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Find advice and guidance if you're renting


Our private sector housing team work hard with tenants and landlords to help improve housing conditions and to make sure houses remain in a good condition for the person or family who lives there. The type of tenants we deal with are mainly people who rent their homes from a private landlord and this can include:

  • Family homes
  • Bedsits (also known as houses in multiple occupation or HMOs)
  • Flats
  • Shared houses
  • Hostels

There is a legal 'minimum standard' houses must reach to ensure the tenant and his/her family stay safe and warm. The Housing Act 2004 gives housing officers certain powers to help us make sure a landlord complies with his legal duties.

My house has problems - what can I do?

If you have an emergency such as a leaking water pipe, call your landlord immediately; if it's a gas leak, call National Grid on 0800 111 999.

However, if you become aware of general disrepair issues in your house, you should follow the steps below:

  • Send your landlord a letter listing all the repairs or faults you believe exist
  • Give your landlord/managing agent access details e.g. a time when they can get into your property to inspect the faults and carry out the repairs - the most serious should be repaired first
  • Keep in regular contact with your landlord/managing agent
  • A landlord is allowed to have a 'reasonable time' to do repairs, but the 'time' allowed will depend on the type of repair needed.

A landlord's legal duties

A landlord must make sure the house they rent out is safe to live in and it does not affect the tenant's health, safety or well-being. A landlord is legally responsible for all repairs to:

  • The main structure of the house (roof, walls, floors, doors and windows)
  • The outside gutters, pipes and drains
  • The plumbing system, such as baths, toilets and basins
  • Electrical wiring and gas pipes
  • Heating systems such as boiler, radiators, fixed heaters and wall heaters

The landlord must give you their contact details or their managing agent's contact details, which includes their:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number

You should be aware, though, that the landlord retains the right to do regular checks on your home but they must give you at least 24 hours' notice, they must come at a time convenient to you and they must have received your permission to enter the property.

If you have any complaints about your landlord, especially if you believe work has not been successfully completed despite you talking to him/her about the issues, you can report these problems to the private sector housing team online or via our contact centre on 01744 676789. 

Please view our housing options page, which offers lots of additional advice and services that may prove useful to you.