Does the home you rent in East Staffordshire need repairs?Most landlords act in a responsible way and keep their properties in good condition. However a landlord will sometimes fail to carry out necessary repairs or maintenance and the property may fall into a state of disrepair.
I am a tenant and there are some problems with my house. What can I do?
Normally, your landlord is legally responsible for repairs to the structure of the building: the roof, windows, doors, drains, gutters, baths, sinks, toilets, heating, hot water, damp and general building repairs.
When a repair needs doing by the landlord, tell them (or their agent) in writing as soon as possible in a dated letter. Keep a copy of the letter for yourself. Phone them first if it’s an emergency (such as a burst pipe) and then write as well.
You have to give the landlord a reasonable time to do the repair. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take; it depends on the urgency of the job. A blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window for example.
If the landlord has not responded within a reasonable time then it is recommended that you write to them again to remind them.
Your landlord has the right to come into your home to check what needs repairing, but they must give you at least 24 hours notice and must come at an agreed time (although you’ll obviously want them to come as quickly as possible if it’s an emergency job).
I have asked the landlord (or their agent) to do repairs for which they are responsible and they have not done them. What can I do?
You do not have the right to withhold rent because of disrepair so you need to keep paying the rent in full. If you fail to pay the rent and then become homeless the Council is likely to conclude that you are homeless intentionally.
The Council encourages you to take action, but before you do you need to be aware that your landlord might respond by serving notice to end your tenancy - what is called retaliatory eviction - or by increasing the rent. If you have an assured shorthold private sector tenancy and the fixed term has ended the landlord can give you 2 months notice to leave without giving you a reason, or (subject to the tenancy agreement) give you 1 months notice of increasing the rent. One approach to encourage the landlord to act might be to say in your reminder letter to them that you do not want to have to complain to the Council, but even this carries a risk.
If your landlord has failed to respond or do repairs within a reasonable time despite you reminding them, you can:
What does the Council do when it investigates a complaint about housing?
If you ask us to investigate we will need to visit and carry out a housing health and safety inspection of the property. If we believe there may be an imminent risk of serious injury we will normally visit within 1 working day. (9am - 5pm Monday-Friday). In most cases we aim to visit within 5 or 15 working days, depending upon the alleged disrepair.
Our assessment will use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System that identifies high-risk (category one) hazards and lower-risk (category two) hazards. If any category one hazards are found the Council has a duty to take action. This action will be one of the following:
When we choose which option is the most appropriate we will follow guidance issued by the government and our own Enforcement Policy. In most cases we will either serve a Hazard Awareness Notice or an Improvement Notice.
Failure to comply with a notice or order could result in the council completing the repair at the landlords cost and/or the landlord being prosecuted.
Repairs - A Guide for Landlords and Tenants
Citizens Advice Bureau - Disrepair in Rented Accommodation
www.tenancyagreement.com - information about tenancies including tenant rights and responsibilities
(note however that the Council does not endorse external websites)
If you require any further information please contact:Housing Standards TeamTel: 01283 508680Email: firstname.lastname@example.org