Advice Column: Disrepair

Thursday 17th June

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo advice column this week we focus on repairs for those renting in the private rented sector.

 I’ve been living in my privately rented flat for years. I generally have a good relationship with my landlord but I just can’t get them to carry out various repairs that have built up. How can I get them to act – and what exactly do they have to do?


This must be a very frustrating situation. The law in England states that your landlord must provide accommodation that is safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

If you have problems such as electrical wiring that you think might be faulty, or there’s damp, or an infestation, the landlord has a legal obligation to put things right.


Landlords are also responsible for the maintenance of the general structure, and fittings such as boilers and radiators; basins, baths and toilets; and the drains.


The first step is to contact your landlord again, in writing. Include photographs of the problems. Keep a record of all communications and evidence relating to the disrepair.


If that doesn’t prompt any action, consider contacting your local council (who will have dedicated officers for dealing with disrepair in private rented properties) or asking for a visit by the environmental health team.


Tenants can take their landlords to court to force them to carry out repairs. However, it’s worth getting some advice and thinking carefully before embarking on this route.


For further advice and information on housing repairs visit


Look out for our column next week when we focus on Universal Credit sanctions.


The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit