The following provides you with advice and information regarding disrepair and poor housing condition, and how we can help you with these problems.
Tackling poor housing conditions
Poor housing conditions include many things, such as leaking pipes or roofs, damp, dangerous electrical wiring, disconnected power or water supplies and other hazardous conditions around a property.
It is likely that as a tenant you will only be liable for very minor repairs and the landlord will have the duty to sort out any bigger problems.
The Council’s Environmental Health department can provide advice and where necessary, order the landlord to do the necessary repairs.
How we respond to Private Sector Housing complaints
- The Private Sector Housing team responds to all complaints made to us. We take risk based approach to decide on any action to take. This allows us to prioritise the worst housing conditions for those people who require help the most.
- After you have reported your complaint or enquiry, a risk assessment officer will contact you. They will ask you further questions to help decide how the service should respond.
- It is very important that you have your landlord's contact details ready to give to the call centre when you first contact us.
- We cannot investigate or make visits for all complaints and enquiries that we receive. We therefore prioritise:
- 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 36 hours. If we decide that further investigation and/or inspection is needed, a case officer should contact you within five days. If it is not, we may offer to write to the landlord advising them of the complaint and recommend action to be taken.
Responding to Registered Housing Providers (Housing associations complaints)
- We do not normally carry out a full investigation / inspection for complaints received from tenants of Registered Housing Providers. This is because Registered Housing Providers have an infrastructure in place to deal with serious hazards and disrepair.
- In exceptional circumstances we may prioritise urgent/serious complaints in premises managed/owned by Registered Housing Providers. However you must have made a formal complaint through the Registered Housing Provider complaints procedure before contacting us. If the complaint is not urgent or serious we may write to the Registered Housing Provider and inform them that a complaint has been received and recommend action only.
The Environmental Health Team may also deal with the following housing problems:
Overcrowding can cause severe stress in any household, and in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) it puts a strain on the use of kitchen and sanitary facilities and increases the risk of fire. Action can be taken to limit excessive numbers of people to prevent overcrowding.
Power and water supplies
If the electricity, gas or water supplies have been disconnected due to the landlord's failure to pay the accounts, the Council can get these reconnected by serving a formal notice.
Defective or blocked drains are a severe health risk and the Council has powers to require landlords to carry out 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 Environmental Health 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.
Download a copy of our leaflet for more information on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS):
How to contact us
If you have any queries, please contact the Environmental Healthline.
- tel: Environmental Healthline: 020 7361 3002
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org