Tenants should always report any disrepair or poor conditions that may arise to the landlord as soon as possible. They should put their complaint in writing. In order to rely on the protection against retaliatory eviction that the Deregulation Act 2015 provides, a tenant must approach the landlord in the first instance.
If, after 14 days from the tenant making a complaint, the landlord does not reply, that reply is inadequate, or they respond by issuing a section 21 eviction notice, the tenant should approach their local authority and ask them to step in and carry out an inspection to verify the need for a repair.
An Environmental Health Officer of the council will arrange to inspect the property. They will conduct a thorough check. There is a detailed assessment method (known as the Housing Health and Safety Rating System) that has been developed to help local authorities verify whether a property contains serious health or safety hazards. If the inspection verifies the tenant's complaint, the inspector will take appropriate action. There are a number of enforcement options open to local authorities, including Improvement Notices and Notices of Emergency Remedial Action, but they will almost always engage with the landlord first, in order to try and resolve the problem informally.
If the local authority serves an Improvement Notice or Notice of Emergency Remedial Action, the landlord cannot evict the tenant for six months using the no-fault eviction procedure. Read the Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015: guidance note (opens in a new window).