“I’ve 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 states that your landlord must provide accommodation that is safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

You don’t 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.

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 advisors 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.  Cheshire West and Chester residents can use Cheshire West and Chester Council’s online form to report disrepairs.

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

You can also get free confidential advice from us. Owing to the Coronavirus outbreak we have closed our offices to face to face services but we do provide advice by phone and email Monday to Friday 10.00 – 16.00. You can contact us through Adviceline: 0808 2787 806 or use our email enquiry service. Alternatively you can contact us through webchat accessed through the Citizens Advice website. Please click on this link for up to date information on our services.

Copyright Citizens Advice.  The advice provided in this advice column was published on 15 June 2021.  For the most up-to-date advice, please visit our Citizens Advice public site.  You can also read guidance on how the UK is affected by coronavirus on GOV.UK.  This guidance from the government is updated every day.

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