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Leaks and flooding

If you rent your home, your landlord is usually responsible for dealing with leaks or flooding and repairing any damage caused. Report repairs to your landlord as soon as possible.


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.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

You must report a leak as soon as you notice it, and 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:


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 has guidance on insurance claims 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.

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 repairs should take

If you rent from the council or a housing association

Usually, leaks and floods from water pipes, a water tank or a cistern or toilet should be fixed within 1 working day. You could get compensation if it’s not done in time. This is called the Right to Repair scheme.

For other floods and leaks, there's no set deadline, but they must be fixed within a reasonable time.

Use our repair checker to find out when you could get compensation and what to do if it’s not fixed on time.

If you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

There's no set time for leak or flood repairs. However, they should be done in a reasonable amount of time. What counts as reasonable depends on the circumstances.

For example, if there's a serious leak or flood that's causing damage to your home, it could be reasonable to ask your landlord to have it fixed within 1 working day.

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

  • whether it’s an emergency

  • what effect it’s having on you or people you live with

  • 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: 24 July 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England