Housing Disrepair Claims Guide
According to a survey conducted by Totally Money, a staggering 97% of renters are not familiar with their rights as renters. If you are a renter, it’s well worth knowing what a landlord should do for you.
Is your home or apartment in need of repairs? If so, you do not have to sit and suffer in silence because, as a tenant, you have rights, and it pays to know them.
If you are living in a rented home, which has for some reason fallen into a state of disrepair and your landlord isn’t taking any steps to repair the property, you may be eligible to recover compensation from your landlord in a housing disrepair claim.
Hiring an experienced solicitor when filing a housing disrepair claim is highly recommended. Housing disrepair solicitors know the ins and outs of investigating and prosecuting housing disrepair cases and how to go after the compensation that tenants and their families deserve.
- 1 What Is Housing Disrepair?
- 2 What Are Housing Disrepair Claims?
- 3 What Is Housing Disrepair Law?
- 4 What Are Examples of Housing Disrepair Cases?
- 5 How Is a Housing Disrepair Claim Established?
- 6 Who Can Be Named in a Housing Disrepair Lawsuit?
- 7 Can You Sue Your Landlord for Bad Living Conditions?
- 8 How Much Notice Should Tenants Give Their Landlords?
- 9 How Is Liability Determined?
- 10 Which Damages Can Be Recovered in a Housing Disrepair Claim?
- 11 How Can Much Can You Sue Your Landlord For?
- 12 Who Can Help You with Your Housing Disrepair Case?
What Is Housing Disrepair?
Housing disrepair typically means a rented home or any other type of rented accommodation that needs repairs for it to qualify as safe and suitable for renters to live.
If you are a renter living in rented accommodation that requires repair, you could seek compensation for the inconvenience, discomfort, and suffering. After all, landlords are required by law to ensure that the property they rent out to tenants is structurally in a good state of repair.
What Are Housing Disrepair Claims?
A housing disrepair claim is a type of lawsuit that involves a tenant taking legal action against their landlord for failing to fix disrepair or damage on the rented property.
If you have reported disrepair to your landlord and given them ample time to make the necessary repairs but still fails to do so, ignores you, or executes low standard repairs, then filing a housing disrepair claim is the appropriate next step. Under no circumstances should you have to put up with degrading or unhealthy living conditions.
What Is Housing Disrepair Law?
It can be quite frustrating when your landlord won’t repair damage or disrepair in your home. All landlords, private or otherwise, have a legal obligation to ensure that they maintain the structure of their property to a reasonable standard of repair. Landlords should do all the necessary repairs before renting out property.
The landlord’s responsibilities and obligations to the tenant are outlined under a number of legislations, namely the LTA – Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. This act applies to tenancies that were entered after 1961. In summary, section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 outlines the responsibilities of the landlord as follows:
- The property meets necessary fire safety regulations
- Keep in repair and maintain gas, electricity, water and sanitation installations
- Handle mould and damp problems
- Keep in repair the roof and plasterwork
- Maintain the structure and exterior of rental property, including external pipes and drains
- Provide efficient security
- Fix defective central heating and wiring
It’s crucial to note that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is also applicable even if you don’t have a tenancy agreement.
What Are Examples of Housing Disrepair Cases?
Housing disrepair cases in the UK often arise where the landlord refuses to fix the property or neglects their responsibilities regarding the maintenance of the houses they rent out to tenants. Housing disrepair cases cover issues such as:
Damp and Mould
A good number of housing disrepair cases are because the landlord failed to deal with mould and dump on the property. Damp and mould are known to cause many health issues, especially among children and seniors. Is your landlord refusing to get rid of mould and damp in your rental apartment or housing? If so, don’t hesitate to seek compensation for any resulting health issues or other damages.
Has the structural condition the property forced you to start living with unwanted housemates – pests and vermin? Nobody should have to live with disease-causing pests and vermin. So your landlord has a responsibility to maintain the property to keep pests and vermin away from your home.
Gas and Water Leaks
Are you experiencing persistent gas and water leaks? Gas and water leaks put your health and safety at risk. They should be fixed urgently, and if your landlord has failed to do so, a housing disrepair solicitor can help.
Structural defects are ticking time bombs and often are often the root cause of other disrepair problems. The landlord has a duty always to maintain the structural integrity of the rental property.
Lack of or Defective Central Heating
Many tenants have a habit of renting out houses without central heating or any other type of heating. It’s the landlord’s duty to not only install but also to maintain and repair faulty heating systems.
Broken Door, Window, Fence, and Gate
Windows, doors, gates, and fences are crucial in ensuring your safety when in your home. So, if the landlord has failed to fix broken walls, doors, or windows, they are compromising your safety and also encouraging other disrepair issues.
A landlord has the responsibility of ensuring that tenants don’t live in houses in a state of disrepair. Landlords should take the necessary steps to maintain their properties before renting them out and even after.
How Is a Housing Disrepair Claim Established?
