Problems when renting privately


If you have a fault or damage to your home or the fittings and appliances that belong to the landlord, you should:

  • Report the problem, in writing, to your landlord or managing agent of your home. Visit Shelter's website for further advice on how to report problems and for a template letter you can use. You should keep copies of all letters that you send.
  • Follow up your report with an email or letter and keep a copy so you have record of the problem - you will need to produce this written evidence if you need to approach the council with a complaint about housing disrepairs not responded to by the landlord. A follow up template can be found on Shelter's website. 
  • Take photographs of the problem.

If your landlord doesn't do the repair, or takes too long

You must allow enough time and give your landlord access to the property to allow them to do the repair.

If your landlord refuses to do the repair, takes too long to do it or doesn't answer you, we can:

  • Give you advice
  • Talk with your landlord
  • Where appropriate, take action to make sure the repairs are carried out.

When a disrepair complaint is received by us you will need to provide a copy of any correspondence provided by you to your landlord detailing the disrepair issues. If you have not formally notified your landlord of the defects then we will not take any formal action, unless an emergency issue has been reported. You are still expected to report emergency problems to your landlord first. Once you have provided your correspondence and other evidence, such as photographs, the severity of the problem will be assessed and classified either as:

  • An urgent problem
  • A less urgent problem.

You will receive an acknowledgement letter providing you with contact details for the case officer.

All licensed properties will then receive a licence conditions audit. This is a legal request for the licence holder to submit a number of relevant documents, including:

  • Up to date inspection records
  • Gas safety certificates
  • Electrical safety certificates
  • Tenancy deposit paperwork
  • Tenancy agreements.

Unlicensed properties will be referred to us for further investigation.

If your case is assessed as an urgent problem, then an officer will then make contact within 48 hours to assess the defect(s) and take the appropriate action (which could be the issue of a legal notice and subsequent legal action).

For less urgent cases we will wait for a response to the licence condition audit. A failure to respond, or where the response is inadequate or unsatisfactory, will normally result in enforcement action. Additionally, the case officer may then determine that a visit to your property is necessary. They will then inspect and take the appropriate action, similar to the process described above for urgent cases.

If, however, the response is satisfactory then the case will be closed. At this point if you still have evidence of serious defects in your property then you are advised to take photographs to submit to us to consider the next course of action. Unless there are serious outstanding defects the case will be closed.

Email or call us on 020 3373 1950.

Check how to get repairs done in your rented home - GOV.UK (