Housing Disrepair: The Essential New Timescales

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16 January, 2024

Samantha Robinson

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 introduced a new section 10A Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implying a term in all social tenancies that the landlord will comply with all prescribed requirements on responding to relevant defects to be specified in regulations. A breach would be actionable in the County Court.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have now published a consultation on the contents of the proposed regulations, with perhaps the key take away being a proposal that investigations and works should begin and continue subject to strict timescales; the period for beginning work to remedying a hazard being at the very most 23 days from being on notice of that potential hazard.

The proposals also include the following:


  • All 29 current HHSRS hazards would be relevant.
  • Hazards are to be defined as those that pose 'a significant risk' to the health and safety of the resident of the dwelling and do not need to be a Category 1 hazard.
  • Residents' vulnerabilities are relevant when considering significant risk, for example, asthma and other breathing difficulties in cases of damp and mould.


  • Landlords will have 14 calendar days to investigate from being on notice of a defect (notice can be via the resident or through the landlord themselves via their employees or agents etc.)
  • In relation to common parts or parts retained by the landlord (e.g. roof of a block of flats) notice is immediate from when the defect arises.

Written Summary/ Report:

  • After an inspection has been carried out, the landlord will have two days to prepare a report and provide it to the tenant.
  • The report must set out:
    • how and when the investigation took place;
    • the job title of the investigator;
    • any follow up investigations which are required and when they will take place;
    • if a hazard was found and if so what;
    • whether the hazard is likely to pose a significant risk to resident's health and safety;
    • if it does pose a risk, temporary repairs are to be carried out and confirmation of what will be done to permanently to rectify the issue and when this will take place must be given to the resident; and
    • contact details for the tenant to pose any queries should be given.

Non-urgent works:

  • Works should begin within 7 days (by begin, workers should be on site and physically beginning works).

Emergency Works:

  • There is no need to wait for the written summary/ report in urgent cases before beginning works.
  • Work should take place within 24 hours of inspection in emergency situations (an "inspection" does not need to be a physical inspection of the property and could for instance be inspection of photographs provided).
  • Emergency works are those which can present a significant and imminent risk to the tenant or others such as: gas leaks, broken boilers, lack of water supply, electrical hazards, significant leaks, broken external doors or windows, damp and mould which is impacting on a resident's ability to breathe.
  • Temporary accommodation or a decant may need to be offered if the property is not "safe".
  • Temporary repair or remediation may be needed in advance of full rectification, but follow up appointments should be planned and scheduled.

Completion of Works:

  • Repairs should be completed within a reasonable period (not unreasonably delayed and evidence provided where delays are necessary - an upcoming planned work programme would be unreasonable).
  • Repairs should reflect the nature of the problem (e.g. issues with heating during cold months to be treated more urgently).
  • Works should be proportionate to scale of the repair and needs of the occupant/s (shorter timescales may be required for vulnerable individuals).


  • The landlord is to make at least 3 attempts to contact the resident and arrange a suitable time to access the property.
  • Three attempts to access at the agreed times should be made by the landlord (more than three attempts is not expected).
  • A range of appointment days/times should be offered.
  • If access is not granted, a calling card should be left and follow up contact should be made by the landlord.
  • Clear contact records should be kept of all the steps listed above.

Shortage of labour or materials:

  • Landlords must keep residents updated and keep clear records of their attempts to source labour and materials, as well as updates to residents.
  • In any event, landlords must ensure the property is safe and if they cannot, a decant should be offered.

While the regulations are still at consultation stage, it is well worth bearing the proposals in mind now, and social landlords should consider adapting policies and procedures in order to minimise any future risk.

For more information contact Samantha Robinson in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 0333 207 1130. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Housing & Regeneration department here

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