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Problems with a privately-rented home

How we can help

We can help with problems in your own home or a home you rent privately:

  • enter privately-rented homes to carry out scheduled and reactive inspections and surveys
  • serve notices to stop nuisance or to ask for housing defects to be corrected within a reasonable period of time
  • carry out work listed on legal notices, if the person responsible doesn't carry out the work in time and respond to any appeals against notices
  • ban the use of or require the demolition of houses which contain so many serious hazards they are beyond their useful life
  • reduce the number of people occupying a house to prevent overcrowding
  • buy houses for demolition or rehabilitation
  • ask for additional facilities and fire safety works for certain classes of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)  
  • serve notices and take action under many laws to deal with unsatisfactory housing conditions and stop public health nuisances
  • provide free help and advice and where necessary enforce the law on housing standards

Our services include:

  • carrying out general housing conditions surveys to identify problem areas
  • dealing with individual properties containing one or more serious hazards
  • inspecting and taking action to make sure hostels, bedsits, flats and houses occupied by more than one household comply with requirements and are free from serious hazards
  • declaring clearance areas or making demolition orders where its not feasible to renovate property
  • stopping public health nuisances such as filthy premises and defective drainage
  • monitoring the supply of drinking water and taking any needed action
  • giving informal advice on matters such as gas safety, tenants rights

Reporting problems

If you wish to complain about a rented property which is affecting your safety or health, you can follow these steps in order to report it to your landlord.

  • You must give your landlord or agent the opportunity to respond before contacting us.
  • If you think the problem is an imminent and significant risk to your safety, then contact your landlord or agent verbally now.
  • Examples of imminent and significant risks include, but are not limited to absence of heating or hot water, absence of  or dangerous electricity, floods or a premises easily open to access from intruders. For most deficiencies it is expected that you provide your landlord with the opportunity to arrange for them to be resolved.

Before we can take any action about a property, the following steps must have been taken:

Inform your landlord or agent

  • You must ensure that the unsatisfactory conditions you wish to complain about fall under the landlords' responsibility to repair and that the conditions are not a result of your lifestyle. 
  • Please read Check how to get repairs done in your rented home for advice about legal responsibility for disrepair and other concerns you may have related to your landlord or agent. 
  • You must inform your landlord or agent, verbally and in writing listing the defects that require attention, You can use our Disrepair Letter template.
  • It is important that you keep a copy of your letter for your records. You can email, post or text your landlord to advise of the property issues, but you must keep a copy.
  • We advise that you give your landlord at least 10 days to make contact with you to arrange the repairs. Please note that this is a time for the landlord to respond to you with a plan of action, not to complete the works.  
  • Once you have contacted your landlord if there is no response please contact us.

Contact us if no action is taken

If you have followed the above steps and need to report this to us, please use our online form

Report an issue with your property

We can arrange for an officer to carry out an inspection of the property. We will ask you: 

  • your name
  • your address
  • your phone number
  • email address
  • number and ages of occupants
  • name of the landlord or agent
  • address of the landlord or agent
  • phone number of the landlord or agent
  • email of landlord/ agent
  • date your tenancy began
  • types of disrepair issues and their location e.g mould growth in the bathroom, no smoke alarms, heating not working.
  • Have you seen a valid gas safety certificate for the property?
  • Have you seen a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property?
  • Where did you find the property?
  • Details of when you contacted the landlord and their response.

Failure to provide all the details above may delay your complaint.

Please be aware that:

  • You do not currently have any legal protection against eviction as a result of a complaint
  • Your landlord or agent will have to be made aware of the complaint
  • Your landlord or agent will be informed of any inspections carried out
  • We can only help you; improve your current housing conditions, prevent an illegal eviction and provide advice on these matters
  • We have no bearing on any application you may have for council housing.
  • As part of our complaint investigations you are expected to allow access for the Council and any contractors in order that the defects in your property can be rectified. Failure to do so may result in your case being closed.
  • If you are complaining about mould growth in the property please refer to our section on damp and mould.

Further information and advice on how to report repairs to a private landlord can be found on the Shelter website.

Is your home affected by damp or mould growth?

The Private sector housing team may be able to help if damp is caused by rainwater getting in, leaking pipes or rising damp (at low level).

If you suffer from condensation or mould growth it is more complicated.

If you live in a conventional property with adequate heating, loft insulation and ventilation to the bathroom and kitchen then this is unlikely to be landlord responsibility. The most likely cause is lifestyle. Please read the advice here and consider whether you are managing moisture appropriately.

Additional information

  • What kind of damp is affecting my home (advice from Which?)
  • If you are complaining about mould growth in the property please try to take some photographs and email them to

Find out more about damp, mould and condensation here.