You have a right to live in a property that does not adversely effect your health.

As a minimum your rented property should be free from;healthy living

  • Rats, cockroaches, insects and other  vermin
  • Allow you to be warm
  • Free of mould or damp
  • Provide adequate ventilation
  • Dampness, condensation, and mould growth
  • Faulty or dangerous gas or electrical installations
  • Blocked drains or problems with rubbish or sewage
  • Unacceptable noise levels
  • Smoke fumes or gases

All rented properties must meet certain standards to make them safe and fit to live in. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) can assess a property to ensure it is safe and fit to live in.

If you have any concerns about your property we advise that you first put your concerns in writing to your landlord or letting agent and provide a reasonable time for the work to be completed.

If your landlord does not respond or complete the work we recommend that you contact the environmental health department of your local council and request help. They will assess the property using the Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and if necessary contact your landlord to ensure your concerns are addressed.

What can the council do if your home is unfit?

If you report the situation to the environmental health department, an officer should come to inspect your home. If they decide that your home includes a serious hazard, they have to take action. They can do this by:

  • issuing a hazard awareness notice – this warns the landlord that the council is aware of the problem
  • giving your landlord an improvement notice, ordering the landlord to carry out certain repairs or improvements by a certain time
  • ordering the closure of all or part of a building or restricting the number of people who live in the property
  • taking emergency action to do the repairs themselves and reclaim the costs from the landlord
  • making an order to demolish the property
  • buying the property from the landlord under the compulsory purchase rules.
  • If the council identifies minor repair issues in your house, they do not have to take action. However, they can decide to enforce the improvements, to avoid future problems.

If you rent a flat and you have health and safety concerns about the communal areas, you should put your concerns in writing to the managing agent.
If the managing agent does not respond or complete the work contact the environmental health department of your local council and let us know.

If you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO), there are also limits on the number of people who can live in the property. The number of people allowed to live there depends on the number and location of cooking, washing and toilet facilities. The property must also meet fire safety standards.
If you live in an HMO and think any of these facilities are not adequate, get advice – use our directory to find a local advice centre, or call our free housing advice helpline. Don’t delay – your home may be dangerous.

You raise a health concern and your landlord tries to evict you

Let us know and we will see if it is possible to get free legal advice to help you.

If the council’s environmental health department doesn’t take action

Let us know and we will see if it is possible to get free legal advice to help you.

Moving out of your home because of hazards

If you have to move out of your home because it’s no longer safe for you to live there, or it’s being demolished, you can make a homeless application to the council’s housing department. If you don’t have anywhere else to go, the council may have a duty to rehouse you.

Shelter have provided a ’housing rights checker’ to find out what help you might be entitled to.
http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/downloads_and_tools/emergency_housing_rights_checker