Disruption and poor work in social housing
If your landlord arranges repairs, it is their responsibility to make sure the work is carried out properly. This page explains what you can do if the work in your council or housing association home isn’t done properly, or if the repairs cause major disruption.
Your landlord must make sure that repairs are carried out properly. This includes ensuring that:
- the standard of the work is adequate
- the work has been not been delayed unreasonably
- the work has been finished
- the work has not caused other repair problems
- internal decorations and personal belongings have not been damaged.
If you’re not happy with the standard of the repairs, you should report the problems to your landlord as soon as possible. If you are not happy with your landlord’s response you should complain, using your landlord’s formal complaints procedure (this is usually set out in your tenancy handbook or on your landlord’s website).
If you are a council tenant using the right to repair scheme for minor repairs you can claim compensation if the work isn’t done within a specific time limit.
Damage to belongings / furnishings
Your landlord must try to avoid damaging internal decorations and your personal belongings whilst repair works are being carried out.
Your landlord is responsible for repairing any damage caused by the disrepair or by the work to fix it. For example, the landlord should repair any damaged plaster or wall coverings, repaint if needed and replace any damaged items such as carpets.
You might be able to claim compensation in the county court if repair work has caused damage to your belongings or furnishings.
Disruption during repair works
Your landlord should keep disruption to a minimum when they carry out repairs in your home.
If your home needs serious repairs and this is very disruptive, or makes rooms unusable, you can ask your landlord for a reduction on your rent. This is called a ‘rent abatement’. You can do this while the repairs are being carried out or after the repair work has been done.
The amount you can get will depend on how much of the property you can use. For example, if you can only use half the property while the repairs are being carried out, you should get a 50% reduction of your rent. However, you can’t claim a rent abatement if you rent from the council and are claiming Housing Benefit.
If your landlord refuses to give you a rent abatement, you might be able to claim compensation in the county court.
You do not have the right to stop paying rent during repairs.
Can workmen use my electricity and gas?
Inevitably, the landlord’s workers will have to use your supply of electricity, gas and other services during repair works. If you think the usage is excessive, or if it continues for a long time, speak to your landlord and see if you can arrange for them to make a contribution towards your utility bills.
Moving out temporarily
If your landlord needs to carry out major repairs to the property, such as structural work or asbestos removal, they may ask you to move out for a while.
If this happens, before you move out, ask your landlord about:
- paying rent
- how it will affect a housing benefit claim
- how much they will pay towards any extra costs you have, such as removal costs
- how long the work will take.
You should also ask for your landlord’s agreement in writing that you’ll be able to move back to your home after repairs are finished.
Your landlord might offer you temporary accommodation for you and your household but is under no obligation to do so. Check your tenancy agreement to see if it says anything about the circumstances under which they will offer temporary accommodation.
Moving out permanently
If your landlord is unable to carry out major repairs with you still in the property and you won’t move out voluntarily, your landlord may try to evict you.
If you are a secure council tenant or a secure housing association tenant, your landlord can only evict you if they can offer you suitable alternative accommodation. If you have been living in your home for over a year, you might be able to get a home loss payment. You will need to apply to your landlord for this payment. The maximum amount of home loss payment you can receive in Wales is currently £5,900 (from December 2018).
If you are an assured (or assured shorthold) housing association tenant or an introductory council tenant your landlord can evict you and does not have to offer you anywhere else to live. You will not be automatically entitled to a home loss payment.
Get advice if you are in this situation.