Your landlord legally has to repair the property and keep it to a safe standard

Your rights may differ slightly if you share the property with your landlord, in which case we would advise asking for legal advice from Shelter or Citizens Advice.

For most students, you will be renting under a fixed-term tenancy. This means that the majority of repairs are the responsibility of your landlord.Shelter has created this video to guide you on what repairs are the responsibility of your landlord, and what your responsibilities are too:

It is important to report any damage or disrepair as soon as it is noticed so that it can be fixed before the problem becomes worse.

How long should it take to fix repairs?

Depending on the nature of the damage, the timeframe for repairing the issue can vary.

Emergency repairs, where there is a risk to the health of the tenants such as issues with a broken boiler or external locks, should be looked at within 24 hours.
Non-emergency repairs can take a few weeks to be resolved.

If you are unhappy with the length of time it has taken for a repair to be completed, we would advise you to contact the landlord in writing, explaining the impact the disrepair is having on you, and requesting information on what steps the landlord has taken to resolve the issue.

What if the landlord doesn’t fix the disrepair?

If the landlord doesn’t fix the disrepair, you may be able to complain to the Environmental Health department at your local council. They will investigate complaints of disrepair and make recommendations which the landlord must follow. These include:

  • Gas and electrical safety
  • Fire safety and means of escape
  • Overcrowding
  • Problems of damp or other serious disrepair issues

If a landlord does not follow the recommendations given, the officers do have the power to serve legal notices and prosecute in certain cases if the work is not done. Landlords in Chester and Warrington may also lose their CLAS accreditation kitemark, limiting their tenant interest in the future.

Can I claim money back or withhold rent because of disrepair?

If you have had personal items damaged, or suffered a large amount of inconvenience due to the disrepair, you may be able to request a rent rebate from your landlord or letting agent. This would mean a partial refund to a sum agreed. You should clearly outline why you feel that a rebate is justified, including outlining the impact the disrepair has had on you.

Your landlord may agree to a rent rebate, or may strongly disagree and refuse to refund any money. Please note we advise against withholding any rent money from the landlord on the principle of repairs not done. If you choose to not pay rent, you could be issued with an eviction notice, and taken to court to retrieve any money owed.

How can the advice service help with housing complaints?

If you’re having difficulty speaking with your landlord about disrepair in your home, the Advice Service may be able to help by:

  • Advising on what is your landlord’s responsibility to fix
  • Liaising with your landlord or letting agent on next steps
  • Signposting to your local environmental health team

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