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What to do if your landlord won’t do repairs
Do you have a nightmare landlord? If you do, you’re not alone. Half of tenants have experienced problems with their rented homes over the past 12 months, ranging from poor maintenance to breaches of their contract, our latest research* shows.
The biggest problem for tenants was their landlord’s failure to fix structural problems including damp, a leaking roof or rotten window frames. Other problems include delays in repairing broken furniture, showers and washing machines, unexpected increases in their rent, disputes over money deducted from their deposits and even early eviction when their landlord sold their property.
Londoners fare the worst
Tenants in London, where more than 10 million people live in private rental accommodation, fared the worst, with 60% saying they experienced problems in the past 12 months. This was followed by those in the East Midlands and the rest of the South East region.
If your landlord won’t repair your home
Landlords have an obligation to ensure that the properties they let are well maintained and safe for their tenants to live in. Tenants shouldn’t be made to live in sub-standard properties. If your landlord is refusing to repair your home after a reasonable period of time there are a number of steps you should take.
1. Collect evidence
Make sure you keep a record of all calls, letters and emails between yourself and the landlord. Take photographic evidence, keep copies of any doctor’s notes if your health has been affected by the problem and any receipts if you’ve had to replace any of your belongings (making sure you keep the items you’ve replaced in case you need them for evidence at a later date).
2. Contact your council
You could contact your local council’s environmental health department to ask them to inspect your home because you consider it unsafe for health and safety reasons. They should be able to offer you help and advice and if they agree that the property is unsafe they could contact your landlord for you.
3. Consider your rights
You might feel like withholding rent until the problem is fixed but this can be risky as the landlord might try to get you evicted. However, if you are an assured or regulated tenant you could have the power to get the work done yourself and then deduct the cost from your rent the following month. You must follow the correct procedure and you need to make sure you keep all your receipts so you can prove what you’ve paid out.
If the tradesperson you choose to use doesn’t do a good job then you’ll have to pay to put things right so make sure you select someone who comes highly recommended.
4. Consider legal action?
As a last resort you might consider legal action against your landlord as a court may force the landlord to make the repairs needed and could pay you compensation. You can get free advice about going down this route from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
*Red Dot questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 5st June and 11th June 2015, of whom 628 were Scottish residents.