Many private tenants struggle with landlords who refuse to carry out adequate repairs that are their responsibility.
Under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (the most common type of private tenancy), your landlord has a legal obligation to look after:
• The structure
• The heating
• The sanitation.
In your tenancy agreement, there may be other things your landlord has a duty to repair – read this. If your landlord refuses to carry out repairs than are an obligation under law or in your tenancy agreement, you can:
• Contact them via letter (consider your security of tenure, keep the letter friendly) keeping a dated copy of the letter for yourself.
• Contact Southwark Council Private Sector Housing department who can put pressure on your landlord to carry out repairs.
Take photos of any disrepair (when you move in and afterwards) and date these photos.
Ask your landlord to carry out an inventory of everything in the property.
What if I can’t speak directly to my landlord?
This is a problem lots of tenants face when they have repair problems. Either the letting agent won’t give you contact information for your landlord or your letting agent says the landlord has said he won’t do the repairs.
If your repairs aren’t being addressed, it’s your landlord you need to speak as they are responsible under law, whatever your landlord or agent might say.
And often your letting agent may have their own reasons for wanting to prevent you from speaking to the landlord.
What can I do?
The letting agent has a legal responsibility to provide your landlord’s name and address so you can contact them directly within 21 days of a written request – otherwise you can take them to court.
First, check your tenancy agreement to see whether there is an address for your landlord. This should contain a name and address for the landlord, which must be in England or Wales. If it doesn’t, you can request the information from you letting agent using the sample letter below:
Dear [INSERT NAME OF YOUR LETTING AGENT],
Pursuant to section s1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 we, the tenants
of [INSERT YOUR ADDRESS HERE], are making a written request for the disclosure of our landlord’s address. The section states:
1(1) ‘If the tenant of premises occupied as a dwelling makes a written request for the
landlord’s name and address to—
(a) any person who demands, or the last person who received, rent payable under the
(b) any other person for the time being acting as agent for the landlord, in relation to
that person shall supply the tenant with a written statement of the landlord’s name and
address within the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which he receives the
Under subsection (2) it is a criminal offence to fail to comply with this request.
We look forward to receiving your response within 21 days.
[INSERT NAME OF TENANTS]
Has your landlord provided a Section 28?
Under Section 28 the Landlord and Tenants Act 1987, your landlord must provide written notice of their name and address. This they don’t you are legally entitled to withhold your rent. The rent will still be payable but you can withhold the rent until the ‘Section 28’ has been provided.
A word of warning
Private tenants always need to be aware that their tenancies aren’t secure. If you decide to withhold your rent, your landlord may well decide to serve you with an eviction notice.