Disrepair affecting health if you have a private landlord

  • Private landlords should ensure your home is not a risk to your health and safety
  • You might be able to take court action to get your landlord to remove the hazards in your home
  • If you have a standard occupation contract, your landlord can’t evict you for asking for work or repairs  

Health and safety standards for rented homes 

All rented homes must meet certain health and safety standards. Your home should also be fit to live in. If you have a community landlord, click here. 

The council can inspect your home and use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess if there are risks. They can take action against landlords if risks are identified. 

What is the HHSRS? 

The HHSRS assesses faults in your home and how they might affect your health and safety. The HHSRS considers how likely it is that a hazard would occur and how serious the outcome would be. If the assessment shows your home isn’t safe, the council can take action against your landlord. 

The HHSRS looks at lots of different things, including: 

It covers problems in communal areas and outside spaces as well as problems inside the house. 

If you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO), there are also limits on the number of people who can live in the property. The number of people allowed depends on the number and location of cooking, washing and toilet facilities. If you live in an HMO and think any of these facilities are not adequate, get help as soon as you can. Your home may be dangerous. 

What should I do first? 

Firstly, you should think about whether the landlord is likely to try to evict you. If you are a standard contract-holder your landlord can’t evict you to avoid carry out work or repairs. This is known as  ‘retaliatory eviction’. However, if you are an occupier with basic protection or an excluded occupier think carefully about how you raise the issue with your landlord because you can be evicted easily.  

Secondly, you should report any problems to your landlord in writing, and allow a reasonable time for them to be fixed. The time needed will depend on the urgency of the problem. If the landlord does nothing, you could send a second letter, warning that you will contact the environmental health department if the repairs are not done by a certain deadline. 

What can the council do if there are hazards in my home? 

If your landlord does not respond or deal with the problems, you can ask the council’s environmental health department to come out and inspect your home. 

The inspection should happen quickly if there’s a serious risk of harm to you or your family. You might have to wait longer for an inspection at busy times of the year or if the disrepair problems are less urgent. 

If the council decides that your home includes a serious hazard, they have to take action. 

They can do this by: 

  • issuing a hazard awareness notice – this warns the landlord that the council is aware of the problem 
  • giving your landlord an improvement notice, ordering the landlord to carry out certain repairs or improvements by a certain time 
  • ordering the closure of all or part of a building or restricting the number of people who live in the property 
  • taking emergency action, to do the repairs themselves and reclaiming the costs from the landlord 
  • making an order to demolish the property 
  • buying the property from the landlord under the compulsory purchase rules. 

If the council identifies minor repair issues in your house, they do not have to take action. However, they can decide to enforce the improvements, to avoid future problems. 

What if the environmental health team won’t help me? 

If the environmental health department doesn’t take action, you may be able to: 

Get help from Shelter Cymru if you are considering doing any of these things. 

What if I have to move out? 

If you have to move out of your home because it’s no longer safe for you to live there or is being demolished, you can make a homeless application to the council’s housing department. If you don’t have anywhere else to go, they may have a duty to rehouse you. 

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
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.

This page was last updated on: February 10, 2023

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.