Housing Disrepair Guide
In most tenancy agreements, the landlord is under obligation to maintain, repair and ensure the exterior and structure of the building and ensure installations for gas, water supply, space heating, heating water sanitation and electricity are in proper working condition. The landlord’s obligations are set out by law and it is impossible for him/her to opt out of this agreement.
What is Housing Disrepair?
Housing disrepair means that a rented property is in need of repair to qualify as safe and suitable for tenants to live in.
If you are a tenant living in a rented property that requires repair and your landlord has refused to fix the damage, you can make a compensation claim for the discomfort and inconvenience you have experienced.
What Constitutes Housing Disrepair?
Housing disrepair consists of issues such as pest problems, damp, mould, structural issues, gas and water leaks, poor ventilation, loose or missing tiles, and boiler issues. Whether you are a private tenant or a social tenant living in either a council-owned or housing association property, you do not have to accept poor living conditions.
What Do I Need to Do?
- If you have a housing disrepair problem, you must let your landlord know by providing notice.
- Where possible, notify your landlord in writing so you can have a written record of the notice you provided.
- Keep records of the disrepair issues, when they arose, and when you brought them to the attention of your landlord.
- If your landlord fails to promptly resolve the problems, you may contact your local authority (if they are not your landlord). The council can serve notices about the condition of your home to your landlord.
- You must allow your landlord access to carry out inspection and repairs of the property. Failure to allow access will be used in defence if you are to make a housing disrepair claim.
How Much Notice Should I Give My Landlord?
You can notify your landlord via a letter, text message, email or in-person 21 days before pursuing a housing disrepair claim. As noted above, it is always best to notify your landlord via a written record so there is proof that you made a complaint as well as the date and time you made it. If your landlord responds within 21 days, it is required that you allow them reasonable time to repair.
If you have made repeated complaints for months or even years concerning a disrepair issue and your landlord has failed to take any action, it is time for you to fight for your compensation.
Can I Sue My Landlord for Poor Living Conditions?
Yes, you can! If you have reported the disrepair issue to your landlord and he/she fails to take any steps to repair the property, you can sue them for bad living conditions. Under the LTA 1985, landlords must ensure that the house they rent out is safe and habitable.
Regardless of your standing in society, you wouldn’t want your landlord to take advantage of you by getting away with making you live in unsafe conditions. So, if you believe your landlord has neglected his/her duty to fix disrepair, get in touch with expert housing disrepair solicitors to help you make a compensation claim.
How is Liability Determined in Housing Disrepair Claims?
Prompt and thorough investigation is required when there is a housing disrepair lawsuit. This is why you need housing disrepair solicitors who can help you with gathering, compiling and evaluating evidence such as:
- Physical proof (pictures of the house in its state of disrepair)
- Inspection of the property
- Records of messages showing that the tenant notified the landlord of the disrepair
Housing disrepair solicitors will also consult with building inspectors and doctors to establish liability so they can build a claim on your behalf.
Which Damages Can I Claim for?
If your landlord has refused to fix your property, you and your family may be exposed to health risks, and you may suffer discomfort. Working with reliable housing disrepair solicitors will enhance your chances of seeking compensation for the inconveniences and harm you have suffered as a result of the landlord’s failure to fix disrepair.
You can receive compensation for:
Housing disrepair can expose you to a number of health issues, including asthma, anxiety and depression, gastrointestinal problems, pneumonia, and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you or your loved one have suffered any health problems due to housing disrepair, you can make claims for pain and suffering, medication, medical bills and aftercare.
Damage to Personal Possessions
Did the disrepair cause damage to your belongings. If so, you can get compensated for the damage. You can state the value of the damaged possessions in your claim. In most cases, the compensation you receive for damaged possessions will cover its repair and/or replacement, but you must provide proof of damage.
You do not need to suffer a health problem or provide proof of damage to your possessions to receive compensation in a housing disrepair claim. You can also be awarded compensation if you have suffered discomfort due to the disrepair. For instance, if you have been unable to use your bathroom due to the presence of mould and damp, or the unsanitary nature of the drains, you can make a claim for the inconveniences you have faced due to the disrepair.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive for Housing Disrepair Claims?
Every housing disrepair claim is unique. Therefore, the compensation award you receive will depend on the severity of the disrepair and how it has affected you. For instance, the compensation for damaged possessions cannot be the same as compensation for personal injury. The compensation award can also depend on factors such as the evidence you provide and the date you first notified your landlord regarding the disrepair.
Who Can Help with My Housing Disrepair Claim?
A housing disrepair issues can be very distressing, but many tenants feel intimidated by the local councils and housing associations. But you do not have to fight alone; if your landlord has been negligent in carrying out their responsibility of maintaining your rented property and this has caused you to suffer, get in touch with experienced housing disrepair solicitors to provide legal support and representation for you.
Experienced solicitors will not only walk you through the claims process, but help you face the challenges head on to secure the justice and compensation you deserve.