Right to repair scheme for council tenants
If you are a council tenant you can use the right to repair scheme to get small repair jobs done quickly.
What is the right to repair scheme?
The right to repair scheme is designed to ensure that council tenants can get certain minor repairs completed quickly and easily. It sets time limits for certain types of repair, which councils must stick to. If the contractors the council uses don’t do the work in that time, you can ask them to hire someone else. If the repairs still aren’t done, you can claim compensation.
What repairs are covered under the scheme?
The right to repair scheme only covers certain repairs, known as ‘qualifying repairs’, which cost less than £250 to carry out. They include repairs to:
- unsafe power or lighting sockets or electrical fittings
- blocked flues to fires or boilers
- leaking roofs
- toilets that won’t flush
- blocked sinks, baths or basins
- leaking or flooding from pipes, tanks or cisterns
- loose or broken banisters or handrails.
Your landlord may need to come and look at the problem before they can tell you whether it is a qualifying repair. Ask the council for a full list of repairs that come under the scheme.
Reporting repairs under the scheme
Always report a repair to your landlord as soon as you can. Most councils have an online system for reporting repairs.
Use the Gov.UK search tool to find out how to report a repair under the scheme in your area.
When you report a qualifying repair, your landlord should:
- tell you how long it should take to fix the problem
- explain your rights under the right to repair scheme
- give you the contact details of the contractor who they usually get to do this type of repair, and at least one other approved contractor
- arrange for you to be at home to let the contractor in.
How long do repairs take under the scheme?
All work has to be carried out within 1, 3 or 7 working days, depending upon the urgency of the repair.
1 working day if:
- no water or electricity, you have no gas, or the supply is reduced
- the flue to an open fire or boiler is blocked
- the heating or hot water are not working between 31 October and 1 May
- electrical lighting or other fittings are unsafe.
3 working days if:
- partial loss of water or electricity
- the heating or hot water are not working between 1 May and 31 October
- a sink bath or basin is blocked
- a tap cannot be turned
- you have a loose banister or handrail, or rotten wood on the floor or stair treads.
7 working days if:
- roof is leaking
- a door entry phone is not working
- an extractor fan is broken.
What if I’m not there when the contractor arrives?
If you’re not home at the arranged time to let in the contractor, the repair work will be cancelled and you’ll need to start the procedure again.
What if the repairs aren’t done in time?
If the contractor doesn’t turn up to do the work by the last day of the time limit set, call the council again. They should call another contractor on their list, to arrange for them to do the work.
You can’t use a contractor who isn’t on your landlord’s list.
How much compensation can I claim?
If the second contractor doesn’t do the repairs by the time limit, you are normally entitled to £10 in compensation. For every extra day you wait, you will get another £2, up to a maximum of £50.
If you have rent arrears, the amount will be deducted from your arrears rather than being paid to you directly.
What if a repair isn’t covered?
The right to repair scheme does not cover repairs that cost more than £250 to carry out. Your landlord should have a procedure for dealing with these kinds of repairs, which should be explained in your tenants’ handbook.
When you report the repair, your landlord should let you know how long it will take to get the work done. There is no legal time limit, but the work should be done within a reasonable time.