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Top Tips For Making Housing Disrepair Claims

If you’re living in rented property and your landlord has failed to take action over your complaints of housing disrepair, you may want to make a compensation claim for damages and to ensure the repairs are carried out.

Your landlord has a legal duty to make sure your home is kept in an acceptable state of repair, which includes the structure and exterior of the house, bathroom sanitary products and pipework, heating and ventilation systems, electrical wiring and gas pipes, as well as some appliances if included in the tenancy agreement.

There is a Pre-action Protocol for Disrepair Claims that has to be followed before you can pursue a claim in the County Court, and there may be disrepair related claims you can bring against your landlord, for example, for personal injury if you’ve suffered because of the disrepair or for negligence on behalf of your landlord.

If your landlord has not taken action when informed of housing disrepair, we recommend you speak to a housing disrepair solicitor for professional advice on how to claim for compensation. However, as a guide, a tenant needs to prove 3 things when bringing a case against a landlord.

Key Steps For Making A Housing Disrepair Claim

Tenants need to prove 3 things when making a claim for housing disrepair compensation:

  1. The home has defects
  2. The landlord knows of the defects
  3. The landlord has failed to resolve the defects within a reasonable time period

Tips For Proving Housing Disrepair And Landlord Inaction

Gathering evidence is key if you want to make a claim against your landlord, and you need to prove your home suffers from defects and that your landlord knows of these defects but has failed to take the necessary action.

You may have photographic evidence of your home’s defects, depending on the nature of the disrepair. Alternatively, we may need to draft in professional help when it comes to getting the evidence required– for example, using the services of a chartered building surveyor and then obtaining a quote for repairs from a reputable builder to detail the defects.

Once you have this, find all the evidence you have that shows your landlord has had knowledge of the defects and not taken action to remedy the disrepair. Text messages, emails and correspondence records are useful, as are details of any annual house inspections that should have been carried out but weren’t and when your landlord visited your home and would have seen the defects.

In terms of whether a reasonable period of time has elapsed, this will depend on the nature of the disrepair. For urgent defects such as a broken boiler in winter, immediate remedial action is expected, whereas for matters related to plasterwork or less urgent defects, weeks and even months would be considered reasonable.

Top Tips For Making Housing Disrepair Claims Easier

If you’re a tenant and living in rented property that has defects your landlord won’t remedy, gather or start to gather all the necessary evidence to support making a claim for housing disrepair compensation.

Sometimes landlords react to tenants’ complaints of disrepair by serving eviction notices under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. However, if your tenancy started on or after 1 October 2015, there are steps you can take, for example, if you have complained in writing to your landlord or letting agent or have been served a section 21 following your complaint.

Our property disputes solicitors have the experience to help you at every stage of your housing disrepair claims process – from the initial impartial and no-obligation advice to decide if you have a case and how best to proceed, right through to securing the right amount of compensation for you. Normally a tenant can only claim for the 6 years before any disrepair claim is issued at the County Court, but as with every aspect of the claims process, every situation is unique and your solicitor will be able to tailor all advice and support accordingly to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome.

To speak to one of our professional housing law solicitors about claiming compensation from your landlord for defects in your home, contact us on 0800 988 3674 or email advice@bartletts.co.uk