Problems with repairs if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

Your landlord is usually responsible for fixing repairs in your home. If repairs are not done or poorly done, your landlord can be ordered to put any problems right.

If your landlord is not doing repairs

Follow our steps if the repair work has:

  • not been done

  • been delayed or not finished

  • caused other repair problems

  • damaged your home or belongings

If you rent from a letting agency they should do repairs themselves or tell your landlord to fix them.

If they’re not doing this you can contact your landlord directly or complain about your letting agency.

Step 1: get in touch informally

Your problem could be fixed quickly and easily by explaining it to your landlord or letting agent. Make sure to get any agreements in writing so there’s no misunderstanding.

Step 2: formally write to your landlord

If the issue is not resolved, send your landlord a letter or email.

To help you know what to say, we have template letters for:

Make sure to send copies of any evidence, including:

  • inspection notes by an expert

  • photographs of the repair and damaged items

  • receipts for damaged items you’ve replaced

  • a doctor’s note if your health is affected

Send letters by recorded delivery and keep any emails.

Step 3: if the repair is damaging your health

Your council's environmental health department can help when your landlord will not deal with repairs that are affecting your health.

They can order your landlord to fix any repair problems.

Use our template letter for contacting environmental health to help you know what to say.

Step 4: if the issue is still not resolved

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) can order your landlord or letting agent to put repair problems right.

It’s free to apply to the tribunal and you do not need to hire a solicitor.

Follow our guidance on going to the tribunal for repairs.

Getting a rent reduction because of repairs

If repairs cause serious disruption you can apply to the tribunal for a rent reduction. This is sometimes called rent abatement.

The amount you can claim depends on how much of your home you can use. For example, if half the rooms in your home cannot be used, you can claim a 50 percent rent reduction.

A Shelter Scotland adviser can tell you if you’re entitled to a rent reduction and if you should claim for it at the tribunal.

Withholding rent for repairs

This is not recommended because you could be evicted for rent arrears.

Before withholding rent:

Claiming compensation because of repairs

The tribunal can order your landlord to give you compensation if repairs cause:

  • inconvenience

  • damage to your health

  • damage to your property, including your belongings

Compensation depends on factors including the value of damaged belongings and if the repairs have caused any injury.

You will usually need a solicitor to work out how much compensation you’re owed and to help you at the tribunal.

Find a solicitor from the Law Society of Scotland.

You could get legal help for free or at a lower cost.

Doing repairs yourself

Only organise repairs yourself if you've followed all the other steps to resolve the issue.

You must follow the correct process for doing repairs yourself.

Your landlord could try to evict you if you cause damage to your home or withhold rent to pay for repairs.

If you’re worried about eviction

In most cases, you cannot be evicted for asking for repairs, but you can be evicted fairly easily if you:

Your landlord must follow the correct process if they want to evict you. If they do not it could be an illegal eviction.

If you're worried that you'll be evicted for acting on your rights get advice from Shelter Scotland.

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