Landlords have responsibilities to ensure their properties are fit to live in. A rented home may be unfit to live in where conditions or safety issues are so bad that it is not reasonable for you to live there. This could be because they:
- Have a detrimental effect on your health
- Are a safety risk
- Mean that you cannot make full use of your home
Things that may make your home unfit to live in include:
- Gas safety risks or unsafe electrics
- Fire safety issues
- Damp, mould or lack of heating
- Rats, mice or other pests
- Unsanitary bathrooms, toilets or kitchens
You have a right to court action if your home is unfit to live in and your landlord refuses to carry out work needed or pay you compensation.
- Shelter – housing conditions
- Shelter – landlord and tenant responsibilities for repairs
- Shelter – repairs and maintenance in council and housing association homes
- Shelter – legal action if your landlord won’t do repairs
- Advice Now – how to negotiate with your landlord
Disagreements with neighbours can also become a problem. Citizens Advice have information on how to tackle complaints or disagreements:
Information from local councils
North Warwickshire Borough Council
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
Rugby Borough Council
Warwick District Council
Stratford upon Avon District Council
Councils no longer offer a pest control service so it would involve contacting a local pest control contractor. Additional information about pests is available from:
- British Pest Control Association (BPCA)
- National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA)
- Advice if you think you have bees: The British Beekeepers Assocation
Lack of space in the home and overcrowding can also be difficult and stressful with increased risks of physical injury, poor physical and mental health.
There are two definitions of legal overcrowding, which cover the room standard and space.
The room standard is based on the number and sex of people who must sleep in one room. It is contravened when two people of the opposite sex must sleep in the same room. The exceptions to this rule are:
- Cohabiting or married couples
- Children under the age of ten
All living rooms and bedrooms are included in this calculation (and could also include a large kitchen).
The space standard is based on the maximum number of people who may sleep in one dwelling of a particular size. This depends on the size of the room(s), the number of rooms and the age of the occupants.
Guidance on overcrowding and/or living conditions can be obtained from your local council:
- Nuneaton and Bedworth BC – guidance on overcrowding
- North Warwickshire – your home including repairs
- Rugby District Council – living conditions
- Warwick District Council – housing standards and disrepair
- Stratford upon Avon District Council – housing standards in rented accommodation
More information on housing conditions:
- Shelter – housing conditions
- Citizens Advice – your council or housing association home is unsuitable
Furnishing your home
Some tenancies will come already furnished. Most council and housing association tenancies, however, will be unfurnished properties.
You may have furnishings from a previous property that you can bring to your new property. You may have had to leave furnishings and other belongings behind. Or you may not have items such as white goods and furniture to bring to the property and cannot afford to buy them.
Thinking about furnishing your home cheaply and sustainably can be fun. Sourcing second hand or preloved items can save money, save landfill space and benefit the environment. It also means you create a living space unique to you.
It’s best to start with a plan – what are your priorities? What do you really need? What can you source second hand?
Many local charitable organisations and community centres can advise around finding grants and/or pre-loved goods.
Local organisations who can help with baby essentials and clothing for a new baby can be found online - help for expectant and new parents
Local community support
- North Warwickshire Borough Council
- Warwick District Council
- Stratford upon Avon District (PDF, 284 KB)
Warwickshire’s reuse and recycle page has lots of ideas for places to look for local and national reuse schemes.
Local repair shops and cafes may be able to upcycle or repair damaged items.
Timebanking can be a way of helping each other out.
And don’t forget the power of plants to transform a living space and improve our health and wellbeing.
More information on responsibilities for landlord provided furnishings can be found on our tenancies page.
If you are struggling to provide the essentials for your new home, call the Warwickshire Welfare Scheme or Family Information Service who may be able to help:
Hoarding is a poorly understood condition and can be seen as more or less of a problem depending on the perspective of the hoarder and others who are impacted.
The NHS classify a hoarding disorder as “where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter”.
Many of us tend to accumulate clutter and may have periodic sort-outs. Hoarding becomes more of an issue when the clutter continues to pile up to such an extent that it prevents free movement around the house, resulting in safety issues and lack of living space. It can also create a significant health hazard as the areas cannot be cleaned properly and can become infested with vermin.
Hoarding often carries a psychological component as the individual can compulsively hoard and become very distressed about getting rid of any accumulated items. It is considered a mental health condition.
More information about hoarding is available on the NHS website.
Support is available for problem hoarding:
Enabling Spaces CIC provides a specialist occupational therapy led service, providing thorough assessments, interventions, practical support and solutions to individuals who compulsively hoard and live in domestic squalor.
Clouds End has information about hoarding and offers one-to-one support and support groups.
Hoarding may also be helped by counselling, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy. Counselling support is listed on our mental health and wellbeing pages below.
Warwickshire Fire Service
Warwickshire Fire Service offer safe and well visits, providing a free home fire safety check.
Housing related support organisations may also be able to help with hoarding issues.