Housing Disrepair Solicitors London No Win No Fee
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Housing Disrepair Claims & Compensation Solicitors in London

Posted on: Fri Apr 16 | 6:46 AM by: housing

You have a legal right as a tenant to live in a home that is not dangerous and free from any issues of disrepair which can tend to harm you or your family. If you are living in a rented property that has been poorly maintained or not maintained at all and your landlord has been complacent about the disrepair even after reporting the issue, you might have to consult a housing disrepair solicitor to give you paid or free landlord advice.

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Court action should be the last resort after negotiations, deliberation and dialogue has failed to yield positive results because court action can be costly and time consuming.

This article elucidates more about what disrepair is all about, what is involved in soliciting for compensation, evidence you will need, and what jurisdiction the court has over the case.

In the United Kingdom, there are laws that pertains to tenancy and housing which are applicable if you:

  • Rent privately
  • Rent from a housing association
  • Rent from a local council/authority

It is the responsibility of the landlords (be it housing association, private, or council/local authority) unless otherwise stated, to make sure that their properties are secure, safe and free from disrepair. However, a tenant has the right to make claims against landlords if the landlord refuses to take responsibility for the disrepair thereby making the tenants live in potentially unhealthy and dangerous conditions.

As a tenant, you can take legal action against your landlord with the help of housing solicitors near you (in the form of a housing disrepair claim). This is applicable, if you feel your property is in a state of disrepair and you have already discussed the issues with your landlord, and he/she/they have not been able to resolve the issue within a reasonable time after making your complaint.

If you are a tenant living in social housing or you are a council tenant and your home is in a state of disrepair, you may also be eligible for some financial compensation if you have suffered as a result of the housing issues you have faced. Also there are council housing solicitors also known as council tenant solicitor experts that will be able to support you in making a claim to get your home returned to a habitable condition.

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 Meaning of Housing Disrepair 

Housing disrepair is a condition whereby a rented property is not structurally safe and suitable for a tenant to inhabit and needs to be fixed by the landlord as required by law. The failure of your landlord to maintain the structure and exterior of the property can cause water damage, a faulty boiler or structural problems. Other housing disrepair condition include:

  1. Damp / mould issues: Damp and mould spores are highly hazardous to tenants wellbeing, they worsen breathing challenges and are also said to be a cause of asthma and eczema in children. The aged, the sick and young tenants are mostly at risk from it, and tenant can seek for compensation from landlord for mould and damp.
  2. Unstable building
  3. Poor ventilation
  4. No hot water / heating or boiler problem in rented property
  5. Water damage
  6. Drainage and sanitation issues
  7. Roof leaks
  8. Electrical hazards
  9. Blown (misty) double glazed units

Housing Disrepair Requirements from Landlords

In most tenancies, repairing duties are included into the terms of the tenancy. The repairing responsibilities require a landlord to keep in good condition the structure and exterior of the dwelling house and also keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the property for different supply like water, gas, electricity; sanitation, space heating, and no heating or hot water in rented property. The law does not allow the landlord to contract out of their repairing obligation.

In a situation of a leasehold property, the repairing obligation of the freeholder is contained in the terms of the lease.

Subject upon the root cause of the problems in your home, a property solicitor in London may be able to bring a claim in the County Court pursuing an order for repairs to be carried out, as well as requesting for financial compensation. On the other hand, in some serious situations, proceedings can be brought before the Magistrates Court in relation to housing disrepair claims.

What are some of the effects of housing disrepair?

Damages caused by negligence of disrepair of property can have a negative impact on your health and cause damage to your personal belongings, which could lead to financial loss as well as having the possibility of affecting your mental wellbeing.

If you have experienced any challenge as regard to disrepair and your landlord has failed to fix the situation within a realistic time since you reported the issues, you are entitled to make a housing disrepair claim. Contact a London housing solicitor firm and speak to a member of our specialist housing disrepair team through their free housing advice helpline.

How to claim compensation from your landlord

The first step is to complain to your landlord; you then need to contact a no win no fee property solicitors London if they act nonchalant about the issues you have raised or refuse to fix your home.

Most of these housing solicitors offer free consultation at the initial time. Their team of expert housing lawyers will attend to you to assess your present condition and counsel you on whether there is a strong case for legal action. At this stage, it is vital that much information as possible about your potential claim is gathered.

