How to report repairs
If you rent your home from a social housing landlord, they're responsible for dealing with most repair problems. However, it's up to you to tell your landlord about repairs because in most cases, they aren't responsible for the work until they know about it.
This page explains how you can report repairs. If your landlord doesn’t do anything, having proof of reporting the problem is important if you want to take further action.
Tips on reporting repairs
- Report repairs as soon as you notice them even if they're minor.
- If you report a repair in person or by phone, follow it up in writing and keep a copy of your letter or email.
- You have to let your landlord or their contractor in to do the repair work, but you should get at least 24 hours' notice – except in an emergency.
What repair work is your landlord responsible for?
If you have an assured shorthold tenancy, read our advice on reporting repairs to your private landlord.
Generally, if you're a tenant, your landlord is responsible for repairing:
- the structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
- basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework
- water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.
For tenancies that began after 15 January 1989, these repair responsibilities extend to the common parts of a building too, for example, the entrance hall.
Reporting the repair
You should report any repairs to your landlord as soon as you notice them. Reporting repairs is often a term in tenancy agreements, so it doesn’t matter if the problem is quite small or if you’re not too concerned about getting it fixed. If you don’t report the repair when you notice it, it could get worse over time and cost more to put right.
If you or someone visiting your home has caused the problem, you should also tell your landlord this. They may agree to do the repair work themselves and then recharge the cost to you, or they may agree to you fixing it yourself.
How should you report the repair?
It's probably easiest to tell your landlord about any repair problems in person or by phone. However, it’s always best to follow this up in writing.
You should keep a copy of any letters or emails you send and receive because if your landlord doesn’t fix the repair, you’ll be able to show that you told them about it. This will be important if you need to take further action at a later stage.
- First letter from a tenant reporting repairs to a landlord
- Second letter from a tenant reporting repairs to a landlord
Providing access to get the work done
Your landlord has the right to access your home to see what work is needed and to carry out the repairs. Unless it’s an emergency, they must give you at least 24 hours' written notice.
How long will it take to do the work?
How quickly repair work will take depends on what repairs are needed. The law doesn't give any specified time limits, but the work should be done within a ‘reasonable’ time. Certain repairs, such as a burst pipe, should be dealt with as an emergency.
You should check your tenancy agreement or tenants’ handbook if you have one. These may outline timescales for repair work.
Landlords may do temporary repairs until the problem can be resolved more fully.
What if your landlord doesn’t do anything about the repairs?
If your landlord doesn't do anything after you report the repair, you may decide to take other action. There are several options open to you.
Keeping evidence about repairs
No matter who your landlord is, keeping evidence about the repairs will always be useful. This includes:
- keeping a record of any conversations you have with your landlord, the date you spoke to them and anything they agreed to do
- keeping copies of any letters or emails you sent to, and received from, your landlord or their agent
- taking and dating photographs of the repair, particularly if the problem gets worse over time
- keeping any belongings or taking photographs of belongings that have been damaged because of the repair problem. For example, clothes or furnishings damaged by mould. Make a note of how much they cost you or keep receipts if you have to buy new things to replace them
- keeping a note of any medical visits if you are injured or made ill by the repair problem
- any expert evidence you may have, for example, reports from a surveyor or an Environmental Health Officer.