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Complaining about housing conditions

To follow any changes to this service, visit the Council Service Updates page.

Making a formal complaint

You can consider making a formal complaint to your landlord if they:

  • haven’t dealt with a repair problem
  • are slow to do the work
  • have carried out an inspection but have done little or nothing since
  • have done the repair work but it’s of poor quality.

When you feel there is cause to make a disrepair complaint, firstly, please ensure that you have notified your landlord yourself, in writing (text or email is fine) and given your landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix it. On this page we have included a link to some examples letters that can be used to send to your landlord.

If your landlord has not reasonably responded to your serious disrepair complaint, and you feel you are at risk of harm, you should contact our duty officer and report the matter: Housing@northlinc.gov.uk

Watch our informative video

We investigate and assess poor housing conditions in privately rented accommodation. We may be able to use housing law to sort out problems. There are extensive duties and powers in Housing Acts which the council has the right to use to intervene or enter private properties to take legal action if necessary.

If you wish to complain about a rented property which has fallen into disrepair please be aware that:

  • making a complaint to the council regarding disrepair will not give you any legal protection against any ongoing eviction proceedings
  • the landlord will have to be made aware of the complaint
  • the landlord will be informed of any inspections carried out
  • we can only help you improve your current housing conditions
  • we have no bearing on any application you may have for social housing
  • we cannot take action for damp / mould issues resulting from condensation which is due to lifestyle. Please refer to the condensation leaflet for further guidance.

Once these first two steps have been taken, and the landlord has not been in contact or completed the works, contact us through our customer portal. We will arrange for an officer to contact you and if necessary carry out an inspection of the property.

When contacting us, ensure that you provide the following information:

  • your name
  • your address
  • your phone number
  • number and ages of occupants
  • type of benefits, if any, you claim
  • date your tenancy began
  • name of the landlord/letting agent
  • address of the landlord/letting agent
  • phone number of the landlord/letting agent
  • types of disrepair issues.
  • details on what contact you have had with your landlord.

Failure to provide all the details above may delay your complaint.

Important: If you have not taken steps one and two, we may not be able to take action, inspect the property or use our legal powers.

A tenant has certain responsibilities while living in a rented property to:

  • pay the rent on time
  • look after the property and to not deliberately cause damage
  • report repairs to the landlord as soon as possible
  • get the landlord’s permission before decorating or making changes to the property
  • not take a lodger or sub-let the property without your landlord’s permission
  • ensure you or guests do not cause anti-social behaviour.
  • keeping your home reasonably clean
  • safety checks on electrical appliances you own
  • keeping gardens or outside areas in a reasonable state
  • minor maintenance such as changing light bulbs or smoke alarm batteries
  • fixing appliances or furniture you own
  • damage caused by you, your family or your guests
  • any minor repairs set out in your tenancy agreement
  • you might have to pay for a repair problem you caused, even if your landlord would normally be responsible
  • your landlord could ask you to pay repair costs for things like blocked drains, pipes or toilets if you didn’t take reasonable care to keep them free of blockages
  • your landlord might fix things that you’ve damaged but they can charge for this
  • you’re not responsible for normal wear and tear in your home.

A tenant can be evicted if they break the conditions of their tenancy agreement.

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home. This applies to private landlords, councils and housing associations.

Their responsibilities include repairs to:

  • electrical wiring
  • gas pipes and boilers
  • heating and hot water
  • chimneys and ventilation
  • sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains
  • common areas including entrance halls and stairways
  • the structure and exterior of the building, including walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
  • damp and mould -our landlord must deal with damp and mould problems that are caused by disrepair or make the property unfit to live in
  • rats, mice and other pests -your landlord must carry out any repairs needed to stop pests getting in to your home
  • gas safety – your landlord must arrange gas safety checks every year
  • electrical installations and appliances – your landlord must make sure that wiring, plug sockets and any electrical appliances they provide are safe.
  • fire safety – your landlord must install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms where needed.

Your landlord:

  • should also redecorate if needed once the problem is fixed
  • is always responsible for these repairs even if your tenancy agreement says something different
  • should make sure that your home is safe and free from any hazards.

Unless you have a fixed term tenancy which began before 20 March 2019, your landlord must make sure your home is fit to live in throughout your tenancy.

Before we can take any action about a property which has fallen into disrepair, the following steps must have been taken:

a) Inform your landlord you must ensure that the unsatisfactory conditions you wish to complain about fall under the landlords’ responsibility to repair, and that the conditions are not a result of your lifestyle. You must inform your landlord, verbally and in writing listing the defects that require attention.

You may wish to use this example letter template for tenants requesting for repairs to a landlord. It is important that you keep a copy of your letter for your records.

Having information to support your complaint will always be useful. This could include:

  • records of conversations with your landlord, the date you spoke to them and anything they agreed to do
  • copies of any letters or emails you’ve sent to, and received from, your landlord
  • photographs of the repair, particularly if the problem gets worse over time belongings or photographs of belongings that have been damaged
  • because of the repair problem. For example, clothes or furnishings damaged by mould. It’s useful to keep a note of how much they cost you or
  • keep receipts if you have to buy new things to replace them
  • a note of any medical visits if you are injured or made ill by the repair problem
  • any expert evidence you may have, for example, reports from a surveyor or an Environmental Health Officer.
  • a note from a doctor if the problem is affecting someone’s health.

b). Inform your landlord for a second time if no action has been taken by the landlord to the first letter within a reasonable timescale (28 days), then a second letter can be sent to your landlord the second letter gives the landlord a further 14 days to address the issues.

Contact

Environmental Health and Housing
housing@northlincs.gov.uk
01724 297000