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Tenant complaints

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.

  • You must do minor jobs yourself, like replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink.
  • An infestation of insects, mice or rats etc may be your responsibility or the landlord's responsibility depending on the cause and if your tenancy/licence agreement defines responsibility
  • You must also repair damage that you or your visitors have caused. Check your tenancy agreement to see whether it requires you to notify the landlord.

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 can contact the Environmental Health Team on 01283 508578 to record a Housing Complaint. You will need to provide details of any disrepair that you are concerned with and we will ask for the details of your landlord, and/or letting agent along with the date that you made them aware of the disrepair. In most cases we will contact the landlord or letting agent and advise them to make the necessary repairs. In some cases an officer will need to visit and do a formal inspection, if this is required then you and the landlord will be notified in advance of this visit.   

Please do not withhold any rent because of disrepair. If you do this and it results in eviction due to non payment then the Council is likely to conclude that you are homeless intentionally.

If the landlord threatens to evict you following your complaint please contact us immediately. This is called retaliatory eviction and is not a legal form of eviction, see eviction and harassment.

Other forms of assistance may be available through a solicitor or specialist legal mediation company. They can mediate between you and the landlord and help you to sue the landlord in court. The court can award damages and order repairs to be done. You will need evidence of the disrepair, your contacts with the landlord, and their failure to carry out the repairs. 

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 nature of the reported 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:

  • Hazard Awareness Notice - Formal notification of the problem to the landlord
  • Improvement Notice - Requires the landlord to take action
  • Prohibition Order - Stops all or part of the property from being used
  • Emergency action - When the Council takes emergency action to remove an imminent risk of serious harm
  • Demolition Order - Requires vacation and demolition of the property

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, a fixed penalty charge of up to £30,000 and/or the landlord being prosecuted.