If your flat isn't fire safe

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you’ve been told your home would be unsafe if there was a fire, your landlord might ask you to leave until safety is improved.

If you’re not on the tenancy agreement

You’ll have fewer options if you’re not on the tenancy agreement or related to anyone else in the flat.

It’s best to contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help - an adviser can look at the options you have and help you find alternative accommodation.

If you’re asked to move out

Your landlord might ask you to move out while they complete works if they need the flat to be empty. If this happens, ask your landlord:

  • how long the works will take

  • if they'll suspend rent payments

  • whether they’ll provide somewhere else to stay

If you’re offered somewhere else to stay

Before you agree to anything, ask your landlord to put in writing:

  • if they’ll cover moving costs

  • how long they need the flat empty for

  • whether you’ll be allowed back into the flat, and when

  • how much the accommodation will be, and who will pay for it

Tell your landlord if you need anything else from temporary accommodation - for example to be near your children’s school or nursery, or disabled access.

You should also find out if you’ll be allowed back into your home while works are carried out. If you’re not allowed back in, make sure you take anything you’ll need - for example important documents like your bank card or ID.

If you aren’t offered somewhere to stay

Check your contract - it might say what should happen if your landlord needs to do works.

Your contract might say that you need to allow your landlord access to do repairs or to make improvements. If you don’t let them, you might be ‘in breach of contract’. This means your landlord could take you to court if you refuse.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re worried about breaching your contract or the wording isn’t clear. An adviser can look at your contract with you and help you make a decision.

If you refuse to leave

You should only stay in your home if you have no other option - your home could be unsafe.

Ask your landlord what work they plan to do and how long it is expected to take. Explain why you can’t leave - for example if you have an illness that makes it difficult to leave your home.

If you think the works could be done without you needing to leave - ask your landlord for proof that the works need you to leave.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if your landlord is trying to make you leave - an adviser can help work out the best steps to take.

If your landlord uses threatening behaviour to make you leave, report them to the police and contact your nearest Citizens Advice. You might be able to take your landlord to court to stop the eviction or claim damages.

If you’re getting benefits

You’ll need to ask your landlord to suspend rent payments while you’re out of the property, or pay for the alternative accommodation.

You’ll also need to report a change in circumstances - find out how to report a change on GOV.UK

If you get Housing Benefit, you can leave your home under a ‘temporary absence rule’ for up to 13 weeks without affecting your claim - you’ll need to tell your Local Authority that you’ve moved out temporarily.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re worried about how leaving your home temporarily might affect any benefits you get.

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Page last reviewed on 09 August 2018