Private Rented Housing - disrepair and poor conditions

Landlord responsibilities

If you privately rent your home, are a housing association tenant or your employer provides your accommodation, the landlord or managing agent has a responsibility to carry out repairs and provide safe living accommodation.

If the landlord or managing agent is failing to carry out the repair(s) or make improvements to poor living conditions, for example damp, inadequate or no heating, contact Environmental Health.

In the first instance, give your landlord or managing agent the opportunity to carry out the repair(s) or improve conditions. They may only know you have a problem if you tell them. It is best to text, email or write to them, and keep a copy so that you have a written record of your communication with them. This is proof that you have reported the repair(s).

The landlord or managing agent should carry out the repair(s) or improvements within a reasonable time period.

If you are still experiencing problems, contact Environmental Health and request a visit. If you have your landlord or managing agents telephone number and address, please provide these.

GOV.UK provide a checklist for renting for those who are about to rent a house or flat.

Environmental Health Officer visits

An officer will contact you to arrange a visit. When they visit, they will inspect your home and carry out a Housing Health and Rating System assessment (HHSRS). The officer will need to inspect the whole of the property to identify hazards. They may identify hazards that you had not previously been aware of. They will discuss their findings with you and what they are going to do next.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

This is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and applies to residential properties in England and Wales.

The HHSRS assesses 29 categories of housing hazard. A full list of the hazards can be found in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System - Operating Guidance (PDF, 913 KB).

Each hazard has a weighting which will help determine whether the property is rated as having category 1 (serious) or category 2 (other).

What happens next

Where an officer has identified hazards or poor conditions, they will write to the landlord or managing agent asking them to carry out works within a given timescale. We will contact you to see if the works have been completed. If the landlord or managing agent has not carried out the repairs or improvements the officer will advise you what happens next; this may include enforcement action in accordance with the Housing Enforcement Policy. In some cases you may be eligible to apply for a Rent Repayment Order.

We can support you in taking your own action against the landlord under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

If you are concerned that you may be facing eviction, find out what your rights are as a tenant.

Related pages

Homes in multiple occupation - safety inspections

Home improvement grants and loans

Housing information and advice

Contact details

Environmental Health and Licensing
Daneshill House
Danestrete
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

01438 242908 / 242916
env.health@stevenage.gov.uk