Taking photographs of the state of disrepair would be a useful supporting evidence and the team of housing lawyers would ask you to share them with them. The photos can be sent to the team of best housing disrepair solicitors via email or other instant messaging apps like whatsapp, facebook messenger or instagram.

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When you should take court action

There are some checks you have made or things you have to put into consideration before deciding whether or not to take court action against your landlord for failing to make repairs. you should:

  • Check if your landlord is liable for the repairs
  • Check if you have reported the issue (at least once) and have allowed your landlord a reasonable amount of time to do the work.
  • Consider the fact that you might be at risk of eviction if you are a private rented tenant,
  • Think about whether you have tried other options to resolve the problem first
  • Consider the evidence you have if any to help support your case
  • Think about whether you can afford to take court action if you can’t get help with legal costs like no win no fee claims against council.

If you think that the only option for you is to take court action, then you will need the help of a specialist adviser or a housing solicitor to help you claim for disrepair.

Can you afford to take court action?

It can be expensive most times to consider taking court action. A tenant may be qualified for help with legal costs under the legal aid scheme depending on their income and the nature of their case. Only in cases where there is a serious risk to you or a family member’s health and safety can Legal aid be made available.

You would only have to pay a fixed fee if you do not qualify for legal aid, then your claim could be heard in the small claims court. Small claims are one of three court routes that a case can follow. These routes are called tracks. The other tracks are the fast track and the multi-track.

The small claims limit of £10,000 applies in situations where the only claim is for compensation (damages). However, if a claim includes an application for an order for repair work to be done, it will only be allocated to the small claims track if both the: 

  • Estimated damages are less than £1,000, and
  • The estimated cost of the repair work is less than £1,000.
  • If any of the amounts is expected to be more than £1,000, the court will normally allocate the case to the fast track.

A tenant can check any credit card agreements or insurance policies they have in a case where they do not qualify for legal aid as these may include legal expenses insurance. Trade unions may also offer legal advice on matters other than work-related issues.

Some solicitors known as housing disrepair solicitors no win no fee” may also offer ‘no win, no fee’ agreements as a way of funding a repair claim.

What can the court do?

The court can ask your landlord do the repair work by making:

  • An order called an order for specific performance, or
  • An injunction called a mandator injunction.

The court also declared in its power that you can do the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from future rent.

Your landlord can be fined or imprisoned if they do not do the repair work specified in the order or injunction.

Compensation

Compensation known as damage can be awarded by the court to a tenant. Damages restores you back to the financial position you would have been in had your landlord made the repairs when they should have done. You can get damages if:

  • Your belongings have been damaged or destroyed
  • You have been injured or made ill
  • You have been inconvenienced and unable to use your home in the normal way.


How much can I expect to receive in housing repair damages?

When making a claim against a landlord, it is imperative to note and understand that the principal role of a housing law team is to make sure that the home you live in is repaired as soon as possible. Your health and wellbeing is always their main concern.

If a housing lawyer believes that you are eligible for financial compensation, it will be because the problems you have experienced have not been resolved for a significant amount of time and have caused you and members of your family distress.

All disrepair claims by tenants are unique, so there is not an amount stated as a guide to the level of compensation a tenant could receive. Several factors will all be taken into account which include but not limited to the number of rooms affected by the disrepair, the severity of the problem, the impact on your health and any damage to your personal belongings.

No Win No Fee Housing solicitors

On investigating, housing disrepair solicitors will let you know if you have an eligible claim. If you do, then they will continue on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. This is known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, which implies that you are financially secured because, if we do not win your case, there is no payment to be made. It also provides comprehensive clarity for payment that all parties understand and there are no hidden charges.

Evidence to help support your case

Before taking court action, having information and evidence handy will help to support your case. This includes:

  • A copy of your tenancy agreement
  • Copies of any correspondence between you and your landlord
  • Photographs of what needs repairing
  • Copies of medical reports or a note of medical visits if you were injured or made ill
  • A list of or photographs of belongings that have been damaged and copies of receipts if you had to replace damaged items
  • Any expert evidence you have, for example, reports from a surveyor or an Environmental Health Officer.

The cost of some expert reports may be covered if you are entitled to legal aid. If you are not eligible to legal aid you have to pay for the cost of any reports yourself.

Pre-action protocols

A special procedure called the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Cases – the ‘Disrepair Protocol’ must follow before taking court action.

