There are several options available to you if your rented property falls into disrepair. Arts SU Advice Service can advise you on which steps you should take to resolve the issues you’re experiencing.
What can I do?
Your landlord is usually responsible for most repairs in your home unless you have caused the damage. If you’re unsure about a particular issue you can check your tenancy agreement although it’s always worth getting a second opinion about whether what’s written is fair. You can send your contract to the Arts SU Advice Service and we will highlight anything unusual.
You should report all issues to your landlord in writing so that you have a record; this could be a text or an email. It can also be useful to keep records including photographs or anything you’ve had to do as a result of the disrepair. This can include things like a note from the doctor if it has affected your health.
It’s really important that you don’t withhold rent, even if your landlord hasn’t done the repairs, or they may try to evict you. Always make sure you report any issues to your landlord as this is a condition of most tenancies. Not doing so can often lead to deductions from your deposit.
You may be concerned that if you raise repair issues your landlord will try to evict you, this is what is known as a “revenge eviction”. However, depending on the type of tenancy you are in, you might have some protection against this. To read more on this, click here.
If your landlord or letting agent still won’t complete any repairs, there are a few things you can do before getting the local council authority involved. It’s always best to check they have received your original request. If your property is managed by a letting agency they may have a complaints procedure that you can follow. If this doesn’t work you can complain to their redress scheme.
What can the local council authority do?
If the disrepair in your home could affect your health and safety, you can ask your local council to help. Their Environmental Health Department can inspect your home to get an idea of the problem.
After the inspection the council will decide if it needs to take any action. They can issue a variety of notices which would compel your landlord to undertake the repair work or they may decide they need to carry out emergency repairs if there is an immediate risk to your safety.
What can the courts do?
If you’ve told your landlord about issues and they haven’t been fixed in a reasonable amount of time, you may be able to take legal action against them. The downside to this is that you will have to pay court fees although these can sometimes be waived if you have a low income. The court can order your landlord to carry out the work by a specific time or even pay you compensation.
What can the Arts SU Advice Service do for me if I’m experiencing disrepair?
Get in touch
10am-12pm - Monday to Friday - 272 High Holborn, WC1V 7EY
020 7514 6270
*Correct as of April 2019