A rolled up towel on a window sill. Image by Mr Tin DC

The windows of my flat are leaking

If water comes in through the edges of your windows when it rains, there may be a problem with your window frames: if wooden, they might have rotted, and if aluminium they may not have been fitted properly.

Water coming in even when it isn’t raining could be a sign that the building’s cladding or insulation has a fault in it.

But there’s something else to consider as well: if water can get through, so can smoke, meaning that you flat may not be properly compartmentised. Flats within a building should be fully sealed so that they contain fire and help stop it spreading through a building.

Whichever of these apply, it is your landlord’s responsibility to get the issue fixed. Frequent leaks can damage the floors, walls and furniture; and of course structural issues need to be sorted out to keep the building safe.

What does the law say?

Your landlord is responsible for keeping the exterior and structure of your flat in good repair. So, if the leaks are caused by disrepair, they must fix it. 

If the leak has caused damage to your home, for example it has ruined flooring, this may be covered by buildings insurance. Your landlord is responsible for claiming the insurance and sorting out repairs.

If the leak has damaged your furniture or belongings, you may be able to claim from the insurance through your landlord as well.

What action can I take?

  • Contact your landlord to tell them of the problem. Make sure you clearly state what you would like them to do — to make repairs, and possibly to claim on the insurance.

There’s a letter you can copy on this page.

Meanwhile:

  • Smaller leaks can be managed temporarily by rolling up a towel and putting it on the windowsill to soak the water up.

If the leak is large then you should report it as an urgent repair issue. Your landlord should have given you information on how to do this when you moved in.

More advanced information

  • The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 amended the law which was already set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, so you might need to look at section 9A to 10 of the 1985 Act for the basic detail that underlies the current rules.
  • The Housing Health and Safety Rating System can be enforced by you through the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 or by Environmental Health unless your landlord is the local authority.

    Even if your landlord is the local authority, there is a duty on the local housing authority (LHA) under the Housing Act 2004 to keep housing conditions in their area under review with a view to identifying any action that may need to be taken by them under the Act (section 3(1)).

    Any deficiencies identified will contribute to a hazard under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This does not exclude the LHA’s own property.

Related guides

A woman throwing paper planes A woman throwing paper planes

Tools you can use

Contacting your landlord

Tips and letter templates to help you communicate with your landlord when there’s something wrong, or you want to find out more.
Image by Nicolas Nova - a broken window with cardboard over the missing pane Image by Nicolas Nova - a broken window with cardboard over the missing pane

Guide

My landlord isn’t making repairs

Your landlord should be keeping your tower block, and your flat, in good repair. If they do not, there are several things you can do.
Two doors with a staircase between them. Photo by Nick Chalkiadakis Two doors with a staircase between them. Photo by Nick Chalkiadakis

Tools you can use

Making a formal complaint

If you have made a request to your landlord and you’re not getting results, then what can you do next to get things fixed?
Two women discussing over a laptoip. Image by WOCintechchat Two women discussing over a laptoip. Image by WOCintechchat

Tools you can use

Starting or joining a Residents’ Association or an Action Group

Joining together with other residents in your block or community can make you much more powerful.
A letter box. Image by Dele Oke A letter box. Image by Dele Oke

Tools you can use

Contacting your local councillor or MP

Your elected representatives, like MPs and Councillors, can help you with your housing issues. Here’s information on how to get in touch.
Image by Craig Whitehead - a man wipes condensation from a window Image by Craig Whitehead - a man wipes condensation from a window

Guide

There is condensation in my flat

Condensation is a common problem in tower blocks, and it can add to issues with mould or damp.
Image by Pete Birkinshaw - a mushroom growing on a damp carpet near a wall Image by Pete Birkinshaw - a mushroom growing on a damp carpet near a wall

Guide

Water is leaking from another flat

Leaking pipes are a problem in any type of home, but in a tower block you are also at risk of water leaking into your flat from the units above or to each side of yours.

Image credit