judged by the council to have hazards, it can order the landlord or the university to take steps to deal with those hazards and, if they do not, it can do the necessary works itself. Where conditions are extremely poor, the council can make an order closing the house or order its demolition.
See our page on Health and safety standards for rented homes for more information.
Under your tenancy agreement, the landlord (or your university) is almost certainly obliged to keep in repair:
- the structure and exterior of your house, including its drains and gutters
- the installations inside for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation. The landlord will also be obliged to keep in proper working order the installations for room heating and water heating.
The landlord has a right of entry, after reasonable notice (generally 24 hours, except in an emergency), in order to meet this obligation. If they fail to meet their obligation, having had the problem brought to their attention, and having been given a sufficient time to deal with it, you may be able to take them to court, or get the repairs done yourself, possibly deducting the cost from the rent (you should take advice on this before taking this form of action).
Our pages on Repairs in private tenancies contain lots more advice and resources you can use.
Contact Shelter Cymru, the Tenancy Relations Officer in your local council, or your local Students’ Union for further advice.