Can I withhold rent and pay for the repairs myself?

  • Using rent money to pay for repairs increases the risk of your landlord trying to evict you
  • You are responsible for the quality of any work you arrange to be done in your home
  • If you caused damage in your home you are responsible for the costs of putting it right 

If you have caused damage to the property, or if your landlord is refusing to do repairs which are their responsibility, then you might need to do the repairs yourself. 

In both situations you must follow the correct procedure and understand the risks involved. 

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information. 

Responsibility for damage 

If you accidentally or deliberately damage your home in any way, you will be responsible for any costs involved in putting it right. It may be better to get the damage repaired yourself – otherwise you could be charged by your landlord when you leave. Get the landlord’s agreement before any work is started and always get receipts for any work you have done, and for any parts or materials you buy.

What if my landlord is refusing or delaying carrying out repairs? 

If you have a community landlord and they are refusing to do repairs which are their responsibility, then you might decide to use your rent money to do the repairs yourself. 

You do not have a right to withhold your rent and so you should only use your rent money to pay for the repairs if you follow the correct procedure and understand the risks involved. 

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information. 

Withholding rent 

You do not have the right to stop paying rent because your landlord won’t do repairs. Always think carefully before withholding rent.  

How easy would it be for the landlord to evict me if I withheld rent? 

This depends on the type of renting agreement you have. If you have an introductory standard contract or a prohibited conduct standard contract or another kind of standard contract with a community landlord, you can’t be evicted to avoid carrying out work or repairs, but it might be easier to evict you if you have rent arrears.  

If you do not have an occupation contract and are an occupier with basic protection or an excluded occupier (e.g., if you have a licence in temporary or supported accommodation), you can be usually be evicted without your landlord giving a reason and you are not protected from retaliatory eviction. If you have limited rights and the repairs are not essential, it may be better to live with things as they are. It is usually better to get the repairs done in another way.  

Whatever type of renting agreement you have, it’s essential to follow the correct procedure (see below).  

Your landlord can take steps to evict you if you don’t pay the rent, even if you have a good reason why you are not paying. 

If you do decide to stop paying rent, you should keep the rent money aside in a separate bank account. This will ensure that you can pay off the rent arrears immediately if you have to. 

How to deduct repair costs from rent 

It is possible to do repairs without your landlord’s agreement and take the cost out of your rent but it is very risky. You must follow the correct procedure (see below) otherwise you risk being evicted for rent arrears. 

Be sure to keep copies of all letters and emails, and keep accurate records of what you have paid and when. 

 1. Write to your landlord letting them know what repairs are needed and allow time for them to be done. 

2. Write to your landlord telling them that you will arrange the work yourself unless they are done within a certain time. 

3. Get 3 quotes for the repair work from reliable contractors. 

4. Send the quotes to your landlord. 

5.If your landlord hasn’t responded, arrange for the work to be done by the contractor that gave the cheapest quote. 

6. Pay for the work yourself and send a copy of the receipt to your landlord, asking them to refund the money. 

7. If your landlord doesn’t pay you, write and confirm that you are going to deduct the money from your future rent.  

Will I be responsible for the quality of the work? 

Yes. Make sure the repairs are carried out properly – whether you do them yourself or get a professional in to do them. Never try to do them yourself if you’re not sure what you’re doing, or if gas or electricity is involved. If you carry out or arrange repairs that are done badly, you’ll be legally responsible for the consequences. 

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: June 22, 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.