Reporting repairs and allowing access (social housing tenants)

Council and housing association tenants must let their landlords know about any repair work that needs doing and should allow reasonable access for work to be done.

Call the Gas emergency number 0800 111 999 immediately if there is a gas leak or you notice any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.


Social 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.

You normally have to allow your landlord access to carry out repairs but you can ask your landlord to postpone any repairs which are not urgent.

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

If it is safe and reasonable, you are able to allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect or fix any urgent health and safety issues. Anyone who comes to your property should follow Welsh Government guidance on social distancing.

Urgent health and safety issues might include:

  • 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
  • repairs to equipment that a disabled person relies on.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement but they should be rearranged if they cannot go ahead safely because someone in your home is at high risk or self isolating.  Further guidance for tenants and landlords is available on the Gas Safe Register website.

How do I report repairs?

Report all repairs to your landlord as soon as possible. Do this even if the repair is minor and you’re not that bothered about getting it fixed.

It is often a condition of your tenancy agreement that you report repairs and you may have a tenants’ handbook which should explain who to contact and how to report problems. There should be an emergency number you can call out-of-office hours.

You should be able to report repairs online, 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 happens when I report the problem?

When you report the problem, your landlord should tell you whether the repair is their responsibility, or whether it’s up to you to carry out the work. If you are a council tenant, they should confirm whether or not the repair is covered by the right to repair scheme.

If it is their responsibility, they should also tell you how they are going to deal with it and how long it is likely to take. Your tenants’ handbook or tenancy agreement may tell you how long a particular type of repair should take to be fixed. If the repairs aren’t done within a reasonable time council and housing association tenants can make a complaint using the official complaints procedure.

If you are not happy with the response you get, you may then be able to:

  • complain to the ombudsman
  • take your landlord to court
  • contact the environmental health department
  • do the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from your rent. It is important that you’re careful if you want to do this. You must follow certain rules or you could risk being evicted because of rent arrears. For more information about this procedure click here.

Keep records

Most often the landlord will carry out the necessary repairs. However if you need to take any further action, you should collect all the evidence you can of the repairs that are needed, and what you have done to get your landlord to carry them out.

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information on what type of evidence you will need to gather.

Allowing your landlord access

You must allow your landlord reasonable access to the property so they can assess what repairs are needed and carry out the work. Your landlord (or anyone acting on your landlord’s behalf) should give you at least 24 hours’ notice in writing before coming round, unless it’s an emergency. They don’t have to give you notice to do work in communal areas such as shared hallways or lifts.

If your landlord needs to get access to your home in an emergency, they are entitled to break in if necessary (for example, if a pipe bursts in your home while you’re away and water is leaking into other properties nearby). However, your landlord will have to repair any damage caused if they force entry.

Although your landlord should arrange for repairs to be done, they may ask you to be at home to let in any contractors. Council and housing association tenants’ handbook should explain your landlord’s procedure.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: May 28, 2021

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.