Accessing Council Services:
- You can access advice, or support with using our online services, by phoning 01268 882200 (8.45am to 5.15pm Mon to Thurs, and to 4.45pm on Fri)
- The Kiln Road office will re-open for pre-booked appointments only (9.00am to 4.00pm), these can be arranged on a case by case basis by phoning 01268 882200.
- You can find information and advice on COVID-19 and our 24/7 online services on our Coronavirus information page .
Making a complaint
The Environmental Health Team investigates complaints of poor conditions in rented housing. When we investigate, we consider hazards in your home that have the potential to affect your health or safety. The most common complaints we receive are:
- Damp and mould
- Excess cold
- Crowding and space
If you are concerned that there are hazards in your rental property you should first contact your landlord in writing detailing your concerns and given them the opportunity to carry out the works. Your landlord should respond within 14 days and set out what they intend to do to rectify the problem and a timescale for doing so.
We can provide you with guidance on how to compose your letter or alternatively, Shelter provide letter templates
Please note: if you feel your complaint is urgent, please call 01268 882200 option 5
My landlord won't carry out the repairs - What do I do?
If your landlord does not carry out the works, or you feel they have not been completed fully then we may be able to assist. You will be required to complete a form: ‘Application for housing disrepair assessment’. For a form please contact: 01268 882200 option 5 or email us
What happens next?
Once you return your form it will be allocated to an officer who will assess your complaint to see if we can help you. If the officer feels we can proceed with your complaint you will be invited to meet with them at our offices where documentation such as your tenancy agreement will be checked and they will discuss how to proceed with your complaint.
When will you inspect my property?
Typically an inspection will take place four or five weeks from meeting with you. A Letter confirming the date and time of the inspection will be sent to you and your landlord.
Why do I have to wait so long for an inspection?
When your landlord is invited to attend our inspection we advise of the hazards which have been reported to us. The timeframe gives the landlord a chance to rectify the hazards and carryout repairs. This time is also used by your case officer to carry out a variety of checks such as; Land registry searches and planning history. The case officer will also go through your supporting documentation and if necessary confirm details with other departments.
Does my landlord have to attend the inspection?
Your landlord is invited to attend the inspection, however it is not compulsory for them to be present.
What happens after the inspection?
Each hazard identified during the inspection will be given a score. If the score identifies category one or category two hazards then we can take enforcement action against your landlord. Your case officer will discuss the options with you.
What is retaliatory eviction?
Retaliatory eviction is where after making a legitimate complaint to your landlord about the condition of their property the landlord serves an eviction notice, without carrying out the repairs.
The Deregulation Act 2015 (The Act) came into force on the 1st October 2015 and currently relates to all new assured shorthold tenancies that start on or after this date. This will eventually be rolled out to cover all tenancies. The Act is designed to protect tenants against retaliatory eviction after making a legitimate complaint regarding repairs to their rental property.
You must be aware that the Act does not apply in all cases. It will only apply if the landlord does not address repairs following a legitimate complaint and if following an inspection by one of our environmental health team either an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action is served. If either notice is served a landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice for a period of 6 months.
For further information please refer to Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
This Act came into force on 20th March 2019 and is designed to ensure that all rented flats and houses are “fit for human habitation”. The Act applies to both social and private rented sectors.
What does the Act mean for tenants and landlords?
The good news for landlords is that there are no new obligations for you under this Act: the legislation requires you to ensure that you meet your existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety. This means it is safe and free from hazards which could cause harm. If it isn’t, tenants can take legal action against their landlords. Below are guides for both tenants and landlords.
Tenant guide to the Act Tenant guidance
Landlord guide to the Act Landlord guidance
The Tenant Fees Act 2019
From the 1st June 2019 the Tenant Fees Act came into force. This Act provides new restrictions on the types of payments and deposits a landlord can impose on tenants. From now on, only “permitted payments” are allowed which include; rent, tenancy deposits and holding deposits. The permitted payments themselves are restricted, for example a holding deposit may not exceed 1 weeks rent.
Who does the Act apply to?
The Act applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) except social housing tenancies and leases granted for longer than 21 years. The Act applies to new tenancies entered into from 1st June 2019 and on fixed-term tenancies which are renewed after 1st June 2019. From the 1st June 2020 the Act will apply to all relevant tenancies agreed prior to 1st June 2019.
Electrical Safety Standards
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020 and applies to all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020.
How often must I have electrical testing carried out?
As a landlord you must ensure every electrical installation in your residential premises is inspected and tested at intervals of no more than 5 years by a qualified and competent person.
Do they apply to all tenancies?
The regulations apply in England to all new specified tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021. 'New specified tenancies' is any tenancy created on or after 1 June 2020.
What do I do after the electrical test is done?
Following the inspection and testing, a private landlord must:
- obtain a report from the person conducting that inspection and test which shows the result and the due date for the next inspection and test.
- supply a copy of that report to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of the inspection and test.
- supply a copy of that report to the local authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority. If the local authority doesn’t write to you, you do not need to send them a copy of the report.
- retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection and test
- supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant of the specified tenancy to which the report relates before that tenant occupies those premises; and any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant
What do I do if the report is unsatisfactory?
Where an Electrical Installation Safety Report identifies urgent remedial work or requires 'further investigation', the private landlord must ensure that the required work is carried out by a qualified and competent person within 28 days (or the period specified in the report if it is less than 28 days), starting with the date of the inspection and testing.
The landlord must then:
- obtain written confirmation from a qualified person that further investigative or remedial work has been carried out and that the electrical safety standards are met or that further investigative or remedial work is required
- supply that written confirmation, together with a copy of the report which required the further investigative or remedial work to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work. You must send a copy of the report to the local housing authority within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work.
What if I don’t have an inspection or fail to carry out the required work?
Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the new regulations and can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if they find a landlord is in breach of their duty.
Local authorities have the power to serve remedial notices on private landlords. If the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken with 28 days, the local authority can arrange remedial work to be carried out with consent from the tenant, and recover the costs from the landlord.
What about HMOs?
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 previously put specific duties on landlords around electrical safety. This requirement has now been repealed, and HMOs are now covered by the new Electrical Safety Regulations.
Any HMO with 5 or more tenants is licensable. The Housing Act 2004 has been amended by these Regulations to require a new mandatory condition in HMO licenses ensuring that every electrical installation in the HMO is in proper working order and safe for continued use.
How can I find out more information?
To read a copy of the legislation, please use this link
For further guidance, please use this link
Further information can be found below: