My landlord is not fixing something

I told my landlord about a leak/broken boiler/mould outbreak/infestation and they won't do anything about it.

Answer

Be aware of your rights around disrepair - there are two questions to ask:

  1. Is it the landlord's responsibility? If the only thing that is damaged is something you own, or you caused the damage to, or the landlord has made reasonable attempts to fix (giving you more than 24 hours’ notice to enter at reasonable times of the day) then the landlord is not in the wrong. The landlord may also be unable to act if they need but cannot get permission from the owner of the building or the council.
  2. Is your home unfit to live in? The home could be dangerous, or already making you physically or mentally ill (a doctor’s note would help you convey this). Fitness of a home includes being able to store and prepare food and use hot water. Click here for the government's guidance.

Keeping all your communications in writing (including email or text) will help if the landlord doesn’t respond or you need to ask the council for help or take your landlord to court. Ask the landlord to provide a timescale in which they will make the repairs and tell them you will follow up if it is not done within a reasonable timeframe (you can specify this depending on the seriousness of the problem - some councils suggest 14 days).

If the problem remains after the reasonable timescale you’ve given the landlord (or they’ve given you), send them another email/text which sets out the problem, when you reported this to them previously, and if this has had an impact on your physical or mental health, and gives them another reasonable timescale to respond. Consider copying in your local council’s environmental health department – or sending a copy to them; let the landlord know you’re doing this. 

If the problem remains after the reasonable time period has ended, then ask the council to inspect your home – and let them know if you’re worried the landlord will try to evict you. If the council finds evidence that the property is unfit for human habitation they should serve the landlord with a formal enforcement notice, which would protect you from a Section 21 'no fault' eviction for six months. If your council is unresponsive, please let us know.

This evidence may be useful if the landlord continues to neglect the disrepair and you decide to take them to court under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. This is also an option if the council is unresponsive to your requests and your tenancy started after 20 March 2019. Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-tenants-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018

You might also want to consider contacting your local renters union or expert advice organisations for help.

Depending on how many people live in the property and where it is, your landlord may need to be licensed. If they are, your council might be able to act more quickly. Your council should have a public register of licensed homes to check - let us know if yours doesn't.