Repair rights and responsibilities if you rent from the council or a housing association

Your landlord is usually responsible for fixing repairs in your home, and certain problems must be fixed within a set timeframe. You must keep your home in good condition and let workpeople in to fix repairs.

Your landlord’s repair responsibilities

Your home must meet certain legal standards. This is called the tolerable standard.

Your home may not be fit to live in if:

  • it has problems with rising or penetrating damp

  • it's not structurally stable (for example, it might be subsiding)

  • 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's not insulated well enough

  • it does not have:

    • a proper entrance

    • an acceptable fresh water supply

    • a sink with hot and cold water

    • an indoor toilet

    • a fixed bath or shower

    • good drainage and sewerage system

    • suitable smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms

If these standards are not met your landlord must put it right. You could get a rent reduction to make up for the problems.

Your landlord is also responsible for repairing and maintaining:

  • hallways, lifts and shared areas

  • pipes, drains, toilets and sinks

  • gas, electricity and heating systems

  • damp and mould caused by repair issues

  • appliances and furniture supplied by your landlord

  • your roof, windows, doors and the exterior of your home

Your tenancy agreement should list the appliances your landlord must maintain.

Your landlord must fix certain repairs within a set timeframe

If these repairs are not fixed in time, you could get compensation. This is called the Right to Repair scheme.

Check how long your repair should take

Use our repair checker tool to find out:

  • if a repair is your landlord’s responsibility

  • how long repairs should take

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

  • if you can get compensation for delays

The Scottish government has more information on the Right to Repair scheme.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

Giving access for repairs

You must allow your landlord and workpeople into your home for inspections and repairs at reasonable times of the day.

You should get at least 24 hours' notice in writing before anyone comes over.

You do not need to be given notice for repairs to shared areas, like hallways or roofs of flats.

If there’s an emergency your landlord does not have to give you notice before coming over. They can break in if they have to but must repair any damage they cause.

Decorating your home

You're usually responsible for decorating your home. Your tenancy agreement will explain who is responsible for maintaining internal decorations and whether you need to ask permission to decorate.

Making home improvements

You're usually responsible for making home improvements.

For example, if your home does not have a shower but you would like one, you're responsible for installing this. If your home came with a shower that has broken, your landlord must repair it.

You'll usually need to get your landlord’s permission before carrying out improvements.

The rules are different when you need home adaptations if you’re an older person or disabled.

Gardening

Your garden is often your responsibility. However, if it’s a mess when you move in you should not have to improve it.

Your tenancy agreement should explain who is responsible for maintaining your garden.

Maintaining furniture and appliances

You’re responsible for replacing and repairing any furniture and appliances you own.

If your home came furnished you must keep the items in good condition.

Keeping your home in good condition

You must carry out minor maintenance, such as:

  • checking smoke alarm batteries

  • keeping your home reasonably clean

  • heating your home so pipes do not freeze and burst

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

If your landlord will not do repairs

Follow our guidance on problems getting repairs done.

If you’re worried about eviction

You should not be evicted for asking for repairs.

If you're worried that you'll be evicted 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