On this page you will find information about what to do if you have problems with your privately rented home, such as if repairs are needed.

You must always report an issue to your landlord first. If your landlord is refusing to help, you can contact our private sector housing team.

Report a repair to your landlord

You must always contact your landlord first to report a repair. It’s their responsibility to give you their contact details or the details of their agent. If this information is not on your tenancy agreement or you don’t have one, contact Shelter about your rights.

You must speak with your landlord or agent first:

  1. Contact your landlord or letting agent, telling them what needs to be repaired. Do this in writing in case you need to prove this at a later date – you can find letter templates on the Shelter website.
  2. Wait 10 working days. If you don’t hear back, send a final letter or email giving them 48 hours to respond
  3. Keep copies of all correspondence and any evidence you have (such as photos of the issue)
  4. You will need to allow access to the property for the repair work, and give your landlord a reasonable time to get the work done
  5. You can then contact the private sector housing team if you don’t get a response from your landlord

Contact us for advice if your problem is an immediate danger or serious threat to health or security, such as:

  • Unsafe electrics
  • An external door that can’t be locked
  • No cooking facilities
  • A permanent loss of heating in the house during cold weather
  • Something that particularly affects vulnerable people (such as a baby, someone with care needs, or a person with a relevant medical condition or disability)

If your landlord refuses to do the repairs

Make sure you have followed the reporting process before contacting us. We can’t help you until you have raised your concerns with your landlord or agent, and given them a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.

If you have not received a response, you can report the issue to the private sector housing team by:

Health and safety rating system

The Housing Act 2004 introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) in 2006 to help identify and evaluate defects and deficiencies that may have a potential effect on the health and safety of the occupiers and visitors in a dwelling or house in multiple occupation.

A rating score is produced for each hazard. This is used to determine what, if any, action needs may be taken to make a property safe. In Portsmouth, any action taken by the council considers:

  • The rating score as determined by the HHSRS
  • Whether the private sector housing team or the council have a duty or a power to act depending on the severity of the hazards identified
  • The most appropriate course of action is to deal with the hazard

For more information on the HHSRS visit The Housing Health and Safety Rating System.


The main aim of enforcement action is to make sure that:

  • Non-compliance in the local housing market is addressed in the most effective way, and
  • Compliance is achieved for the benefit of all

View our Private Sector Housing team Enforcement policy for more information.