Your tenancy agreement should say which repairs your landlord is responsible for, and which are up to you.
Tenants normally only have to deal with minor problems and repairs, and your landlord is always responsible for certain things, no matter what the agreement says – this includes all structural and exterior repairs, drains, pipes, gas and electrical equipment. They are also responsible for making sure your home is safe.
Whatever the problem, report it to your landlord as soon as possible (it’s best to do so in writing) and don’t use equipment that might be unsafe.
If a landlord tries to dodge their responsibilities, you may be able to:
- get help from the environmental health department of the local council, if the problem is damaging your household’s health
- take your landlord to court to force them to do the work that’s needed
- arrange the repairs yourself and pay for them out of the rent (but be very careful if you do this – you must follow the correct procedure).
Your options will depend on whether you rent privately, or from the council or a housing association.
Caution: If you rent privately, your landlord may try to evict you, rather than do the work that’s needed. If you have limited tenancy rights, this may be quite easy for them to do, although the landlord still has to follow the correct procedure.
Think carefully and talk to an adviser before you take action. If the problem is minor, you may prefer to live with it rather than risk losing your home. See our pages on repairs and bad conditions for lots more advice.