What to do if you identify a hazard in your rented home

If you are living in the property and have concerns about its condition you should first contact the landlord or the managing agent to get it put right.

Don’t be frightened about raising your concerns. You have the right to live in a safe and secure home.

In almost all tenancies, the landlord is by law required to keep the property in a good state of repair provided the tenant has not caused the damage. If the landlord does not carry out the necessary repairs you can take action, including reporting the matter to the environmental health department of your local council.

If the council gets involved it will normally carry out an inspection to identify what hazards exist. They will look at the health risks related to the hazards listed below and if they find poor conditions that are a serious risk to your, or your family’s health and safety, they have a duty to take action to eliminate or reduce the hazard.

The council does not have to take action in every case – they will make an assessment based on the hazard criteria set out at the end of this guidance document. The local authority will not charge you for this service.

Repairing obligations

Although hazards may result because a property is in need of repair, in general, the council cannot directly get involved to require a landlord to comply with the repairing obligations.

You will need to go to the county court for that and to make any claim against the landlord for disrepair.

You should note the landlord is not required to carry out repairs where you or your family have caused the damage. However, a landlord has a right to carry out repairs and you must allow access. You cannot be charged for the repairs unless you caused the damage.

According to Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the landlord is always responsible for repairs to:

  • The property’s structure and exterior
  • Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains
  • Heating and hot water
  • Gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation
  • Electrical wiring
  • Any damage they cause by attempting repairs.

The landlord is usually responsible for repairing common areas, such as staircases in blocks of flats, but the tenancy agreement should confirm this.

The Landlord does not have to repair damage the tenant has caused. If water leaks into another flat from an overflowing bath, the tenant is responsible for paying for the repairs.

Tenants are responsible for paying to put right any damage caused by their family and friends.