A decent home

You have a right to a home that is fit for human habitation and free from hazards that could harm your health or safety.

You have a right to a home that is fit for human habitation before you start your occupation and that your home is kept that way. This doesn’t cover wear and tear and any damage caused by your occupation.

This was brought into force under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. In reality this means your home must be free of serious hazards that might affect your health and safety, which is assessed using the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This covers:

  • inadequate heating;
  • insufficient hot water;
  • bad ventilation;
  • bedrooms that are too small;
  • bedrooms without natural light;
  • damp and mould;
  • dangerous electrics or gas;
  • fire risks;
  • rats, mice or other pests;
  • structural or internal disrepair;
  • broken locks or windows; and
  • unhygienic toilets, bathrooms or kitchens.

Your landlord is also responsible for repairs to the exterior and structure of your home. This applies to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies and includes:

  • walls;
  • stairs and bannisters;
  • roof;
  • external doors;
  • windows;
  • sinks, baths, toilets and other sanitary fittings, including pipes and drains;
  • heating and hot water;
  • chimneys and ventilation; and
  • electrical wiring.

Most landlords want to know as soon as something needs fixing and want to fix things as promptly. Always tell your landlord when something needs repairing.

When you ask your landlord to make repairs, you must ask in writing - even if that is an email or text - and keep a copy.

If your landlord needs to get into the property to inspect it and do repairs, they should give you at least 24-hours written notice and arrange a suitable time to visit (unless there's an emergency).

You must allow them at least 14 days to let you know what they are going to do about the problems. If they don’t respond or their response isn’t satisfactory then it’s time to contact the council using the online reporting form.

The council will assess the issues found and if they present an unreasonable risk to health and safety then the council will take action to remedy those issues. Following the process of notifying your landlord in this way before contacting the council helps prevent a revenge eviction.