Establishing a housing disrepair claim is not that difficult. However, two facts must be established when filing a housing disrepair claim; they include:
Disrepair Was Foreseeable
The landlord knew that their property was in a state of disrepair either since they were notified multiple times by the tenant, or they should have reasonably known their property needed maintenance and repairs. For example, for months, several tenants in social housing reported cases of disrepair.
The Risk of Damage Was Avoidable
The landlord knowingly failed to fulfil their responsibilities to the tenant to exercise house repairs such as maintaining gas, water, electricity, and heating installations.
Who Can Be Named in a Housing Disrepair Lawsuit?
Who should you file your housing disrepair claim against? Well, typically, tenants file housing disrepair claims against their landlords. In most cases, housing disrepair incidents in the UK usually tend to occur on social houses. However, housing disrepair incidents can also occur on other types of rental property.
While liability in a housing disrepair case often falls on the landlord, sometimes, liability can also fall on the party who controlled the property, in that sense, they were in the best position to prevent disrepair and make the property safe for tenants.
So if one party – the landlord – owned the property, but another party – say a property management or leasing agency – was in charge of the daily running and management of the property, then that party could potentially be named in a housing disrepair lawsuit. Therefore, a housing disrepair lawsuit may also seek compensation from the company that the landlord hired to manage the property.
Can You Sue Your Landlord for Bad Living Conditions?
Yes, you can! Whether your landlord is a private landlord, housing association, or local council, you can sue them for lousy living conditions. Regardless of who your landlord is, it is their responsibility as dictated by the LTA 1985 to ensure that the property they rent out is habitable and safe.
Regardless of your financial or social status, it would be best if you did not let your landlord take advantage of you and get away with making you live in harmful conditions.
So, if you believe that your landlord is neglecting their duties to fix disrepair, consult with professional housing disrepair solicitors to find out what you need to do next.
How Much Notice Should Tenants Give Their Landlords?
If you don’t notify your landlord about cases of disrepair, then you don’t stand a chance of getting compensated. You are required to notify your landlord either via email, text message, in person, or through a letter 21 days before filing a housing disrepair claim.
However, it’s highly recommended that you send the notice via email or text message since that will provide you with proof of the time and date you made the complaint. Of course, if they respond within 21 days, the tenant is required to give them enough (reasonable) time to repair.
Have you made repeated complaints for months or even years regarding disrepair without the landlord doing anything? If that’s the case, stop waiting for their response and housing disrepair solicitor to fight for your compensation.
How Is Liability Determined?
A housing disrepair lawsuit requires a prompt and in-depth investigation. This is where housing disrepair solicitors come in; they get to work straight away on gathering, compiling, and examining evidence such as:
- Physical evidence such as pictures of the property in a state of disrepair
- Individual emails and text messages showing that the tenant notified the landlord regarding disrepair
- Interviews with other tenants
- Inspection of the property
In addition to compiling and examining evidence, housing disrepair lawyers also consult with doctors and professional UK house and building inspectors to help them establish liability and the damages to seek in your stead.
Which Damages Can Be Recovered in a Housing Disrepair Claim?
If your landlord doesn’t fix the property, your family might suffer from health issues, plus you could be forced to deal with many inconveniences. When you work with reliable housing disrepair solicitors, their objective is to secure compensation for all your troubles and any harm you have suffered due to a landlord’s failure to deal with disrepair. You can get compensated for:
Damage to Belongings
Did the state of disrepair damage your possessions? If so, you could get paid for damaged belongings. You can mention the value of damaged items in your claim. However, more often than not, the compensation for damaged possessions only covers the repair and replacement of damaged items. Of course, you will need to provide evidence of the damage.
Disrepair can cause a number of health problems, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Gastrointestinal issues
If you, your partner or a member of your family has suffered any health issues due to disrepair, you can claim for:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
You don’t need to suffer from a health issue or prove the damage of goods to get compensated in a housing disrepair lawsuit. You can also get compensation if disrepair caused you inconveniences. For instance, if you could not use your bathroom due to mould and damp or unsanitary drains, you can file a claim for how the difficulties affected your ability to use the house.
How Can Much Can You Sue Your Landlord For?
Each housing disrepair case is unique. Therefore, it only natural that compensation would depend on the type of claim. The amount compensated is usually dependent on the severity of the problem and how disrepair affected you.
For instance, compensation for pain and suffering cannot be the same as the compensation for damaged belongings. The amount you sue your landlord for can also depend on other factors such as the date you first gave notice to your landlord regarding disrepair as well as the evidence you provide.
Who Can Help You with Your Housing Disrepair Case?
It understandable that tenants wouldn’t want to damage their relationship with their landlords, plus many tenants are intimidated by housing associations and local councils. However, you don’t have to fight alone; if a landlord’s negligence on the issue of disrepair has allowed you to suffer, hire experienced housing disrepair solicitors to provide you with the personalised representation you deserve.
Reputable disrepair compensation claim solicitors who have worked on many housing disrepair lawsuits will not only guide you through the claim process, but they will also fight aggressively to get you the justice and compensation you rightly deserve.