If you’ve reported repairs to your landlord and they haven’t done anything, you may be able to do something about it. Tenants often think that it's unfair for them to pay rent while their home needs repairs and they want to know if they can use their rent in some way to deal with the problem.
This page explains that withholding rent can be very risky and what could happen if you do withhold rent. It also explains the procedure that must be carefully followed if you do decide to use future rent to pay for repairs.
You don't have the right to withhold rent because of your landlord's failure to do repairs. If you withhold rent your landlord may start possession proceedings against you and put you at risk of eviction.
Even though withholding rent is not recommended, if you decide that you want to do it anyway, then you should keep the money in a separate bank account. This way, if your landlord did start possession proceedings, you'd have the money to pay off the arrears straightaway. However, in some cases, your landlord could still evict you even if you didn't have any arrears.
You have a right to do the repairs and to recover the cost from future rent if your landlord has failed to do repairs that they're responsible for - check what repairs they have to do. Using rent to pay for repairs is risky and you must follow a specific procedure otherwise you put yourself at risk of eviction.
If you're thinking of doing this, it's best to get specialist help.
There are a number of steps that you must follow if you want to use your rent to pay for repairs. This procedure is only likely to be of use to you for more minor repairs which you can afford to pay for if required.
The steps are:
If you're a local authority tenant and you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you won't be able to use this procedure.
If you're a tenant of another social housing landlord such as a housing association, or a tenant of a private landlord, your landlord may be paid Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs directly.
You could contact the Housing Benefit office, or the Department for Work and Pensions if you're getting Universal Credit, and:
You're responsible for the quality of the work, which is why it's important to get quotes from properly qualified contractors. If you arrange repairs that are done badly, you'll be responsible and will have to put it right.
A term in a tenancy agreement which says that you can't use rent to pay for repairs is likely to be unfair and could be challenged.
In some cases, a private landlord may decide to evict a tenant rather than do repair work. Make sure you know whether you're at risk of eviction if you're thinking about using the procedure to use future rent to pay for repairs.
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