Many people are unaware of their rights when they rent and just what landlords are required to do by law when it comes to housing standards.
It is important you know your rights as a tenant and know you don’t have to put up with living in a rented property that is in need of repairs or that has fallen into disrepair and remained in this state for some time.
If you’re renting property and your landlord has failed to take the necessary action to remedy the faults after a reasonable amount of time, you may be eligible to claim housing disrepair compensation.
What Is Housing Disrepair?
Housing disrepair usually means a rented property that is in need of repair and is considered unsuitable for tenants to live in as a result.
What Is A Housing Disrepair Claim?
This is a claim for compensation that a tenant makes against their landlord because their landlord has failed to fix the problems with the property or remedy the disrepair.
If your landlord has been notified of the issues and been given plenty of time to make the necessary repairs but hasn’t, then making a claim is a step you are entitled to take. After all, living in a property that has fallen into disrepair or that needs fixing can be damaging to your health or put your life in danger – which is why it’s important to make a housing disrepair claim if this is the case.
Examples Of Housing Disrepair Claims
If a landlord refuses to fix repairs or take action should a property fall into disrepair, a tenant has the right to take legal action and make a housing disrepair claim for compensation.
Common causes of housing disrepair claims include:
- Structural issues
- Pest and vermin problems
- Damp and mould
- No central heating or faulty central heating system
- Gas or water leaks
- Broken windows, doors or gates
What Is The Law On Housing Disrepair?
Your landlord should repair any damage or disrepair to your rented home within a reasonable time frame and is legally obliged to maintain the structure of the property to a good standard. This applies to all landlords, whether private or social housing landlords.
According to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords have numerous responsibilities and obligations to the tenant – and this applies to all tenancies entered into after 1961 and still applies whether you have a tenancy agreement or not.
As a guide, landlords must ensure the property:
- Meets fire safety regulations
- Has a working, maintained central heating system and wiring
- Has sufficient security
- Has no mould or damp
- Internally is kept in good repair, including gas, electricity, water and sanitation systems
- Has a well-kept roof
- Externally is kept in good repair
Can You Make A Housing Disrepair Claim?
If you can prove the disrepair was preventable and the damage was avoidable, you may be eligible to make a claim.
You need to prove your landlord knew of your property’s state of disrepair either because you notified them repeatedly, or because your landlord should have known that the property needed maintenance and repair. Plus, you need to prove your landlord knowingly took no action to remedy the disrepair and failed to fulfil their legal duties to you as tenant.
Show those two things and you can likely make a housing disrepair claim for compensation.
Should You Claim Against Your Landlord?
Usually in the UK, housing disrepair claims are made against landlords as liability usually falls on them. Sometimes, however, the liability falls on the party responsible for managing the property – such as a property management firm or leasing agency – and your claim for compensation would be made against this party as well as against your landlord in this case.
How Much Notice Do You Have To Give Your Landlord?
You must ensure you notify your landlord via email, text message, in person or by letter, at least 21 days before making a housing disrepair claim.
We advise you notify your landlord by email or text message as both options provide you with evidence of the date and time you notified your landlord.
If your landlord responds to your notification, you need to allow them a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs. If they fail to do so after a reasonable time frame, you can make a compensation claim.
What Will A Housing Disrepair Solicitor Do?
A housing disrepair solicitor will gather and assess evidence before consulting with doctors and professional building inspectors to establish extent of liability and the level of compensation you may be owed. Your solicitor will also represent you and support you throughout the claims process to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
As a guide, housing disrepair solicitors will gather and assess:
- Physical evidence such as photos of the disrepair
- Emails and texts showing notifications to the landlord
- Information from other tenants
- The property itself
What Can You Claim Compensation For?
Every housing disrepair case is different and assessed on an individual basis. The level of compensation you can claim for will depend on your experience and whether the property disrepair has caused you health and wellbeing problems and led to medical costs and suffering.
Compensation claims for housing disrepair may include for:
- Personal injury or health issues
- Related medical expenses and personal suffering
- Damage to belongings
How Much Can You Claim Compensation For?
This depends on the severity of the problems you have faced and how they have affected you, as well as other factors such as the date you first notified your landlord and the amount of evidence you have against your landlord.
How We Can Help You Make A Housing Disrepair Claim
If you’ve suffered because your landlord has failed to fulfil their legal obligations to fix repairs or remedy disrepair on your rented home, you should consider making a claim for compensation.
Our housing disrepair solicitors have the experience and friendly approach to ensure you will be supported at every step of the way. We will guide you throughout the claims process to keep stress to a minimum and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
For advice on making a housing disrepair claim or to discuss your current housing situation with one of our specialist solicitors, contact us on 0800 988 3674 or Chester 01244 405 399 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org