Covid-19 (coronavirus) and disrepair issues
To help reduce the spread of the virus, the housing enforcement team will only be carrying out visits where essential and only after completing a suitable risk assessment.
When we receive a complaint about poor conditions, the case officer will contact the tenant(s) and ask for photographic or video evidence to enable the council to assess the risk.
We are still responsible for investigating poor housing conditions and will do our utmost to ensure that landlords fulfil their legal obligations. However, this must be balanced against the risk of infection and spread of the virus.
In most circumstances the details of your complaint will be kept on record and an officer will contact you to arrange an inspection when the current restrictions have been relaxed sufficiently to permit home visits.
Where an inspection is urgent and necessary, social distancing principles will be followed in line with government guidelines.
Your landlord's responsibility
If there are disrepair issues in your house, your landlord has a legal responsibility to make repairs in a timely manner. They should not charge you for any costs associated with these repairs unless the disrepair was caused by you, your household, or your visitors.
Most landlords will make repairs when they’re made aware of an issue. Don’t be afraid to report an issue to your landlord, as this could lead to the situation becoming worse.
If your landlord does not make repairs in response to your complaint, you should contact them in writing, setting out the issues in your house and the action you want your landlord to take. You are legally entitled to know your landlord’s postal address, and this information should be provided in your tenancy agreement. Writing to your landlord will protect you from a retaliatory (revenge) eviction if you have to involve the council. You can use our sample letter to help you.
Dos and Don'ts
- Do: notify your landlord as soon as you aware of a problem
- Do: give your landlord enough time to make repairs – for example, if your boiler is broken, they may need to order specialist parts to repair it
- Do: allow your landlord and any tradespeople they employ access to the property in order to make repairs
- Do: complain to your landlord in writing if they do not make the necessary repairs
- Don’t: withhold your rent. This will not make your landlord do repairs, and could put your tenancy at risk
- Don’t: wait until after you’ve moved out to complain to us, as it will then be very unlikely that we will be able to take action
If you've written to your landlord and they will still not make repairs, we can help you. Please download and complete this housing service request form; you can either print and post or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will need to contact you if it is necessary to inspect your home, and will also write to your landlord, so please make sure you provide all of the information we ask for, including contact details for both yourself and your landlord.
If you are a RSL (social housing) tenant, before we can help you, you will need to make a formal complaint to your landlord. If this does not help, you should contact the Housing Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is able to resolve the vast majority of disputes but, if you still need our help after this, you can contact us by completing the housing service request form. Please make sure you have proof of your ombudsman complaint available.