Your home is damaging your health
You can ask your local council to investigate if your home is damaging your health. Your landlord can be fined if they don't carry out the repairs. Visit our renting subsite to find out more about repairs and safety in privately rented accommodation.
Contact a local advice agency if you need repairs done and you are not sure who is responsible for carrying them out.
When can I ask the council for help?
You can ask your local council for help if you feel that it does not meet basic fitness standards. The local council will investigate if the property is:
- in disrepair,
- prejudicial to you health.
An environmental health officer looks at:
- levels of dampness,
- damaged drains and gutters,
- litter and waste around the house,
- signs of need for pest control,
- adequate provisions for lighting and heating.
Should I take action?
The most important things you should consider before contacting the local council are:
- if your landlord will evict you for doing so;
- if you want to stay in the property;
- how the problems affects you and the people you live with.
Risk of eviction
Some private landlords may prefer to try to evict their tenants rather than do repairs. If you don't have a tenancy agreement or your tenancy agreement is nearly over, you may need to think carefully about what to do.
If your tenancy began after 1 April 2007 and there is no specified end date in your tenancy agreement, a six month tenacy applies automatically.
There is also a risk that some landlords may try to illegally evict or harass tenants who try to force them to carry out repairs. A common form of harassment by landlords is to start repairs and leave unrepairs unfinished.
Harassment and illegal eviction are criminal offences. If you think your landlord is guilty of harassment or illegal eviction contact the NI - Environmental Health Depts of your local council.
If your home requires many repairs, sometimes your best option is to look for somewhere else to live.
Can the local council carry out a repair?
The local council can inspect the property and order your landlord to carry out the repairs if it decides that the state of your home is:
- damaging your health,
- is unfit for human habitation,
- is in substantial disrepair.
If your landlord refuses to carry out the repairs, the council can do the work and recover the costs back from the landlord.
Certain properties may need a fitness inspection by law. In this case, if your local council issues a Notice of Refusal of Application for a Certificate of Fitness , your property will be subject to rent control until the council is satisfied it reaches a certain standard of fitness.
The local council will contact your landlord if it decides that your home is unfit or in need of substantial repairs.
What happens if my landlord won't carry out the repairs?
The council can take your landlord to court if they won't carry out the necessary repairs. The court can:
- order your landlord to carry out the repairs,
- fine your landlord.
If your landlord still doesn't carry out the repairs, the court can fine your landlord:
- £50 per day until the repairs are carried out.
Your council may decide to carry out the work itself and recover the cost from the landlord later.
The council may also take your landlord to court for failure to comply with a Notice of Refusal of Application for a Certificate of Fitness. Your landlord could be fined up to £2500 for this failure. In these circumstances, if the landlord refuses to carry out repairs identified, the council can do the work and get the cost of works back from the landlord.
Your house may be subject to rent control if it does not have a Certificate of Fitness issued for it. You may be able to apply for a fitness inspection to be carried out on the property. This applies to specific tenancies.
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