Housing Disrepair Claims

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Housing Disrepair

In 2017 the number of households in the private rented sector was 4.5 million, an increase of 1.7 million compared to 2007. For a variety of reasons, more and more people are opting to rent.

However, as a tenant, you may feel uncertain about what rights you have and what you are able to raise as an issue. Your landlord has a duty to ensure that the property is in a good condition and that repairs are carried out in a timely manner and at no cost to the tenants.

The areas that are covered by the landlord’s responsibility include the structure (walls, roof, foundations) and exterior (drains, guttering, windows). They are also liable for interiors including wiring, pipes, sinks, toilets, baths, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas or electric fires.

Some of the most common complaints relate to issues caused by damp, mould, damage caused by water leaks.

Whether your landlord is private, council, or housing association they all have the same obligations.

You can claim for distress or inconvenience, damage to personal items, personal injury caused by the disrepair, and any financial losses you have incurred.

You cannot be evicted as a result of any claims.

What does disrepair mean?

Disrepair can include any of the following:

  • Mould
  • Damp
  • Boiler failure
  • Structural damage
  • Water or gas leaks
  • Vermin

What are the responsibilities of a landlord?

The landlord must ensure:

  • You are safe
  • You have a safe and operational boiler
  • You have heating and hot water
  • Areas of mould /damp are treated
  • The cause of any mould / damp is fixed
  • The roof and walls are maintained to a suitable standard
  • Gas and Water leaks are repaired as a matter of urgency
  • Unsafe and/or exposed wiring is corrected

Steps to take if the property is in disrepair

  • Report the problem to your landlord in writing (email as an example)
  • Keep screenshots of any texts and make notes of any calls
  • Take photographs of the issues
  • Make a list of belongings that have been damaged, take photographs of them and retain copies of receipts if you had to replace damaged items
  • If you, or an occupant, are ill visit a walk in centre / GP

Keep on top of your landlord. Be polite, reasonable, and ensure you communicate in writing (again email is ideal). 

If the repairs fail, or are temporary and not suitable, continue to update and report these matters to your landlord. 

Do not withhold rent and keep all rent payments up to date. You must comply with your tenancy agreement. 

How long does the landlord have to make repairs?

A reasonable period of time.

This definition is not very specific as the period of time considered reasonable will be dictated by the nature of the disrepair.

As an example, for urgent matters such as a broken boiler in winter, or a leak, immediate remedial action is expected.

For disrepair related to plaster work, or less urgent matters, weeks, or even months, could be considered reasonable.

The best advice would be to contact us and one of our highly recommended solicitors will guide you on this.

Can the landlord evict you if you make a claim for housing disrepair?

No, legally they should not attempt to do evict you for making a complaint and/or making a housing disrepair claim.

You have a right to live in a safe place, in a good state of repair, and your landlord has a duty to fix the disrepair and is not legally allowed to evict you for complaining.

If your landlord does attempt to evict you after a complaint or uses the threat of eviction against you, this is something that our panel solicitors would assist you with.

Again, do not withhold rent and keep all rent payments up to date. You must comply with your tenancy agreement. 

What do you receive if you are successful in a housing disrepair claim?

Compensation is calculated by deducting a percentage of the rent that you paid to your landlord for the time period whilst the repairs should have been completed.

This is like a refund of your rent – usually between 20% and 50% depending upon the severity of the disrepair.

Compensation can range from £1000 – £10,000 in the most severe cases.

You can also claim for:

  • Damaged property/clothes
  • Excess energy bills
  • Refund of any fees incurred in repairing the property

If the repairs are outstanding, or the property is still considered to be in disrepair, then the repairs by the landlord will be enforced.

How can the My Legal Club panel solicitors help?

  • Free consultation
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  • No win no fee
  • Arrange inspections via surveyors
  • Communicate with your landlord directly and handle all correspondence
  • Ensure repairs are completed / ordered
  • Secure you compensation if successful in your claim
  • Our members receive unique savings from our panel solicitors. Many solicitors will deduct up to 25% of your compensation. Our highly recommended solicitors offer unique discounts to our members. 

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