Rights and responsibilities
Reporting repairs and getting them done can cause problems between private tenants and their landlords. A good starting point is to know who is responsible for what.
The property must be dry, safe and structurally stable. It must have adequate heating, drainage, lighting, ventilation, toilet and bathing facilities. It should meet the required health and safety standards.
The landlord is 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. They must also repair damage that was caused by someone with no connection to the tenant - for example during a break-in or vandalism.
The tenant must do minor jobs, like replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink. They must also repair damage that they or their visitors have caused. The full guidance can be read on the government website
When a repair needs doing, the tenant must tell the landlord as soon as possible - immediately if it's an emergency (such as a burst pipe).
The landlord has a 'reasonable time' to do the repair. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take; it depends on the urgency of the job. A blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window for example.
If your landlord won't carry out a repair
If you are a tenant and the repair isn't done in a reasonable time, even after reminding the landlord, do not stop paying your rent.
Alternatively you can contact the Housing Standards Team on 01253 891000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide brief details of the repair required and the name and contact details of your landlord.
An officer will contact you to arrange an inspection and any disrepair or defects found at this time will be reported to the landlord who will be given the opportunity to undertake all the necessary works. If the landlord fails to do this work formal action may be taken whereby statutory notices are served on them. If they still do not do the works they may be prosecuted.
The landlord has the right to come into your home to check what needs repair. But they must give at least 24 hours notice, and must come at an agreed time - as quickly as possible if it's an emergency job.