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Repairs if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

How to report repairs

Report repair issues as soon as you notice them. If you do not report it, you could be held responsible for any unnecessary damage it causes.

If you've reported repairs by phone or text, send an email or letter too so there's a record of it.

You can ask your landlord for a rent reduction if repairs are causing you disruption or inconvenience.

What to say in your letter or email

Tell your landlord about:

  • the repair problem

  • any damage it's caused

  • how it's affecting you

Ask them to confirm:

  • who will do the repair

  • how long they expect it to take

Use our letter template to report a repair

If you rent from a letting agent

Report the repairs to them. They should either:

  • carry out the repairs themselves

  • tell the landlord so the landlord can do the repairs

Your landlord is usually responsible for doing repairs, but the letting agent must tell you when repairs will be fixed and keep you informed.

Ask for the landlord’s name and address if you want to contact them directly. Your letting agent must give you this if you ask.

Keep evidence of repair problems

Take photos or videos of the repair when you report it so you can check if the problem is getting worse.

Keep receipts for anything you have to replace.

Get a note from the doctor if the repair is having an impact on your health.

After you report repairs

Your landlord should confirm when repairs will be fixed and who will do the work.

They may want to inspect repairs or send someone to inspect them first.

Giving access for repairs

Before coming round or sending someone round, your landlord should give you at least 24 hours' notice, or 48 hours' notice if you have a private residential tenancy.

They can give you less notice if there’s an emergency.

You should allow access for repairs or inspections, but you do not have to let your landlord in if they turn up unannounced. You can refuse if they want to visit at an unreasonable time.

Getting a rent reduction

If the repairs are taking a long time or causing you serious disruption, ask your landlord for a rent reduction. This is sometimes called a rent abatement.

To decide how much to ask for, consider how much of your home you can use and how long the problem has been going on. For example, if half the rooms in your home cannot be used, you could ask for a 50 percent rent reduction.

Use our letter template to ask for a rent reduction. Get any agreement in writing so there are no misunderstandings.

It’s not recommended to withhold rent for repair problems, because your landlord could try to evict you for rent arrears. Check our guidance on withholding rent.

If your landlord does not agree to a rent reduction, you can apply to the housing tribunal to ask for compensation.

Last updated: 20 July 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England