Tenant complaints

Rented Property Conditions

Most landlords act in a responsible way and keep their properties in good condition. However a landlord will sometimes fail to carry out necessary repairs or maintenance and the property may fall into a state of disrepair. If you have concerns about the condition or management of your rented property the Environmental Health Team may be able to help. We can inspect your property to identify defects and require the landlord to make repairs and improvements to remove serious and immediate hazards. 

Tenant Complaints

I am a tenant - what am I responsible for?

Normally, your landlord is legally responsible for repairs to the structure of the building: the roof, windows, doors, drains, gutters, baths, sinks, toilets, heating, hot water, damp and general building repairs.

Usually smaller jobs such as replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink are your responsibility.

An infestation of insects, mice or rats etc may be your responsibility or the landlord's responsibility depending on the cause and if your tenancy/licence agreement defines responsibility

You must also repair damage that you or your visitors have caused. Check your tenancy agreement to see whether it requires you to notify the landlord.

What can I do if I have concerns about disrepair?

First contact your landlord and explain what your concerns are. If possible do this in writing and keep a copy of all communications. If your landlord does not repair the problem in a reasonable time, then you should contact the Environmental Health Team on 01283 508578 or EHSupport@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk

You will need to provide details of any disrepair that you are concerned with and we will ask for the details of your landlord, and/or letting agent along with the date that you made them aware of the disrepair. In most cases we will contact the landlord or letting agent for an update on what they have been doing to fix the problem. In some cases an officer will need to visit and do a formal inspection, if this is required then you and the landlord will be notified in advance of this visit. We will work with your landlord to fix the problem and may take formal action against them if they fail to make the necessary repairs.   

Please do not withhold any rent because of disrepair. If you do this and it results in eviction due to non payment then the Council is likely to conclude that you are homeless intentionally.

The landlord has threatened to evict me - what do I do?

A landlord can ask for their property back at anytime but must do so in the proper way so that they are not evicting you illegally. If the landlord threatens to evict you following your complaint please contact us immediately. This is called retaliatory eviction and is not a legal form of eviction, see eviction and harassment.

Other forms of assistance may be available through a solicitor or specialist legal mediation company. They can mediate between you and the landlord and help you to sue the landlord in court. The court can award damages and order repairs to be done. You will need evidence of the disrepair, your contacts with the landlord, and their failure to carry out the repairs. 

What does the Council do when it investigates a complaint about housing?

If you ask us to investigate we will need to visit and carry out a housing health and safety inspection of the property.

Our assessment will use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System that identifies high-risk (category one) hazards and lower-risk (category two) hazards. If any category one hazards are found the Council has a duty to take action. This action will be one of the following:

  • Hazard Awareness Notice - Formal notification of the problem to the landlord
  • Improvement Notice - Requires the landlord to take action
  • Prohibition Order - Stops all or part of the property from being used
  • Emergency action - When the Council takes emergency action to remove an imminent risk of serious harm
  • Demolition Order - Requires vacation and demolition of the property

In most cases we will either serve a Hazard Awareness Notice or an Improvement Notice.

Failure to comply with a notice or order could result in the Council completing the repair at the landlords cost, a fixed penalty charge of up to £30,000 and/or the landlord being prosecuted.