Advice for private rented tenants


The following provides you with advice and information regarding disrepair and poor housing conditions, and how we can help you with these problems.

Reporting Poor Housing Conditions or Disrepair

If there is a fault or damage to your home, in most cases, the landlord has a responsibility to repair your home. To start the process, contact your landlord as soon as possible and write (by letter, e-mail or text message) to them about the problems with the property.

Visit Shelter's website for further advice on how to report problems and for a template letter you can use.  Keep copies of all letters, e-mails and messages that you send. 

If you have contacted your landlord about repairs needed in your rental home and have not received a satisfactory response, we may be able to take action to get them to complete works.  

We can provide advice and where necessary, order the landlord to do the necessary repairs.

What happens when you make a report about poor housing conditions to the Private Sector Housing Team?  

When you contact us to report poor housing conditions in your rental property, please provide the following: 

  • What the problem is
  • Details for your landlord/housing association: Any address, telephone and e-mail details.
  • If you live in a property managed by a housing association, please provide details of any case officer who has been dealing with your complaint.
  • Information about when you first reported the issue to your landlord/housing association and any action (if any) that has been taken. 
  • Include details of any response you have received from them in response to the complaint. 

After you have made a report about poor housing conditions, an officer will contact you to get more information about your housing issue. We will ask you further questions to help decide how we will deal with the concerns you have about the property you are renting. We may also ask you to send us photographs of the problem.

We will take a risk-based approach when deciding on what will be the most appropriate course of action. 

We prioritise the following reports:

  • Complaints of poor housing conditions in the private rented sector.
  • Conditions reported that may be serious hazards to safety or health of occupants in the next 12 months.
  • Vulnerable people, for example households with older people and those under five years of age, disabled people, those in fuel poverty for excess cold or protected tenants.
  • Conditions in private residences that pose a serious public health risk.

 We will aim to assess your complaint within two working days. 

We can also deal with the following issues: 


Overcrowding can cause severe stress in any household. In Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) it puts a strain on the use of kitchen and bathroom facilities. It can also increases the risk of fire. 

We can take action to limit excessive numbers of people to prevent overcrowding. We can also take formal action if the property is an unlicensed HMO and limit the number of people as part of the HMO licence. 

Power and water supplies

If your electricity, gas or water supplies has been disconnected due to the landlord's failure to pay the accounts we can get these reconnected by serving a formal notice.


Defective or blocked drains are a severe health risk and have the power to require landlords to carry out any urgent repairs. In certain circumstances the necessary repairs will be carried out by Council workers.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System


The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is used by the Private Sector Housing Team to assess the health and safety risks in dwellings.
The aim of the HHSRS is to ensure that any home is a safe and healthy environment to live in or visit. The HHSRS is comprehensive in its coverage of key health and safety risks in dwellings.

A landlord has a duty of care and must ensure that the property remains in a reasonable state of repair at all times and it is safe to occupy. A tenant or leaseholder also has a duty to ensure that whilst living there, the property is kept in reasonable condition as required by the tenancy agreement.


More Information

You can find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant renting a property in the following ‘How to rent’  government guides (available via the GOV.UK website) 

Retaliatory Evictions

Under the Deregulation Act 2015, if you make a complaint about property conditions and you are an Assured Shorthold Tenant (AST) any section 21 notice served may be invalid. 

Your landlord may not serve a notice if: 

  • they did not respond within 14 days/provide an adequate response to your disrepair complaint
  • issued the section 21 notice after you made a complaint
  • they have been issued with an Improvement Notice under the Housing Act 2004. No valid section 21 notice can be served within 6 months of the date a Housing Act 2004 notice was served.

For more information see the page 11 of the ‘How to Rent’ guide. 

If you have been served a section 21 notice and think it may be invalid, contact our Tenancy Relations Service by calling the Housing line on 020 7361 3008 or email [email protected].


How to contact us

If you have any queries, you can contact the Private Sector Housing Team by  calling the Environmental Healthline on 020 7361 3002 or by email at [email protected]

Last updated: 23 February 2023