Evidence is key when landlords don’t put things right.

Band together to be more powerful.

Tenants can have a raw deal from landlords and if you’re having problems use OnRecord to gather evidence of what’s wrong so you can be heard and taken seriously. If you’re living in a block of flats and sharing similar problems, band together to keep records and take action together. If you’re part of a tenants’ union do the same. There’s power in numbers.

Here are some common problems and advice on what to do:

Your building may be unsafe

  • Ask your landlord to do a fire safety test, for example to the outer cladding. If they’ve done a fire safety test recently, ask for a copy.

It’s essential to ask in writing and keep a copy. If you don’t keep records you won’t be able to prove what you’ve done. Send your landlord a letter or email saying why you think it’s unsafe and include any specific repairs that need to be done such as putting right a fire door that doesn’t close properly. Upload a copy of the letter or email on OnRecord on the date you did it.

  • If your landlord refuses to do a fire safety test

Find your local council’s details online and contact the ‘environmental health department’. Explain what’s happened and include what you’re worried about, how old you and any other tenants are and if you or any other tenants have a serious illness or disability

The council can arrange for an inspector to check your home for hazards – this is known as a ‘Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)’ inspection.

Keep a record on OnRecord as before.

  • Collect evidence

Get together any evidence you have that your home is unsafe – for example you should:

  • get a copy of your fire safety assessment
  • get copies of any letters or conversations you’ve had with your landlord about the problem
  • write down the reasons you disagree with the assessment
  • ask for a report from the fire service

All the evidence you have should be recorded and uploaded to OnRecord.

Complaining about a neighbour

Check if the problem counts as anti-social behaviour. It’s likely to be if it causes you ‘nuisance and annoyance’, for example playing loud music late at night or putting rubbish in your garden.

It doesn’t count as anti social behaviour if the problem’s to do with normal day-to-day living, for example:

  • the sound of you walking in your flat
  • your baby crying
  • cooking smells

As always keep records and upload to them to OnRecord.

Make a note whenever the problem happens.

Write as much detail as possible. Include what happened, the length of time and how it affected you, for example, “10 July – dogs barking from 10:15am to 12:35pm. Loud enough to hear in living room.”  In that case you can make an audio recording on OnRecord and upload it so that it shows the time and place where the noise was happening.

Keep any messages your neighbour sends you and collect evidence if you feel safe to. For example, take a photo of rubbish that’s been dumped in your garden.

Your landlord is failing to make repairs

If your landlord doesn’t do anything after you report the need for repair, you will need to take other action but before you do, be prepared.

Always keep evidence on OnRecord of the communications you had with the landlord about repairs and the replies or lack of replies, together with supporting evidence of what’s wrong, such as a photograph of something broken or damaged.

No matter who your landlord is, keeping evidence about the repairs on OnRecord will always be useful. This includes:

  • Keeping a record of any conversations you have with your landlord, the date and time you spoke to them and anything they agreed to do or refused to do. If you’re fobbed off explain what was said to make you think that. Always name who you spoke to and, if you can, their role. If it’s an important conversation write to them straightaway confirming what was said.
  • Keeping copies of any letters or emails you sent to, and received from, your landlord or their agent
  • Taking and uploading photographs of the fault, particularly if the problem gets worse over time, in which case upload pictures over time as the problem worsens.
  • Keeping any belongings or taking photographs of belongings that have been damaged because of the repair problem. For example, clothes or furnishings damaged by mould. Make a note of how much they cost you or keep receipts if you have to buy new things to replace them.
  • Keeping a note of any medical visits if you are injured or made ill by the problem.
  • Uploading any expert evidence you may have, for example, reports from a surveyor or an Environmental Health Officer.

If you do this you will have collected evidence over time of the original problem to show how serious it is, if it’s worsened and it’s impact on you and anyone else living in your home. But just as important is the evidence of the landlord’s attitude to your problem, the speed of any responses, the seriousness of the landlord’s response to your problem and any actual action taken to remedy the problem.

OnRecord will produce a clear chronology of what’s happened which is downloadable and can be used to seek advice and take any recommended action.