Local authority tenant: What is your right to repair?
Published 15 May 2016 by Emily Bancroft
Your council is responsible for some repairs on your property – find out what they are.
If you live in council housing, you expect your landlord to look after your property. That means if anything breaks or isn’t working properly, your council will send someone out to fix it.
But what are you legally entitled to? Does your council have to fix anything that goes wrong with your flat or house, and how quickly do they have to do this?
As a local authority tenant, the Right to Repair scheme means your landlord has to repair certain things in your property. If they don’t, you could get compensation. Let’s take a look at the Right to Repair scheme and your council’s responsibilities.
What is the scheme?
Each local authority must have its own Right to Repair scheme. This means that if something goes wrong in your property, your council might have to pay for this and organise the work.
If something’s broken in your council flat or house and you think you could claim under the Right to Repair scheme, you should contact your landlord. You’ll be able to do this through your council, either online or over the telephone.
When you report the repair, your landlord should tell you how long it will take to fix and when the contractor is coming to fix it. You’ll have to be in when the contractor comes so tell your landlord early if you can’t be around at that time.
There are different timescales for when your landlord will repair your property, depending on how urgent it is. For example, if your water or electricity supply, the council must fix this within one working day. If it’s something less critical – like your extractor fan isn’t working – they’ll have seven working days to fix this.
If your council takes too long to fix your problem, you can get compensation. If the contractor doesn’t come and do the work in time, tell the council. They’ll arrange for another contractor to sort it out. You’ll get £10 in compensation if the second contractor doesn’t turn up in time and £2 for every extra day, up to a maximum of £50.
Your council won’t pay for all repairs under the Right to Repair scheme. If your council think you’re responsible for the repair, you’ll have to fix this yourself. For example, if you’ve lost the keys to your flat or you broke a window, the council will probably charge you for this.
Here are some things your council will fix:
• lighting sockets or other electrical fittings,
• blocked pipes, sinks or toilets,
• your heating or hot water supply,
• a leaking roof, and
• broken windows or doors.
You can get in touch with your council for the full list of qualifying repairs. However, if the damage to your property isn’t your fault, your council will probably fix it.