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June 22, 2020

7 things to do if your UK landlord is not doing repairs

Landlords in the UK are liable for providing habitable living space to the residential tenants without interfering with their privacy. As a tenant, you have the right to sue your landlord if he or she neglects his or her responsibilities. If your landlord neglects to do vital repairs that leave you exposed to danger, then you have the right to sue your landlord for not fulfilling their responsibilities. 

Here are 7 things to consider if your landlord is not doing repairs in the UK

Below is an example of some of the things your solicitor will help you to do with regards to a medical negligence case. 


Pinpoint the areas that need repair


Gather evidence of disrepair


Reach out to your landlord


Report to the environmental health department


Opt for a mediation service


Decide if you need to take your landlord to court


Seek compensation

Pinpoint the Areas that Need Repair

The lines between the landlord and tenant's responsibilities can sometimes be unclear. 

Whenever you rent from a private landlord, you'll be liable for petty repairs tasks. For instance, it will be up to you to replace a blown-out bulb with a new one.

The landlord is liable for significant repair tasks, such as structural issues, fixing faulty pipes or repairing a broken door.

It's worth noting that a landlord is responsible for making repairs other than improvements.

A repair involves fixing an existing structure or fitting to make it operational or safe for use by the tenant. A landlord is required to carry out such jobs.

On the other hand, an improvement refers to a new structure, fixture or fitting that replaces the existing structures. This is commonly known as an upgrade. It is not the obligation of the landlord to make improvements to the residential property.

If your window is broken to the extent that it demands repair, then this is the onus of the landlord.

However, the landlord is not responsible for installing double glazing, which is deemed an improvement to the property.

If your landlord neglects to perform repairs that he is liable for, then you can take further action.


Natasha Batty

Natasha Batty

Principal Solicitor

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Gather evidence of the disrepair

Take photos of the areas that need repair and send them to your landlord to take the necessary action. This is the best way to communicate with your landlord, especially if he has not been taking oral complaints seriously.

Keep a copy of texts, emails or letters in case you need to refer to them at a later stage.

If you need to do repairs on your own, preserve the receipts. 

With these receipts, you'll be in a good position to request your landlord to deduct such expenses from your monthly rent.

Housing disrepair case study

Find out how a client of ours was awarded £4500.00 after living in a property in disrepair for almost 4 years.

leaking gutter

If the damages are endangering your life and your landlord has neglected to fix them, then it is the right time to report the matter to the respective authorities.

This might include a gas leak or anything that endangers your health.

A landlord is also liable for gas installations and (depending on the contract) appliances. If electric installations and appliances are provided by the landlord then they may be responsible for fixing any faults. Check the terms of your contract.

According to the charity, Shelter, there around 2.5 million people in the UK who are living in rented homes that are not fit for human habitation.

Reach out to Your Landlord

You can't expect your landlord to know if something goes wrong with your property, unless you tell them. 

As a tenant, it's your responsibility to notify your landlord immediately if you discover a problem, especially if it is a significant one that could pose huge damage to your safety, belongings or the landlord's property.

You should contact your landlord or letting agent in writing so that you have records of all correspondence. 

Whenever your landlord or agent is informed that there are areas that need repair, then he or she should act immediately.

Work Timelines

Ideally, tenancy agreements permit the landlords to inspect the premises to establish areas that need repair and maintenance as long as they notify the tenant in writing within 24 hours.

The time taken to mend the disrepair depends on the extent of the problem. For instance, a burst water pipe will need to be rectified quickly when compared to a malfunctioning radiator.  

Report to the Environmental Health Department

Notify your landlord if the disrepair is endangering your health or making your home inhabitable.

If your health concerns are critical or your landlord is taking too long to act on your complaints, then reach out to the environmental health department in your local area to conduct an inspection of your home and offer a detailed report.

Some of the disrepair you can discuss with your local environmental health department include gas leak, mice infestation, mould, and more.

If the report affirms that your house poses a risk to your health, the council will either inform the landlord or carry out the necessary repairs and demand repayment from the landlord.

Many recommendations can be made based on the inspection findings.

Damp and mould in your rented property

Damp and mould are typical concerns in rental properties. Whoever is liable for redressing mould or damp issues will be based on the type of damp and its cause.

As a tenant, it is important to understand various damp home improvement techniques, how to treat them and the cost involved in fixing damp problems.

Prior to making significant steps to tackling the damp, it is important to go through the tenancy agreement and notify your landlord.

Preserve a record of improvements you've made along with receipts. If it's the responsibility of the landlord to redress the mould, then you should seek reimbursement.

Is damp or mould making you ill?

If the disrepair is making you feel unwell or unsafe, then go to your GP.

Ensure they affirm that your health problems are caused by damp or mould and keep a written record as proof.

The next move is to request your council environmental health department to inspect your home.

If the council finds out that the disrepair warrants urgent action, they will issue a notice to your landlord to make the necessary repairs.

However, if your home is found uninhabitable, you may be required to find a new habitable place.

If your landlord fails to comply with the notice, he or she may face criminal charges.

Mediation services for tenants

Taking your landlord to court should be the last resort. It is essential to opt for other dispute resolutions other than going to court.

If you take the matter to the court of law, the jury will take into consideration how both of you tried to resolve the matter.

Mediation dispute resolution is the best approach for private tenants.

For council tenants, the best approach is to notify the local authority about the areas that need repair and their urgency.

Taking your landlord to court

If your landlord has neglected to carry out the necessary repairs despite numerous notifications both verbally and in writing, as well as not responding to mediation, then you may need to take them to court. 

The court will decide based on the tabled evidence. As a tenant, you have to convince the court that the landlord neglected to perform the repairs and how it impacted your life. The court can issue an order compelling the landlord to

  • perform the necessary repairs.
  • pay a certain amount of compensation for damage to your personal belongings or health because of disregarding to do the repairs
  • cover your legal expenses

Claiming compensation from your landlord

Below are some of the ways that you can claim compensation for disrepair

Property Damage

  • Damage to your clothing
  • Furniture 
  • Possessions e.g. damage to electrical items
  • Water damage
  • Any damage incurred as a results of repairs 

Health Damage

  • Any health problems that you can prove are due to the lack of repairs
  • Respiratory issues caused my mould or damp
  • Physical damage cause by faults
  • Emotional and stress related damage

Other Options

If the disrepair has made it impossible to use your rented property, then you may be entitled to seek a rent reduction or refund. This is referred to as abatement.

The amount of rent that can be abated depends on the extent to which your home was uninhabitable.

If the entire house is uninhabitable, then all the rent may be refunded. If only a section of the use is unusable, then you can be accorded rent reduction.

Based on the situation, you can also seek compensation for the inconvenience caused.

The amount of compensation you get awarded will depend on the extent of disrepair as well as the inconvenience caused.

The above are some of the actions that a tenant can take if a landlord neglects to do the necessary repairs in the UK. 

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