Repairs for people in private lets

This information is about repairs in a private let. It aimed at both tenants and landlords. If you are a Council tenant, please go to our information on Help for Council tenants, or if a housing association tenant, see Help for Housing Association Tenants.

What repairs are my responsibility?

Private tenants must look after the property and take care to avoid damage. Some small repairs will be your own responsibility. This involves:

  • keeping your home reasonably clean
  • keeping the fittings, appliances and furniture in good condition (allowing for normal wear and tear)
  • carrying out minor maintenance (for example, checking smoke alarm batteries, changing light bulbs, replacing tap washers etc)
  • making sure your home is kept reasonably well heated, so that (for example) pipes don't freeze up and burst.

What must my landlord repair?

Private landlords must ensure the house does not let in wind or water, and is reasonably fit to live in. This is called the 'Repairing Standard'. The structure and outside of the property, including items that have been installed or fitted permanently, and appliances (fires etc) must be satisfactory. If the landlord has furnished the property, it must be safe. Smoke alarms/detectors are required, and these must be wired to the mains (not battery-operated).

What happens if repairs are not carried out

If you think your landlord has failed to meet his/her repair duty, you can apply for the case to be considered by the Private Rented Housing Panel (PRHP). This is much easier than going to court.

If the property is simply not fit to live in

The Council's Environmental Protection Team will give advice, and inspect homes to identify properties which are not fit to live in , or do not meet the legal standard. They will decide whether the home meets the criteria, and the best course of action to take. Do not give up your tenancy voluntarily before seeking advice from the Environmental Protection Team at: John Muir House, Haddington, EH41 3HA. Call 01620 827365 or email


This linked page will help if you are a tenant looking to have adaptations made to a private house.

Care and Repair

There is a scheme for private tenants to get assistance with repairs called Care and Repair East Lothian.