Repairs if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

Check who's responsible for repairs

Your landlord must repair your home and any appliances they've provided.

You must keep your home in good condition, report repair problems as soon as possible, and allow access for repairs.

Your landlord cannot:

  • charge you for repairs, unless you caused the damage

  • say that you're responsible for repairs or write this in your tenancy agreement

Your landlord’s repair responsibilities

Your landlord must make sure your home meets the repairing standard and the tolerable standard.

The repairing standard

  • your home must be wind and watertight

  • the structure and exterior of your home must be in a reasonable condition

  • the internal and external installations supplying water, gas, electricity, sanitation, heating and hot water must be in a reasonable state and working properly

  • fixtures, fittings or appliances provided by your landlord must be in a reasonable state and working properly

  • furnishings provided by your landlord must be safe to use

The tolerable standard

Your home may not meet the tolerable standard if:

  • it's not structurally stable

  • it's not insulated well enough

  • it has problems with rising or penetrating damp

  • there’s not enough ventilation, natural and artificial light or heating

  • there’s no suitable way for you to install cooking facilities

  • the electric supply does not meet safety regulations

  • it does not have:

    • an acceptable fresh water supply

    • a sink with hot and cold water

    • an indoor toilet

    • a fixed bath or shower

    • a good drainage and sewerage system

    • a proper entrance

    • suitable smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms

Keeping your home safe

Your landlord must do safety checks and follow the rules around:

How long repairs should take

Your landlord must do repairs in a reasonable amount of time. What counts as reasonable depends on the circumstances.

Consider what's reasonable for you and then ask your landlord or letting agent 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

Your responsibilities as a tenant

You must:

  • report repairs as soon as possible

  • allow access for repairs to be done

  • take care not to damage the property

  • get permission to decorate or keep pets

  • keep your home clean

  • keep any furniture provided in good condition

  • carry out minor maintenance, such as changing light bulbs

  • keep your home reasonably well heated and ventilated, to avoid dampness and frozen pipes

If you're struggling to heat your home, contact Home Energy Scotland for advice.

If you cause any damage your landlord can make you pay the cost of repairing it. This does not apply to fair wear and tear. For example, if carpets or furniture become worn through normal use, your landlord cannot charge you to replace them.

If you want to do home improvements

You need permission from your landlord. You’re responsible for the work and the costs.

Improvements are things like painting and decorating or replacing the kitchen or bathroom.

It can be risky to spend money on improvements. You won't get your money back if you move out or your landlord ends your tenancy.

If you make changes without permission, your landlord could charge you to put things back the way they were.

Advice on common repair problems

Last updated: 21 December 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England