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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.

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

If it is safe and reasonable for you and in line with other Government guidance, you may be able to allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect or fix any urgent health and safety issues.

Urgent health and safety issues might include:

  • Equipment that a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair
  • 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.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement. Your landlord should rearrange any gas safety checks that are booked in over the next few weeks if they cannot go ahead safely. Further guidance is expected from the Gas Safe Register.

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.

You could:

  • take photos of the things that need repairing
  • keep belongings that have been affected (such as clothes damaged by dampness), or take photos of them. Work out how much they are worth.
  • get an expert (eg. an environmental health officer from the council) to inspect your home
  • keep copies of any letters or emails you send to your landlord, and any written response you have received from them
  • always make a note of any conversations you have with your landlord. Include dates, and what was agreed.
  • keep copies of any doctor’s notes or hospital reports which show that your health has been affected by the problem
  • keep receipts for any money you need to spend because of the repair problem (eg if you have to replace clothes or furnishings because of mould)
  • keep energy bills if you have had to spend more eg because of defects to your heating system.

Other pages in repairs and bad conditions

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This page was last updated on: April 20, 2020

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.

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