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How to report maintenance issues to your landlord

What should you do if things don't go according to plan

In our previous article, we looked at who handles what when it comes to maintenance. Most issues get resolved quickly yet, inevitably, there will be times when the outcome is less than perfect. Here we will talk you through what to do if things don't go according to plan.

As we said before, agents and landlords cannot deal with problems they don't know about! Don't assume your landlord is aware of the problem, and make sure you tell them as soon as one occurs. Do this in writing and keep a copy in case you need it in the future. Once you have reported a problem, if it doesn't get resolved, there is plenty you can do.

Also, remember your landlord will give you 24 hours notice of their visit (except in emergencies). The easier you make things for the landlord, the quicker repairs can happen.

If nothing gets done after contacting the landlord, you need to formally complain. To do this, write to the landlord or agent and include:

  • The nature of the complaint and what's wrong
  • What you want the landlord to do about this
  • When the problem started
  • Receipts for any expenses because of the problem

If the problem presents a risk to your health and safety you should also report it to the local council. The council cannot help unless there is a risk to health and safety.

Should the formal complaint not resolve the problem, contact Citizen's Advice. They will be able to help you apply to the court for an order forcing the landlord to make the repairs. Whilst this remedy exists, very few cases ever get this far. Most repairs get done once the landlord knows about them and the way they affect the tenant.

Many tenants worry that they may get evicted if they report maintenance issues. This is definitely not the case! Most landlords are happy to know about problems because dealing with them protects the value of their property. It also keeps tenants happier and happy tenants stay for longer.

Even in extreme cases where the landlord will not do the repairs, the tenant is safe from eviction. It used to be the case that there would be so-called 'revenge evictions' but a welcome change in the law put an end to these. Once a formal complaint gets lodged against the landlord, no-fault evictions cannot happen. The tenant can still be evicted for not paying rent, anti-social behaviour, etc, but, not under the no-fault regulations.

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