Is your home fit for habitation? - Housing Disrepair Claim
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What Makes a House Legally Uninhabitable In The UK?

Posted on: Tue May 17 | 4:58 AM by: housing

Uninhabitable Property Definition UK

A house can be said to be uninhabitable when it falls way below acceptable living standards. For example, a house in disrepair. Such a house is unhealthy, unsafe and portends high risk of hazard for whoever that tries to live in it.

A rented apartment should be safe for the occupant and provide adequate shelter from the elements and comfort. However, it is unfortunate that a great number of apartments fall short of this requirement.

A landlord is expected to make his property habitable for his tenants by ensuring that the house is in good state of repair. When this is not done and the house is unfit for human habitation, the tenant has a right to make a claim for disrepair.

Is your home fit for habitation? - Housing Disrepair Claim

What Constitutes Uninhabitable Living Conditions?

The million dollar question here is- what makes a house uninhabitable?

The standards of living vary from one person to another, therefore, what may be considered as an unfit housing can be relative as it can also vary from person to person.

However, there are key areas that every landlord must look out for and ensure that those areas are in good condition. If these areas are not taken care of, it will be said to be an uninhabitable property irrespective of the person.

For instance, a building which has been neglected and has leaks, structural cracks, severe mould and damp can be deemed uninhabitable. Also, if the layout is not safe, there is poor ventilation or lighting, it can also be inhabitable.

Furthermore, a house that is infested by rodents, insects and vermin and issues with the drainage, lavatory as well as space and water heating is uninhabitable.

It will be in the Landlord’s best interest to fix these before even putting up the house for renting and if the house has already been rented and falls into such a condition and the landlord fails to fix the house despite repeated complaints by the tenant, then the tenant has a right to make a housing disrepair claim.

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Housing Conditions Tenants Rights

As a tenant, you have certain rights and privileges as enshrined in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1980 as well as the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.

  • You have the right to live in a home in a good state of repair
  • If you carried out any repairs which should have been carried out by the landlord, then you are entitled to be paid back whatever you have spent on doing so.
  • You are entitled to have your landlord’s contact information so that you can them as the need arises.
  • You have the right to the comfort and peace of your home without being disturbed even by co-tenants.
  • As a tenant, you should be treated fairly irrespective of gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
  • You have the right to challenge any charges or increases in rent that you believe are ‘excessively high’.
  • Also, you are protected from unfair eviction.
  • Also note that as a housing association tenant, you cannot assign or lease the property to another person neither can you assign or sublet the tenancy.

The Issue Of HHSRS Hazards

HHSRS stands for the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. Introduced in 2006, it is a risk based system which focuses on the issue of human habitation. Although it was quite ambiguous, the government has gone ahead to make it clearer for better understanding. The regulations have been broken down into different areas highlighting issues that can affect the physical and mental health of a person.

HHSRS Physiological Requirements

Under this area, certain issues are highlighted which can make the property uninhabitable and which can cause physical damage to the tenant. These include;

  • Damp and mould growth
  • Poor heating and ventilation
  • Asbestos
  • Biocides
  • Radiation (Radon gas in soil entering property)
  • Lead (Mostly in paints or waterpipes)
  • High levels of carbon monoxide and other combustible products

The landlord should ensure that the home is free from these issues and so as not to endanger the health and safety of the occupants.

Some of these issues are mostly experienced in older properties which have not been renovated. The issue of damp and mould for instance is common and should be fixed. This may be caused by roofing and drainage, or insufficient protection from groundwater causing rising damp, faulty plumbing, etc.

Does mold make a house uninhabitable?

Of course, it does and should be dealt with urgently and professionally.

Damp and mould is well associated with respiratory illnesses and so should be kept at the barest minimum.

Additionally, the issue of proper water and space heating as well as ventilation is very crucial to the health of the tenant. The landlord should ensure that these are in proper working order. 

You can sue your landlord for mold in the UK and claim compensation for mould and damp.

HHSRS Psychological Requirements

These refer to some issues which can not only make a rented property uninhabitable but also affect the tenant’s mental health.

They are as follows:

  • Overcrowding
  • PooExposure to intruders
  • Poor Lighting
  • Excess noise

It is expected that the landlord does not have an excess amount of people in the property so that the tenants can have enough space and privacy. The minimum requirement for a room used to house one person should be at least 6.51m. Anything short of this can be uninhabitable.

It is also very important that the house is well secured and able to provide enough protection from intruders. Security installations are very much welcome for the safety of the tenants.

Furthermore, the tenant should have access to enough natural light and artificial light. Therefore, these should be enough windows or extra light fittings where necessary to make the house habitable.

Some other areas that need to be take care of to ensure the safety of the tenant and making the house habitable include;

  • Provision of adequate sanitation equipment and drainage
  • Adequate Water supply
  • Pest control to avoid pest infestation
  • Ensuring that the tenant is not exposed to physical injury in the form of;
    • Falling hazards (baths/showers, level surfaces and stairs)
    • Electrical hazards
    • Fire hazards
    • Explosions
    • Position and operability of appliances
    • Structural- partial or total collapse

Broken banisters and sunken or broken floorboards should be fixed, all electrical fittings should be in proper working order without any naked wires or loose connections.

Tenants should also be protected from fire hazards and there should also be provision of fire blankets and extinguishers which should be inspected once a year to make sure they are in good order.

Furthermore, the structural integrity of the property to be leased should be ideal for living conditions. It should not constitute any risk to the tenant.

Failing to adhere to these regulations can leave the house in an uninhabitable state and every landlord should know that there are tenants’ rights if a property is uninhabitable in the UK

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How To Sue My Landlord For Unsafe Living Conditions UK

For you to sue your landlord for unsafe living conditions such as suing the landlord for mould in the UK or other unsafe housing conditions, you should have already made complaints about the disrepair and given your landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs.

This amount of time is not fixed but will depend on the type of disrepair and what is involved in making the repairs.

These are the steps to take if you want to know how to claim compensation from your landlord;

  • Speak with your landlord and talk about the disrepairs in your home.
  • If that is not yielding results, make a formal complaint by writing a letter to your landlord and include as much evidence of the disrepair as you can showing how you are affected.
  • Reach out to your local council and make complaints if your landlord is being unreasonable. The local council can step in and pressure your landlord to do the needful. They usually help in cases of disrepairs that cause a health and safety risk, illegal eviction or harassment.

Then, contact your housing disrepair claims solicitors to help you make housing disrepair claims if all these other measures proved abortive.

No Win No Fee Housing Solicitors

Our housing disrepair claims solicitors are some of the best housing disrepair solicitors in the UK and have the required expertise to handle cases of housing disrepair.

We are known for securing the highest possible housing disrepair compensation amounts for our clients in a very short time. Not only that, we ensure that the repairs are done so that our clients can live in safety and comfort in the homes they paid for.

We assist clients with legal counsel free of charge during our No obligation consultation sessions while we also handle our housing disrepair claims on a no win no fee basis so that the fear of legal fees will not make you decide not to fight for your right.

You can be rest assured of high-quality legal representation from our highly experienced solicitors.

Reach out to us today by calling our emergency housing disrepair helpline or fill out our online request form and we will get back to you to discuss your claims.

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