Made Tech Blog

From leaks to locks: A guide to reporting social housing repairs

If you live in a council property you may be eligible for paid repair works when something breaks within your home or in a communal area. Similarly to private landlords, housing associations and social housing operators (such as local governments and councils) must repair parts of the property they are responsible for maintaining. In this blog, you’ll find answers to the most common questions asked about reporting housing repairs and the differing responsibilities of landlords and tenants. 


How do I request a repair for a local council property?

Reporting a housing repair is different for each council. In some councils, you’ll only be able to report a problem or repair by calling their repairs hotline. To find the telephone number and their operating hours, we suggest you do a Google search for ‘report a repair [council name]‘. 

Other councils will have digital services where you can submit an issue by web form, email or webchat. Please check with your local authority or housing association for the best method to report a housing repair in your property. 

Don’t forget that some repairs are considered urgent and therefore you may need to report them in a different way to non-urgent repairs. For more information on what repairs may be considered urgent click here.

What is the best way to report a housing repair?

According to a 2017 report from Microsoft, 90% of users expect to be able to access an online self-serve portal, and the expectation with housing repairs is no different. 

From our analysis of 189 councils in the UK in 2023, only 73% of councils had an accessible online housing repair reporting tool. Of the 51 councils that did not, we identified that:

  • They didn’t have an online platform


  • They did have an online platform but it didn’t work or was not accessible*

*due to being incompatible with current browsers and security requirements or it was delisted from app stores for similar reasons. 

Not only is there an expectation from residents to be able to report housing repairs online, but an online reporting tool offers the greatest convenience and fastest way to report an issue with a property when compared to calling.

Some residents have reported waiting up to 35 minutes to report a repair via telephone. This is almost 8 times longer than our online housing repairs reporting tool which takes an average of 4 minutes to log a repair.

See how we’re reducing friction for residents by offering a secure way to report repairs without the need for a username and password.

How do I request a repair in a communal area of a council property?

Similarly to reporting a repair in your home, you may also be able to report a repair that is required in a communal area such as issues with lifts, CCTVs and bins. In these cases, the reporting process may be the same. However, we have identified that some councils have a different process for reporting repairs in communal areas. Please refer to your local council for information on how to contact them regarding these kinds of repairs. 

What happens to my report once it’s sent off?

The process of evaluating and managing repairs varies from council to council. Typically repair requests for social houses go to a housing repairs manager who will look over the report to identify if they need any further information so that they can assign the repair to the right repair person (such as an electrician or plumber). 

Once a repair has been scheduled someone will come to the property to review the repair and make a recommendation on how to fix the problem to the housing repairs team. They will then order the required parts and return the same day or a future date to complete the repair.

The process of approval, access to the property and scheduling varies between local authorities depending on their systems, processes and the availability of parts and labour.

What repairs do councils have to carry out?

Your landlord, whether they are a local authority, council or housing association will be responsible for carrying out all section 11 repairs (Landlord and Tenant Act 1985). Details of these responsibilities can be found in your tenancy agreement alongside any other repairs they are responsible for. 

At a minimum, they must pay for repairs to:

  • Gas, pipes, and boilers
  • Broken heating systems
  • Water leaks
  • Toilets, baths, and sinks
  • Roof, walls, windows, and external doors
  • Electrical wiring 
  • Any appliances provided in your home (such as fridges, freezers, washing machines)

If you live in a flat, they could also be responsible for:

  • The structure and exterior of your home, including walls, stairs, and bannisters, roof, external doors, and windows
  • Shared areas like lifts and stairways
  • Electrical wiring
  • Gas pipes and boilers
  • Heating and hot water
  • Chimneys and ventilation
  • Sinks, baths, toilets, pipes, and drains
  • CCTV
  • Bin areas
  • Gardens
  • Car parking

Your local council or housing association is always responsible for these repairs even if this is missing from your tenancy agreement or it says something different.

There may also be additional responsibilities that lie with the housing repairs team laid out in your contract.

It’s also important to note that they are also responsible for any redecoration that may be required once the problem is fixed. For example, if part of your wall had to be replastered after a repair, it should also be painted the same colour as your wall at the time of the agreement (provided you have not painted it another colour).

Tenants also have their own responsibilities which can be found here. 

What counts as an emergency repair?

There are some issues that are considered emergency repairs. The timelines and next steps to address these emergency repairs vary. Any of these should be considered as an emergency repair:

  • Damp and mould
  • Leaks
  • Rats, mice and pests
  • If you smell gas
  • If your fire alarm or carbon monoxide alarms are not installed or working properly (beyond changing the battery)
  • No hot water or heating
  • Exposed wires
  • Your windows or doors won’t lock

Who pays for the repair?

Any of the repairs covered under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, including the emergency repairs are all the responsibility of your landlord. They must fix them and pay for the costs of the repair and any redecoration required should your property be damaged.

What should I do if the repair was not completed?

There are several ways of handling a dispute if your repair wasn’t completed or is not being addressed.

If your repair was not complete, you should contact the housing repairs team as soon as possible with your repair reference number (if you have it), a description of the issue and the repair that was attempted. Providing pictures of before and after (even if it’s incomplete) will help the housing repairs team to assign the right person and materials to complete the repair faster. It helps to have all this information to hand when contacting the housing repairs team.

If there is a dispute about the timeline or urgency of the repair and you cannot resolve this with the housing repairs team, we suggest you look here for further information about escalating the issue. Timelines for repairs and the process of escalating depend on the type of repair required. 

What repairs are tenants responsible for?

As a tenant, you are responsible for maintaining parts of the property such as keeping it clean and tidy and ensuring no damage is done to the property or landlord-owned appliances through misuse and carelessness. 

If you cause damage to the property, fixtures or fittings that the landlord is responsible for repairing due to misuse then you may be responsible for the cost of repairs.

In most cases, tenants are responsible for:

  • Replacing lightbulbs and batteries
  • Cleaning ovens, washing machines, dishwashers etc
  • Ensuring ventilation is uncovered/ fans are turned on to reduce the risk of condensation and mould
  • Maintaining any private garden or driveway; keeping it in the condition it was at the time you moved in 
  • Maintaining toilets and sinks

When should I attempt to repair myself?

Depending on your proficiency there are some things that you could easily try to maintain yourself, such as the items in the list above. It’s always important to bear in mind the responsibilities you have as a tenant when taking on a new property and what you feel you can manage.

For example, a large back garden may be hard to maintain if you have mobility issues or cannot access or store a lawn mower.

Unblocking drains, replacing bulbs and batteries and keeping your home clean are all things that do not require a specialist (though you may want to hire the help of a cleaner or friend to assist).

We do not recommend you carry out any repairs on electrics, appliances (outside of what is safe to do in the manual), plumbing or gas. Leave this to the experts.

If you’d like to see our online housing repairs platform for yourself, please take a look at our demo. And if you think this is something you or other residents would benefit from you can always get in touch with us using the form on the same page.

About the Author

Profile picture for Kelly Newcomb - R&D Marketing Manager at Made Tech

Kelly Newcomb

R&D Marketing Manager