Leaks and flooding

If you rent your home you usually have the right to get damage by leaks and flooding fixed. Report repairs to your landlord to get problems fixed and follow our guidance if they do not meet their responsibilities.

Leaks

Your landlord's responsibilities

Your landlord is usually responsible for dealing with leaks.

If you caused the damage, your landlord is not required to fix it. However, they could arrange the repairs and then charge you the cost.

A leak from your neighbour's property is their responsibility. Your landlord should sort the problem with your neighbour.

We have more guidance on:

Your responsibilities if you rent your home

You must report a leak as soon as you notice it then give your landlord and workpeople access to your home so they can fix it. They should arrange to come at a reasonable time that suits you.

If you do not report the problem, you could be responsible for paying for any unnecessary damage it causes.

Follow our guidance on:

Flooding

Your landlord's responsibilities

Your landlord is usually responsible for dealing with flooding.

They should take out building insurance on your home. This covers repairs to the structure of your home.

Your responsibilities if you rent your home

You must contact your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible.

Do not clean up until your landlord has inspected the damage.

You’re responsible for insuring any contents that belong to you.

Citizens Advice Scotland has guidance on making an insurance claim for flood damage.

When you cannot stay in your home because of flooding

If you rent from the council or a housing association your landlord must organise somewhere else for you to stay during flooding repairs.

If you rent privately you could ask your landlord to:

  • find you somewhere else to stay

  • let you use your rent money to find your own temporary place to stay

Get any agreement in writing. If your landlord refuses, get advice from a Shelter Scotland adviser. Do not withhold rent because this could lead to eviction.

If it’s not safe to stay in your home due to flooding you have the right to get homeless help from the council. You should be given somewhere temporary to stay straight away if you need it.

How long should leak and flood repairs take

If you rent from the council or a housing association

You usually have the right to get leaks and floods from water pipes, a water tank or a cistern or toilet fixed within 1 working day.

Other floods and leaks must be fixed within a reasonable timeframe.

Use our repair checker tool to find out:

  • if your repair is your landlord’s responsibility

  • how long it should take to do the repair

  • If you can get compensation for delays

  • what to do if it’s not fixed on time

If you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

There is no set time for leak or flood repairs. They should be done in a reasonable amount of time.

You can decide what is reasonable for you and then ask your landlord to agree to it.

To decide how long you think the repair should take, ask yourself:

  • whether it’s an emergency

  • what effect it’s having on you

  • how long is fair and realistic for your landlord to fix it

Follow our guidance if your private landlord is not doing repairs.

If your home is prone to flooding

The Floodline website has steps on how to prepare for flooding.

Last updated: 29 June 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England