When Can I Lodge a Housing Disrepair Claim?

Living in a cold climate surely has its pros and cons. You won’t need a cooling system but you have to ensure your central heating at home is working perfectly. It rains in the UK for 170 days, almost half of the year, which can cause leaks if your landlord does not maintain the upkeep of your rented home.

In research by Shelter, 48% of reported issues by families in social housing were ignored. There are only 290,000 homes available for 1.15 million families that are on the council and housing associations’ waiting lists.

Tenant rights should be exercised where households can file claims against landlords ignoring repair requests. One of the best things to do is to find solicitors who are housing disrepair experts as they know how to properly address a case. 

In the past, some solicitors would make cold calls or go door-to-door to offer their services. These hard-selling law firms ask the tenants then and there if there are disrepair compensation claims that they can help with. Although this seemed effective, and tenants would agree to move ahead with the claim, this does not follow the proper protocol for lodging a housing disrepair claim.

Qualifying the problems

Disrepairs could cause health and safety issues for you and your family. Most structural damages like cracks on walls and ceilings cause other disrepairs like mould and dampness. Broken windows and doors pose security risks especially if they are stuck open. 

Identifying and reporting the disrepairs

Once you find the cause of the disrepair, take photos and report the issue to your landlord through text or email message. This makes it easier for you to keep track of your correspondence with them, and you can also present the conversation to your solicitor as evidence that you did indeed report the issues to your landlord.

Tenant and landlord responsibilities

It is your responsibility as a tenant to pay your rent on time and help with the upkeep of your rented home. At the same time, it is your landlord’s legal responsibility to ensure it is livable and  that your home does not cause anxiety because of issues like poor plumbing and safety risks. 

In Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985, the landlord is obligated to “keep up the standard of repair” of the flat for the duration of the tenant’s tenure. If the landlord is aware of any installation, i.e. central heating, electrical wiring, or water pipes, in the property that is not working due to disrepair or a faulty system, he is considered to have violated this law.

Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985

Allow your landlord 20 days to respond or take action. If they still do not respond within that time frame, you may initiate your housing disrepair claim  by hiring a solicitor or law firm that specialises in claims for disrepair in home. In some cases, there is no need for the tenant or tenants to report an issue that is not within their flat but still within the property and under the landlord’s care. As the area is under their jurisdiction that they should be inspecting regularly, they can still be held liable for inaction to disrepairs.

Housing Disrepair Protocol

The aim of the housing disrepair claim is to allow both parties to hopefully achieve a quick resolution to the issues at hand. Court proceedings will only commence if the protocol for claims was followed correctly. Your solicitor can walk you through the whole claim, starting with the history of the complaint, your correspondence with the landlord, evidence of illness/injury (if any) caused by the disrepair, documents proving loss of income due to the state of disrepair, and all relevant documents both from you and the landlord.

At this point, your landlord should have been sent a letter of claim. If there is no response within 20 days, the legal proceedings will begin provided you have supplied all the pertinent documents and information.

Your landlord should take action once they receive the letter, if they do not have any ill intentions towards their tenants. If they do respond within the timeframe given to them, they should be prepared to confirm or dispute their faults, inform the authorities about challenges with access or, in receiving notices, provide a timeline for the repairs, and offer just compensation to cover all expenses including damages and legal costs.

Council and housing associations must meet the criteria of the Decent Home Standard. If your home is not “hazard- free, in a reasonable state of repair, has reasonably modern facilities, and efficient heating and insulation,” it is way below the standard of the organization. This poses a safety concern, just like over half a million social homes in England that do not meet these standards. About 244,000 of this 545,000 fall under the highest category of risk. Lodging your disrepair claim promptly can remove you from these statistics and help you get compensated and have your flat disrepairs fixed in no time.

If you have a landlord not fixing repairs and ignoring your requests, get in touch with www.disrepairclaim.co.uk and they will help you get what your landlord owes you.