You might end up paying your landlord the money they have spent going to court and your claims are rejected if you don’t follow the Disrepair Protocol. Following the Disrepair Protocol shows the court that you’ve tried to sort out the problem with your landlord before going to court.

The Disrepair Protocol aims to encourage tenants and their landlords to resolve the problem without having to go to court. It sets out detailed actions and timetables that must be followed from when a claim is started.

The Disrepair Protocol recommends that you and your landlord should contemplate some form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before going to court, such as mediation.

The Disrepair Protocol does not apply to counterclaims. 

For example, if your landlord takes ownership proceedings against you for rent arrears and you defend the claim by asking the court to ‘set off’ your right to compensation for the counterclaim against any arrears.

What do you have to do under the protocol?

After you have reported the disrepairs and have given your landlord a reasonable time to do the work. Under the protocol, you have to send your landlord a letter called an early notification letter, calling their attention to possible court action. The letter is available in the protocol.

Your landlord has to respond within 20 working days. In a situation where their response is not satisfactory, or the problem is not resolved, you can apply to the county court.  A copy of the protocol is available from the Ministry of Justice website. Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Cases at www.justice.gov.uk

Personal injury protocol

In an event of personal injury and you decide to make a personal injury claim against your landlord because they failed to make repairs. There is also a special procedure that must be followed. It’s called the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims.

Time limits for taking court action

In most cases, you have to take court action within six years. If it is based on your landlord not meeting the terms of your tenancy agreement the court action is called a breach of contract. In these conditions, the six years starts when you inform your landlord about a problem they should repair and they do not do anything about it in a reasonable time.

If the court action is based on negligence or nuisance, the six years begins when the damage to property or an injury happened.

In personal injury cases, the limit is three years from the date of the injury.

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How much is housing disrepair compensation?

A property with no heating or hot water, perhaps no water or electricity supply at all, an award of 100% would be possible, extremely severe damp, and structural damage meaning it was dangerous. It is much more usual for judges to make awards around the 25% to 50% range.

Can I sue my landlord for disrepair?

You can ask your landlord for compensation if they fail to carry out repairs within a reasonable time once you’ve reported them. You may also be entitled to compensation if your home is unfit to live in because of poor conditions. You can take court action if your landlord won’t agree to compensation.

Can a solicitor help with council housing?

Most county courts have legal advisers or solicitors present at the times when possession hearings are organized. A duty adviser can be of support if your landlord, housing association, council or lender is taking court action to evict you. They can render advice and speak on your behalf.

Can I claim compensation from my housing associate?

It may be possible to make a claim for compensation for the illness or injury a tenant or member of the public sustains if the Housing Association is in charge for repairing the defect and they fail to do so within a reasonable time, then.

How long does it take to receive an offer of compensation?

Once you accept an offer of settlement for a personal injury claim, your compensation money should usually be received within 14-28 days from the date of settlement. However, this timeframe is only a common guide, as how long it takes to receive your compensation can differ based on some factors.

Can I sue my landlord for stress?

If your landlord breaches the warranty of habitability or the warranty of quiet enjoyment, you may be able to sue her to recover financial damages. In some states, such as California and Arizona, you may be able to pursue emotional distress damages if the landlord’s actions were particularly disturbing.

What is the housing disrepair protocol?

The Ministry of Justice through the Civil Procedure Rules stipulates a Housing Disrepair Protocol to be followed if a leaseholder intends to bring such a claim. The Protocol is most frequently used by tenants of rented premises, but it also applies to leaseholders in England & Wales.

What is a landlord’s duty of care?

A landlord can be held liable if an injury or fatality occurred due to the poor condition of the property (for example a fall caused by a broken handrail). Because statutory and common law requires that there should be no unacceptable level of risk to the health or safety of the occupiers or their visitors.

Can you ask your landlord to remove the furniture?

Over time, experience has shown that landlords are very unwilling to add or remove furniture, with very few exceptions. Any addition or removal of furniture or fittings should be agreed by the landlord and the tenant earlier to a tenancy agreement being offered.

How do I get a free solicitor?

If you can’t get legal aid or pay for your own solicitor or barrister. Some charities or volunteer lawyers might be able to help

  • Ask your local Citizens Advice.
  • Get help with a consumer problem.
  • Find a law centre.
  • Contact LawWorks.
  • Get help from Advocate.
  • Exceptional case funding.
  • Getting advice for free or a fixed fee.

What sort of funding is available for housing disrepair cases?

