How long does your housing association or council have to fix boiler?

Your housing association or council has 24 hours to fix your boiler if you have been left without hot water, or you do not have heating and it is winter. If your boiler cannot be repaired within 24 hours, you should be given an alternative hot water/heating supply.

Broken boiler and your housing association’s responsibilities

If your housing association or council fails to fix your broken boiler quickly enough, you may have grounds to pursue legal action. Contact our housing disrepair solicitors for a free assessment of your claim.

Does my housing association have to fix my broken boiler?

Yes, a housing association or council is responsible for fixing a boiler UNLESS the tenant caused the damage to the boiler. Assuming that the tenant is free of blame, the housing association/council must repair a broken boiler. This duty is set out under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which states that a landlord is responsible for:

  • Keeping in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences)
  • Keeping in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water

The law overrides any tenancy agreements or other documents that have been signed. The law is final: the landlord must repair any installations that provide heating and hot water. This includes a boiler, be it a gas, electric or other type of boiler. If you are a housing association or council tenant, then the authority/organisation you rent from is your landlord.

How long does a housing association/council have to repair a broken boiler?

The law says that a landlord should repair a housing defect ‘within a reasonable amount of time’. This is not particularly specific, but that’s because different types of repairs require different levels of urgency.

A broken boiler is considered an emergency if it leaves the tenant without hot water. It is also considered an emergency if it leaves the tenant without heating and it is winter or there are freezing temperatures outside. In these situations, a repair should be carried out within 24 hours.

What if a repair isn’t possible within 24 hours?

A housing association/council might not be able to get an engineer out to the property within 24 hours. Or, it may be necessary to order parts or seek a second opinion, all of which can take yet more time. Meanwhile, the tenant is left to live without heating or hot water. In this situation, the housing association/council must organise alternative means of heating the property, such as electric heaters. If this is not possible – perhaps because there is no other way of providing hot water – then the housing association/council should pay for the tenant to live in temporary accommodation. If the housing association/council refuses to pay, then the tenant can recover the cost through the courts.

More than two days is a hazard

If a broken boiler is not repaired within two days and the housing association/council does not provide a viable alternative solution, then it is considered a hazard to the tenant’s health. When this happens, the housing association/council has breached both their repair responsibilities and their duty to keep the property free from hazards. This is something that you can claim compensation for.

Telling your housing association/council about the broken boiler

If your boiler is broken, you must tell your housing association/council about the problem as soon as possible. You can do this via letter, email or phone call. If you call, we recommend sending a follow up email detailing everything you have discussed. It can be useful to have written evidence, just in case your housing association/council says that you failed to report the issue.

If your housing association/council refuses to repair the broken boiler, or the housing association/council fails to fix the issue within two days, you should send another email or letter. Again, outline the problem and ask that it is repaired as a matter of urgency. If this still does not bring about any results, you should contact the Environmental Health Department of your local council. Then, contact us for legal advice. You could have grounds to make a housing disrepair claim.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also email us on or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch soon.

Should I withhold my rent?

No, you must keep paying your rent, even if you are living in a rental property with no heating or hot water. We know this seems unfair, but if you don’t pay the rent, you have breached your tenancy agreement. This is grounds for eviction. Keep paying your rent and reclaim your costs through the proper legal channels. You can do this by making a housing disrepair claim.

Related: Can I Withhold Rent for a Housing Disrepair?

Housing disrepair claims for broken boilers

If your boiler is broken and your housing association/council fails to fix the problem, you may be able to make a housing disrepair claim. This is when a tenant takes legal action against their housing association/council for breaching their repair obligations. You may be able to make a housing disrepair claim if:

  • You live in a rental property; and
  • Your boiler is broken through no fault of your own; and
  • You have told your housing association/council t about the broken boiler; and
  • Your housing association/council has not fixed the boiler within two days, or provided alternative sources of heating/hot water/accommodation

If this sounds like you, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors to discuss your next steps. We have a specialist team of housing disrepair solicitors who are ready to help you.

Compensation for a broken boiler

When you make a housing disrepair claim, you are awarded compensation for the damages you have incurred. This is calculated based on the amount of rent you paid while living with a broken boiler. Ordinarily you get a percentage of the rent back, plus money for things such as your lost earnings, damaged possessions, and the cost of temporary accommodation or electric heaters you bought. If your health has been affected because of the broken boiler, there will also be a personal injury claim element.

We can advise you more about the types of things you can claim compensation for when you contact us for advice. In the meantime, we suggest that you keep all the receipts, plus a record of any finances you have spent/lost because of your broken boiler.

The court can also force your housing association/council to fix the broken boiler.

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Speak to our solicitors

Are you a tenant living with a broken boiler for too long? Could you make a housing disrepair claim? Get a free assessment from our housing disrepair solicitors today.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We can take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can also email us at or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form, and we’ll be in touch soon.