Compensation for Housing Disrepair Claims in the UK
What is Housing Disrepair?
By law, property owners are required to make sure that your property is kept in a good, habitable condition. When this doesn’t happen, a qualified lawyer may be able to help you take action against the landlord on your behalf under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985. This act enacted for all shorthold and secure tenancies, regardless of whether the property is owned by a social landlord (Housing Associations and Local Authorities) or a private landlord, which could be a company or an individual landlord.
No Win No Fee Compensation Claims
What Responsibilities Does Your Landlord Have?
Every landlord that rents out a residential property in the UK has strict responsibilities in terms of what they must maintain, and how well. In case a landlord fails to fulfil these responsibilities, the tenant has a reason to claim for housing disrepair damages. The following are some of the things that the landlord is obliged to maintain and/or repair:
Any wear or damages to the exterior walls of the property, along with the windows, roof, and other external fittings.
All sanitary appliances and drains, including baths, sinks, toilets, and the plumbing system for freshwater supply unless they are the responsibility of the local water board.
Maintaining and repairing gas appliances like heaters and cookers if the rental property was provided with them.
Repairing and maintaining the central heating and hot water system if the rental property was provided with them.
It’s the responsibility of the property owner to maintain all electrical work within the property.
The landlord is also responsible for maintaining the open fireplace, chimney, pipes, flues, and other parts of the ventilation system if the rental property came with them.
If the property has a communal area like a shared entranceway or a block of stairs in a block of flats, the landlord is responsible for the maintenance of these areas.
The landlord is required to keep all these things in good order. They also have to shoulder the entire costs of performing the maintenance and repairs, and no tenant should be asked to shoulder or contribute in any way towards the cost. While you will need to pay for minor repairs like the cost of changing lightbulbs, it’s illegal for the landlord to try to or ask you to pay for repairs outlined by law as the sole responsibility of the landlord.
In case you’re unsure whether a given part of your property is the responsibility of the landlord to repair, don’t hesitate to reach out to Angelus Law UK and we’ll be happy to help you.
What Responsibilities Do Tenants Have on Rented Properties?
Just as the landlords, every tenant has a set of legal responsibilities towards their rented property. However, a rental agreement might contain a few clauses that supersede these responsibilities. There are certain renters who have their own agreements; for example, the housing association compensation policy that tenants are required to sign before moving into the property. Nonetheless, if there are no other agreements in place, the law stipulates the following:
The tenant is responsible for performing certain maintenance on the property, like changing any fuses that blow or lightbulbs that expire.
The tenant also has to make responsible use of all fittings and fixtures on the property, such as making sure they put the right kind of garbage into the waste disposal unit to avoid damaging it.
The tenant should at all times, avoid damage on the property, and also make sure that their visitors don’t damage the property.
What Claims Can You Claim Compensation for?
It’s important to understand the actual things that you can claim compensation for. In general, the following items can be claimed for in a housing disrepair compensation claim:
Personal items: In case the landlord’s failure to conduct the necessary repairs or maintenance leads to damage or destruction of any personal items, you can claim these back. For instance, if your computer was damaged by an electrical fault in the property and the landlord had plenty of time to repair it, you can claim it.
Fittings and furnishings: If items such as paintings, lamps, and other decorative items were damaged due to the landlord’s continuous failure to conduct the needed repairs, you would be able to claim for the damage. For instance, if a leaking pipe in the property damages your painting, it can be claimed for.
Other items: If the landlord’s continued negligence to repair or conduct the necessary maintenance, which leads to items such as beddings, clothing, etc. to be damaged, you can claim for them.
Avoid Damage: The tenant should at all times, avoid damage on the property, and also make sure that their visitors don’t damage the property.
In some cases, you can also claim compensation for allergies, asthma, and other medical conditions that arise due to say, damp in the property through a housing disrepair claim. However, the cause and type of the damp are key determinants here, and the local Environmental Health Department can help you establish whether the specific damp case is cause for a claim.
In case you’re confused or unsure whether to claim a housing disrepair for a given item, give us a call. One of our experienced solicitors will happily offer you free legal advice on whether you have a case or not.