What are environmental health issues?

All rented homes must meet certain health and safety standards, this includes privately rented homes as well as housing association homes or homes managed by local authorities.

Environmental health issues in your home refer to issues that can pose a serious risk to your health and safety, this includes both your physical health and your mental health. They can include a variety of issues that will be accepted as part of a housing disrepair claim such as:

  • A mould or damp problem
  • No access to heating or hot water
  • Structural issues that mean the property is not secure or at risk of collapsing
  • Pest infestations
  • Hazardous electrical wiring or appliances
  • An unsafe water supply
  • Fire risks such as fault fire alarms
  • Overcrowding
  • Trip and fall hazards
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Excessive noise
  • Chemicals and hazardous substances such as Asbestos
  • Dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide

Sanitary waste and sewage in your rental home

Problems with sanitary waste and sewage in your rental property can be a serious health hazard. Generally, the maintenance of your drains, pipes, gutters and other plumbing areas is your landlord’s responsibility so if you have blocked drains leaking pipes or a sewage leak your landlord will be responsible for repairing the issue.

The only exception to this is if you have caused the damage by not using fixtures and fittings correctly, for example, if you have blocked drains by flushing items down the toilet that you shouldn’t have. If this is the case then could be liable for the repairs.

Your landlord could also be responsible for repairing any damage that has happened as a result of blocked drains or leaking pipes.

Your landlord is responsible for repairing problems in your rental property that are environmental health issues and they should make necessary repairs in a reasonable time. Some environmental health issues may be so severe that they could require emergency action from your landlord or letting agent in which they should fix the issue within 24 hours.

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Wayne B

Housing Association Tenant

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Couldn’t leave any clothes in any of the bedrooms due to dampness and mould, our clothes, possessions & electronics were ruined and not to mention the huge amounts of stress this caused over the years. I am so grateful for your help with getting my property repaired for me & the financial compensation awarded to me has changed my life. Thank you so much

Liam M

Council Tenant

My flat was repaired in time for my child’s birth and I received rent refunds and compensation. The team were very helpful and understanding of my dangerous situation.

Ashley Y

Council Tenant

We had been waiting for 12 months for the damp to be repaired by the council but got nowhere. We were told by a friend that this company could help and within 6 months we received compensation for damages & all the damp and mould was removed.

Are you a Council or Housing association Tenant with housing disrepair issues? If so we can help you claim compensation on a NO Win, NO Fee basis.

What can Environmental Health do to landlords?

Your local council is responsible for monitoring housing conditions in the areas. Environmental Health is a department of your local council that can investigate serious housing disrepair issues. If you contact or are referred to the Environmental Health Department then they will usually send an environmental health officer to carry out an inspection of the property that you are living in.

The officer will assess your home using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), this is an assessment of hazards in your home that can affect your health and safety. The environmental health officer must take action if they believe that you are at risk of serious harm to due health and safety hazards in your home.

The action that the Environmental Health Department may take against your landlord includes both informal and formal action including:

Serving a hazard awareness notice to your landlord – this informs your landlord that the council are aware of a hazard in the rental property

Serving your landlord and improvement notice – this orders your landlord to make repairs and includes a date that the repairs should be made. If they are not made then they could find your landlord up to £5000. Improvement notices are usually used for Category 1 hazards but your landlord can also be served an improvement notice for Category 2 hazards.

Making the repairs themselves – for serious issues that are in need of urgent repair the council may make the repairs themselves and bill your landlord for the costs.

Making a prohibition order – this is done in cases of critical safety issues the order restricts access to parts of or the whole property immediately until work is done.

It’s worth noting that it is a criminal offence for your landlord to refuse access to an environmental health officer.

When should I contact the Environmental Health Department?

Private and housing association tenants should only contact the Environmental Health Department if they have already spoken to their landlord and if the issue they are facing is a serious risk to their health and safety.

Before contacting Environmental Health it’s important that you inform your landlord about the issue in your rented property. Your landlord is only responsible for making the repairs once you have informed them. You should let your landlord know what the issue is, how long it has gone on for and whether it has caused any damage or is a danger to your safety. You should make attempts to communicate with your letting agent or landlord about the issue before moving on to the next steps you could take.

If speaking with your landlord doesn’t work then you can make a complaint to your local council. If the issue is serious then your local council may refer your case to the Environmental Health Department. You can also contact them directly yourself, you can find contact information on your local council website.

How do I complain about Environmental health issues if my landlord is a local authority?

Tenants of local authorities should consider other options instead of contacting Environmental Health about health and safety issues in their homes. This is because Environmental Health is a department of your local authority and local authorities cannot take action against themselves.

Instead, you can make a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman if your local authority does not make repairs to environmental health issues in your home. The Housing Ombudsman is a free service that resolves disputes between a tenant and their landlord.

You can complain about your local council to the Housing Ombudsman by filling in their online complaints form.

Can I make a housing disrepair claim for environmental health issues?

Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that you have safe living conditions. If you’re facing environmental health issues in your home and your landlord refuses to make repairs then you could be eligible to make a housing disrepair claim against them.

If you take legal action by making a housing disrepair claim then the court could order your landlord to make the repairs and you may also be awarded compensation. You can claim compensation for a variety of things including damage to your personal belongings, nuisance to your daily life, financial loss and personal injury.

You can only make a housing disrepair claim if you have first tried to resolve the issue by speaking with your landlord and complaining to your local council.

How our lawyers can help

If your rented council home or housing association property has issues that have not been repaired find out if you are eligible to make a housing disrepair claim for property repair and compensation.

Are you a Council or Housing association Tenant with housing disrepair issues? If so we can help you claim compensation on a NO Win, NO Fee basis.

Frequently asked questions

A Category 1 hazard on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is when there is a serious and immediate risk to a person’s health and safety. There are 29 hazards assessed by the HHSRS and each hazard that is found is given a score, hazards with a score of over 1000 are classified as Category 1 and the council must take action.

Category 2 hazards on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System are less dangerous hazards that are given a lower score than Category 1 hazards. The local authority has the power to take action on Category 2 hazards but it is up to their discretion whether they use this.

The Environmental Health department can deal with issues in your home that present a serious risk to your health.

If you contact the Environmental Health Department about a disrepair issue, they will usually inspect your property and assess it for hazards such as sanitation and drainage problems and other issues.

If hazards are found they could take several different types of action depending on the housing conditions such as serving an improvement notice or prohibition order.

We are National Housing Disrepair experts.

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