These are the different types of funding that are available in housing disrepair cases: Conditional Fee Agreements (“CFAs”) also known as “no win no fee” agreements – Most housing solicitors retain discretion over whether to act under a CFA and cannot assure a client that this form of funding will be available in all cases. A resolution upon whether to act under a CFA will be taken following a risk assessment to make sure that the specific case is suitable for this type of funding.

A ‘success fee’ and any insurance premium will be paid by the client if their case if won and this payment would be made from the compensation. You will also be liable to pay the costs incurred in the case, but your solicitor will seek to recover these costs from your opponent, as the winner is normally given their legal costs against the loser.

In the event that a tenant lost the case, the Law firm will not be paid for the work they have done on the case. You may be able to get what is known as ‘after the event’ insurance to cover the risk of you having to pay your opponent’s costs in the event that you lose your case.

Legal Aid is available for disrepair cases but is subject to an assessment of the individual’s financial position. If you provide your solicitor with figures of your income and expenses, they will be able to do a preliminary assessment to let you know whether or not you are likely to be suitable for Legal Aid. However, legal aid funding only covers bringing a claim to make sure repairs are been carried out to your home, and does not include a claim for compensation. A compensation claim would need to be funded separately if you also wish to pursue a compensation claim

Private funding – most solicitors be able to advise you about our private rates and outline the work we will carry out if you decide to instruct us on this basis.

What is penetrating damp?

Damp happens when the housing disrepair in the structure of the building permits water to penetrate the building from the outside. The root cause of penetrating damp is usually structural problems in the building such as faulty guttering or roofing which your landlord/freeholder is usually responsible for maintaining.

Are there things you cannot bring a housing disrepair claim for?

You can only bring a disrepair claim for damage to your home when that destruction has been caused by disrepair. If the problem emanates from an inherent defect in the property which is not caused by disrepair, then it is not something you can raise a housing disrepair claim. Nevertheless, you may be able to bring a claim under The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

What is condensation based damp?

This is a condition where the dampness in your home is not caused by water penetrating from outside but arises due to the settings in your home. This may be due to improper or a lack of ventilation or poor design. Disrepair is not a cause of condensation dampness, and would not form part of a claim for disrepair. However, it may be possible to bring a claim under The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

What is the meaning of the term “fitness for habitation”?

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force on 20 March 2019. The Act applies to new tenancies, of less than 7 years, granted on or after 20 March 2019 (but will apply to all such tenancies after 20 March 2020). The Act requires that a property that is rented is: (a) Fit for human habitation at the time the lease is granted or otherwise created or, if later, at the beginning of the term of the lease, and (b) Will remain fit for human habitation during the term of the lease. In considering whether or not a home is unfit for human habitation, the following will be considered: repair, stability, freedom from damp, internal arrangement, natural lighting, ventilation, water supply, drainage and sanitary conveniences, facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water; in relation to a dwelling in England, any prescribed hazard; A house will be considered to be unfit for human habitation if one of more of the above apply and it is not reasonable for someone to occupy the house in the condition that it is in.

What is housing disrepair?

Housing disrepair is a condition whereby a rented property is not structural safe and suitable of a tenants to inhabit and needs to be fixed by the landlord as required by law. The failure of your landlord to maintain the structure and exterior of the property can cause water damage, a faulty boiler or structural problems.

What are some of the effects of housing disrepair?

Damages caused by negligence of disrepair of property can have a negative impact on your health and cause damage to your personal belongings, which could lead to financial loss as well as having the possibility of affecting your mental wellbeing.

What are the pre-action protocols for housing disrepair?

A special procedure called the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Cases – the ‘Disrepair Protocol’ must follow before taking court action.

You might end up paying you landlord the money they have spent going to court and your claims rejected if you don’t follow the Disrepair Protocol. Following the Disrepair Protocol shows the court that you’ve tried to sort out the problem with your landlord before going to court.

The Disrepair Protocol aims to encourage tenants and their landlords to resolve the problem without having to go to court. It sets out detailed actions and timetables that must be followed from when a claim is started.

The Disrepair Protocol recommends that you and your landlord should contemplate some form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before going to court, such as mediation.

The Disrepair Protocol does not apply to counterclaims. For example, if your landlord takes ownership proceedings against you for rent arrears and you defend the claim by asking the court to ‘set off’ your right to compensation for the counterclaim against any arrears.

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