Repairs if you rent from the council or housing association

How to report repairs

You’re responsible for reporting repair issues as soon as you notice them.

Your tenant handbook will tell you how to report repairs and what to do if there’s an emergency outside of office hours.

You can call, email or write. Your council or housing association might have an app or an online reporting system.

If you report a repair by phone, report it in writing too so there's a record of it. Use our letter template to report a repair.

Send letters by recorded delivery and keep copies of emails.

What to ask when you report repairs

  • who will do the repair work

  • when the work will be done

  • if there's a deadline for repair work

  • if there's compensation when the deadline is missed

Keep evidence of repair problems

Take photos or videos of the repair when you report it, so you can check if it's getting worse.

Keep receipts for anything you have to replace.

Get a note from the doctor if the repair is affecting your health.

If you cause damage in your home

You must report repairs if you caused the damage.

The council or housing association is not required to fix this, but they could arrange the repairs and then charge you the cost.

After you report a repair

The council or housing association will say if there’s a deadline to do repairs. This is called the Right to Repair scheme.

Use our repair checker to see if it’s covered by Right to Repair

If it’s not covered by the Right to Repair scheme, tell them how long you think repairs should take. Ask them to agree to it. Explain how the problem is affecting you.

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

  • whether it’s an emergency

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

  • how long is fair and realistic for them to fix it

Contact the council or housing association if you have any other questions about your repair. Your tenant handbook should explain their repair processes.

Allowing access for repairs

The council or housing association will arrange any workpeople. This should be at a reasonable time that suits you.

You must give them access to your home so they can carry out the repair. You should get at least 24 hours' notice in writing before anyone comes over.

Getting a rent reduction because of repairs

If repair problems cause serious disruption, you could get a rent reduction. For example, if you cannot use all the rooms in your home. This is called a rent abatement.

The reduction you can ask for depends on how much of your home you can use. If half your home cannot be used, you could get 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.

If they refuse a rent reduction, you can make a complaint. Follow our guidance to:

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