In the UK, a lot of tenants are faced with disrepair issues and while some get prompt response from their landlords after making complaints, others do not and have to wait several months or even years to get the disrepair fixed.
Both landlords and tenants have a role to play to ensure a cordial relationship and to see that there are no problems with the renting of a property.
The landlord has a duty to ensure that the structure and exterior of the building is not in disrepair and is also responsible for the property’s safety, providing the tenants an Energy Performance Certificate as well as protecting the tenants’ rental deposit.
Additionally, the landlord is expected to keep the property free from pest and vermin infestation, damps and mould (which are now very common) and making sure that the facilities for sanitation, space and water heating are in good condition.
The tenant on the other hand has the responsibility of ensuring that these facilities are not misused in any way. They should also pay their rent on time and not sublet. Tenants are also expected to inform the landlord of any disrepair issue promptly.Worrying statistics show that tenants in the UK wait an average of 41 days for their landlords to fix serious housing disrepair issues such as damp and water leaks.
Worrying statistics show that tenants in the UK wait an average of 41 days for their landlords to fix serious housing disrepair issues such as damp and water leaks.
It has already been established that mould and damp have an effect on the immune system of the renter. Prolonged exposure to mould and damp has caused respiratory infections, skin rashes, allergies, asthma and other health issues for tenants.
It is therefore not in the best interest of the tenant that they are left to suffer even after they have made complaints.
Other Housing Disrepair Stats
- Nearly 25% of renters have waited over six months before their landlord could fix their house
- 2 out of 3 tenants experienced a disrepair issue during their tenancy
- In London, 79% of renters face one form of housing disrepair or the other
- 29% of tenants in Cardiff say their problem despite having been reported were never fixed
Also, the English Housing Survey found out that nearly 500,000 renters report damp in their home each year making it the most common disrepair issue faced in the UK.
Again, it has been found that over 33% of renters claim to have had some form of damp issue within their apartment within the last five years.
Furthermore, about three in 10 renters say they had face heating or hot water issues while another 26% of renters say they had experienced water leaks or blocked pipes.
However, the main question is this; how long do landlords have to fix the problems of their tenants?
What Is Reasonable Time For Landlords To Make Repairs?
Most landlords and even tenants have at one point or the other heard the term ‘reasonable repair time’, but it seems that there is very little guidance from the law as to what is actually this ‘reasonable time’ to make a repair or replacement as the case may be which may be one of the reasons for some of the “landlord won’t fix house” issues that are common in the UK.
How long then should the tenants have to wait to have these repairs done?
The law is not very specific on how long this waiting time should be but then still specifies that landlords should keep their property “safe”, in “good condition” and that it should “meet safety standards”.
Overall, it is important that the landlord keeps the tenant updated with information about the progress he is making in trying to fix the house to avoid legal issues if the tenant decides to take up the matter. When the landlord keeps the tenant in the loop about the status of repairs, it makes them feel that their disrepair issue is being taken seriously.
Landlord Response Time Repairs
While there is no specific landlord repairs law, a legislation introduced in 2015 which was designed to protect tenants from retaliatory convictions specifies a time frame but only in certain circumstances.
It states that major problems which pose a threat to the tenant’s health and security must be fixed within two weeks.
Of course, certain disrepair issues fall within this category include mold and damp especially during winter, broken boiler in the depths of winter, major electrical faults which may put the tenant at risk of electrocution among others.
When a tenant is faced with such issues, where the landlord is not fixing things, even after several comments, they can report the matter to their local authority, who will start enforcement action and if there is no positive outcome, a housing disrepair claim can be made.
It is still very surprising why some landlords are quite unreasonable when it comes to fixing repairs for their tenants especially after a recent research by Shelter revealed that over 25% of landlords have insurance policies that cover repairs, while nearly 66% have money set aside to pay for them when they happen.
On the good side, it has been found that 50% of tenants said that they had their disrepair problem within a fortnight of reporting it.
But on the distressing side, more than 20% of renters claimed that they waited for more than six months to have their disrepair issue fixed while nearly 17% said their landlord hadn’t fixed their disrepair problem since they reported it.
UK Tenants Rights To Repairs
Section 11 of The Landlord and Tenant Act (LTA) 1985, which applies to tenancy agreements entered into after 1961, states that the Landlord has the obligation to keep the property in good repair. In other words, it is the right of the tenant to live in a property in good repair. The tenant should be able to enjoy the comfort of the house he or she paid for.
Landlord’s Responsibility To Repair
Just as we have mentioned, it is the landlord’s duty to do the following;
- Ensure your house structurally in a good state of repair
- Keep the facilities for space and water heating systems in good working order.
- Ensure that the house is free from damp and mould
- Provide adequate sanitation equipment
- Ensure the drainage channels are working properly to avoid flooding
- Keep the property free from pest and vermin infestation
Proving Your Landlord’s Negligence
If your landlord doesn’t fix things in your home, then you have to establish the following to prove your landlord’s negligence.
- Establish that your home is in a state of disrepair
- Prove that your landlord is refusing to carry out repairs over a reasonable period of time despite your several complaints
- The disrepair and your landlord’s negligence has caused you inconveniences, ill-health, property damage and financial losses
Steps To Take Before Taking Legal Action
- Speak to your landlord about the condition of your home. You can also send an email.
- Write formally to your landlord after two weeks if nothing is done after your first conversation. Do well to keep all documents sent and received from the landlord as they will be very valuable if it gets to the point of making claims.
- After another two weeks, write another letter or send another email to your landlord.
- Take the matter to your local council or Environmental health authority if nothing is done after another two weeks. The local council should be able to swing into action and get your landlord to do the needful.
- If results are not positive, reach out to us via our housing disrepair helpline so that our best housing disrepair solicitors can take it up from there.
Please ensure to keep the following documents handy;
- Copies of conversations or correspondence between you and your landlord.
- Pictures or photographs showing the extent of the housing disrepair
- Receipts of repairs you made and other financial losses incurred as a result of the disrepair
- Hospital bills and medical report if you have suffered ill-health because of the disrepair
How Much Can I Claim As Housing Disrepair Compensation?
Although there is not really a fixed amount that you can claim as compensation, certain factors will go a long way to determine what your compensation amount will be.
- Extent of property damage
- Personal injury
- Loss of income and other extra expenses
Can You Withhold Rent Due To Disrepairs?
The law does not allow you as a tenant to withhold rent because of any disrepair. The landlord may turn the tide against you and even forcefully eject you from the home.
Instead it is advised that you seek legal advice and if it is something that needs urgent attention, you can make the repairs and claim the costs of repairs made later.
You will put yourself at a great risk if you withhold rent.
No Win No Fee Landlord Negligence
Our firm boasts of some of the best no win no fee housing disrepair solicitors in the UK. We have been able to handle many disrepair claims by tenants and won them deserving compensation amounts.
Our housing disrepair solicitors are dedicated to see that renters aren’t made to suffer unnecessarily by unreasonable landlords and so we provide you an emergency housing disrepair helpline which you can use to contact us for legal help.
We handle housing disrepair claims on a no win no fee basis. This means that lack of finance cannot stop you from seeking legal help. You can actually make housing disrepair claims without any financial risks whatsoever.
Reach out to us today and let us help you get the compensation you deserve and also see that the needed repairs are carried out.