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Problems with disrepair

Everyone deserves to live in decent, safe accommodation.

All landlords have certain obligations to ensure your property is kept in reasonable repair, is in a safe condition and complies to the relevant housing legislation. 

We may be able to help you if you live in a private rented or housing association property, and:

  • it is in disrepair, and
  • you are struggling with your landlord or letting agent to get the repairs done.

Write to your landlord

We advise that you put your disrepair issues in writing to your landlord or letting agent.  Allow a minimum of 14 days unless the matter is urgent. Here is an example of a letter you could write to your landlord.

When you have written to your landlord or letting agent, make sure you keep a copy of the letter.  This could ensure you're protected at a later date should your landlord retaliate by serving you with a Section 21 Notice to quit.  This is detailed in the Deregulation Act 2015 and applies to tenancies that started from 1 October 2015.  The Act ensures that where the complaint has been verified by the local authority and they serve an Improvement Notice or take Emergency Remedial Action, a Section 21 Notice served within the next 6 months is invalid.


If you don't receive a response or the response is unsatisfactory you can make a complaint to the council.

To complain please contact the Private Sector Housing Team:

Please supply the full name and address of your landlord or letting agent when you make your complaint.

We will normally need to give the landlord at least 24 hours notice before we carry out a formal inspection of your property.  A formal inspection of the property involves an assessment of the housing hazards in accordance with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). 

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk-based assessment to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. 

Where a hazard is present, an officer will assess the likelihood of an incident arising from that hazard and the likely harmful outcome. For example, how likely is a fire to break out and what will happen if it does?

A calculation is then carried out to produce a numerical score for that hazard. Any hazard with a score of 1,000 or more is considered to be a serious hazard (known as a category 1 hazard). Hazards with a score of less than 1,000 are less serious (known as category 2 hazards).

Occupiers should be aware that an inspection under the HHSRS can be very involved and may take a considerable time to complete.

See Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS): guidance for landlords and property-related professionals on for more information.

If a local authority discovers a category 1 hazard in a dwelling, it has a duty to take action to resolve the problem. It also has powers to deal with category 2 hazards.

We may try to deal with the problem informally at first. If this is unsuccessful we may require the owner to carry out improvements to the property or prohibit the use of the whole dwelling or part of the dwelling. We also have powers to act in an emergency.

The full list of enforcement powers available to us are as follows:

  • Improvement Notice - requires works to reduce the risk from a hazard to a minimum
  • Prohibition Order - prohibits the use of part or all of the dwelling by specified numbers or types of occupiers
  • Hazard Awareness Notice - draws the attention of the owner to a hazard but does not require any action
  • Suspended Improvement Notice - requires works to reduce the risk from a hazard but only after a specified time or event e.g. vacation by the current occupiers
  • Suspended Prohibition Order - prohibits the use of part or all of the dwelling but only after a specified time or event
  • Emergency Remedial Action - the Council takes immediate action to remove an imminent risk of serious harm
  • Emergency Prohibition Order - prevents occupation of part or all of the dwelling with immediate effect
  • Demolition Order - requires demolition of the property where this is the most satisfactory course of action
  • Clearance Area - requires that an area is cleared of all buildings where this is the most satisfactory course of action. There is a very detailed procedure to go through which includes consulting those people who will be affected by the decision. 

Failure to comply with a statutory notice could lead to a fine of up to £5,000.

For full details of the way in which Waverley intends to use its powers to improve private sector housing please read our Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy.