Finding a tradesperson: council tenants

What to look for, trade regulators

When hiring a tradesperson, it is important to hire the right person for the job. If you don't, you may end up with even greater damage to your home.

When looking for a tradesperson:

  • get recommendations from friends and family – use your networks and find out about the positive experiences people you know have had
  • check with industry contacts – if you are looking for a reliable plumber and you've had a good experience with another professional, such as an electrician, try asking them for a recommendation. Make sure you let the person know who referred you
  • deal with an established firm – establish a firm's credibility by checking whether they are registered with a reputable trade organisation (see below). Ensure that they have an office address, telephone number and use headed papers. If VAT is being charged, make sure a VAT number is shown.
  • be clear about what you want - before any work starts, get a written specification and an estimate, agree on a payment schedule, get an insurance-backed warranty for the job and try not to change your mind halfway through the job- this usually costs more and causes delays
  • stay alert – avoid high-pressure salespeople, don't sign anything you don't understand and steer clear of advance payments
  • traders in the UK are regulated a by a series of governmental bodies – be sure to check where a trader is registered with the appropriate body before hiring them.

Trade regulators


WaterSafe is a body for competent and qualified plumbers in the UK. You can search for your nearest approved plumber on the WaterSafe website.

Gas engineers

By law, all gas engineers must be on the gas safe register – the official list of gas engineers who are legally registered to work on gas appliances. You can find a Gas Safe-registered engineer near you via the Gas Safe register website.


A number of organisations in the UK are approved by the government to register competent electricians. You can find a government-approved electrician near you through the Registered Competent Person Electrical website.


There is currently no government licensing of locksmiths. To find an approved locksmith, visit the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) website.

Approved trader scheme

The Trustmark scheme is the government-endorsed quality mark that signposts people to reputable local traders. Find a tradesperson near you through the Trustmark website.