Making a Complaint against your Landlord

You can complain about your landlord if they’re doing something wrong or you’re unhappy with their behaviour, for example if:

  • they aren’t doing repairs they’re responsible for

  • they’re harassing you, for example by entering your home without your permission

  • they discriminate against you, for example by charging you a higher rent or deposit than other tenants because of your nationality, race, age or sex

It’s best to speak to your landlord first to solve your problem. If this doesn’t help there are other steps you can take to complain.

Not sure who your landlord is? - check your tenancy agreement, deposit information and other documents. If you are still unsure then you can ask your agency. Your agent must give you the landlord's name and address if you ask for it in writing. You can email or send a letter. To help you with this, DSU has created a template letter here. They have 21 days to give you the information in writing. The council can prosecute the agent if they don't reply and the agent could be fined up to £2500. 

Don’t be afraid to make a complaint - you shouldn't have to put up with a bad service. The law is there to help you. Your landlord can't just end your tenancy because you've made a complaint - but they might try, especially if you've got an assured shorthold tenancy.

Speaking to your landlord and making a complaint

You can often get your problem solved quickly by speaking to your landlord first. Explain what you’re unhappy about and ask them to sort out the problem.

Take someone with you for support when you speak to your landlord if you feel it will help you. If you don't want to speak to them face to face or on the phone you could email.

Before discussing the problem you should also note down everything you want to say - you can refer to your notes during your conversation or put them in an email

If speaking to your landlord doesn't help, there are steps you can take to complain if your problem isn’t solved by speaking to or emailing your landlord.

Step 1: make a formal complaint 

  • You can make a formal complaint by writing a letter to your landlord.
  • Explain your problem and what you want them to do to solve it. Tell them what rights you have and what you think they should have done.
  • Make sure your complaint letter is clear and includes evidence.

You should include in your letter:

  • what you’re complaining about
  • what you want them to do about the problem
  • dates and times the problem took place
  • details of any conversations with your landlord and what they agreed to do
  • copies of any letters or emails between you and your landlord
  • photographs - for example showing damage or disrepair, particularly if the problem gets worse over time
  • receipts for things you've had to pay for because of the problem - for example laundry bills if your washing machine broke down 
  • a note from your doctor (if possible) - if the problem has affected your health or safety


Step 2: If making a formal complaint to your landlord doesn't solve your problem, you can make a complaint to the redress shceme that your agent has subscribed to.

There are 2 redress schemes:

- The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

- The Property Redress Scheme

You must complain within the time limit set by the scheme.

You can also complain to your local council, however your local council can only help with complaints about:

  • repairs that cause a risk to your health and safety not being done  (e.g faulty electrical wiring not being fixed)
  • illegal eviction
  • harassment
  • dishonest or unfair trading behaviour 

If your landlord still doesn’t sort out your problem after you’ve tried all the steps or if the council can’t help, you might be able to take court action. Taking court action is expensive, make sure it’s the right option for you.

Homes Fit for Human Habitation

If you live in a rented house or flat, then this guide will help you understand your rights under the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.

This guide is for people who:

  • rent privately - including private halls 
  • rent from a housing association; or
  • rent from their local council

What is the new law?

On 20 March 2019 a new law came into force to make sure that rented houses and flats are ‘fit for human habitation’, which means that they are safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

Most landlords make sure that the houses and flats they rent out are safe and secure, warm and dry. But some landlords do not, and this means that some tenants live in dangerous or unhealthy conditions. This new law, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, will help these tenants and make sure irresponsible landlords improve their properties or leave the business.

If rented houses and flats are not ‘fit for human habitation’, tenants can take their landlords to court. The court can make the landlord carry out repairs or put right health and safety problems. The court can also make the landlord pay compensation to the tenant.

Your landlord must make sure that your home is ’fit for human habitation’, which means that it’s safe, healthy and free from things that could cause you or anyone else in your household serious harm. For example, if your house or flat is too cold and you can’t heat it, this can affect your health.

If you are a private tenant, you can find more information on your landlord’s other duties and responsibilities by having a look at our 'How to Rent’ guide. Your landlord or letting agent should have given this to you when you moved in.

There is a step-by-step guide here and some helpful FAQs.

Remember - you can always talk to DSU Advice about this.