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Housing Disrepair - What can I do?

This section explains what you can do if repair work is not carried out properly.

When are repairs not carried out properly?

The repairs may not be done properly because:

  • the standard of the work is poor
  • the work has been delayed
  • the work hasn't been finished
  • the work has caused other repair problems
  • the work has damaged internal decorations or personal belongings.

If the repairs are your landlord's responsibility, your landlord is also responsible for the quality of the work carried out by a builder, and for any damage this may cause. This includes damage to your belongings as well as the landlord's own property.

What can you do?

If the council or the court ordered your landlord to do the work and the work is not up to standard, you can go back to the council or the court and ask them to force your landlord to do the work properly.

If your landlord has done the work without the council or the court's involvement, it might be difficult to force your landlord to carry out the repairs to the standard you want. In effect, you'll need to start the whole process again, reporting the problems to your landlord then giving them time to put things right before going on to take further action.

If the repairs have damaged any of your personal belongings or made the accommodation dangerous, you may be able to take your landlord to court for compensation or negligence.

Internal decorations

When repair work is carried out, any damage to internal decorations should be 'made good'. This means repairing any damaged plaster or wall coverings, repainting if necessary and replacing any damaged items such as carpets. This applies even if the internal decoration is not your landlord's responsibility.

If the work is an improvement, your landlord doesn't have to 'make good' afterwards. However, as your landlord needs to get your permission before they can carry out any improvement work, you might want to make it a condition of your consent that any resulting damage to the internal decoration is put right.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

The important points

  • If you can't use all the rooms in the home when it’s being repaired you may be entitled to claim a rent reduction.
  • If you are asked to move out, because of repairs, your landlord will have to refund you the cost of any alternative accommodation.
  • If you won't move out, your landlord may try to evict you.
  • You need to be given 24 hrs notice of access that is need by the landlord or workmen.

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