Column: Landlords have legal obligation to put things right - and here are tips to help tenants

Here’s an example of the sort of question that we are asked, and that we can deal with, writes Roger Naden, from Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 5:00 pm

“I have been living in my privately rented flat for years. I generally have a good relationship with my landlord, but I just can’t get them to carry out various repairs that have built up. How can I get them to act - and what exactly do they have to do?”

This must be a very frustrating situation. The law in England (the law is different in devolved nations) states that your landlord must provide accommodation that is safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

You do not say exactly what repairs are needed. If you have problems such as electrical wiring that you think might be faulty, or there’s damp, or an infestation by pests, the landlord has a legal obligation to put things right.

Roger Naden from Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts.
Roger Naden from Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts.

Landlords are also responsible for the maintenance of the general structure, and fittings such as boilers and radiators; basins, baths and toilets; and the drains.

The first step is to contact your landlord again, in writing. Include photographs of the problems. Keep a record of all communications and evidence relating to the disrepair.

If that doesn’t prompt any action, the housing advisers at Citizens Advice can help with next steps. These could include contacting your local council (who will have dedicated officers for dealing with disrepair in private rented properties) or asking for a visit by the environmental health team.

Tenants can take their landlords to court to force them to carry out repairs. However, it is worth getting some advice and thinking carefully before embarking on this route.

If you would like to contact us for advice over the phone or an appointment at our Ilkeston office the number is 0808 2787 954.

Our lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. We are also open for drop in on Mondays between 9.30am and 1.30pm at our Ilkeston office.

Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts Ilkeston Office: Castledine House, 5 Heanor Road, Ilkeston, DE7 8DY.