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Housing Disrepair Claims and Landlord Negligence Compensation

Has your landlord let you down?

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I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E.Swaffield
Loughborough

Making a housing disrepair claim

Has your landlord let you down? Is your rented home unlivable? Or have you become ill or injured because of landlord negligence?

Your home is the one place where you are meant to feel safe, happy and comfortable, even if you don’t own it. And as a tenant, you trust that the system of council departments, letting agents and landlords will keep you safe from any problems that might arise with your home, whether it’s a broken door handle or the boiler breaking down.

With 17% of people renting from a private landlord, and 18% renting social housing at the end of 2016, the UK is filled with people relying on their landlord to provide a safe and functional home. For the vast majority of tenants, the process is handled well, but for a few, they find themselves faced with a landlord that allows their property - your home - to fall into disrepair and put you and your family at risk. From simply not maintaining parts of the property, to refusing to fix issues at your request, landlord negligence can take many different forms.

Disrepair claims can be pursued for a number of reasons, whether you’ve injured yourself because of broken tiles, have developed breathing issues because of mould, or have been put at serious risk because of a boiler fault. If you’ve experienced landlord problems and are living in, or have lived in, a property that was in disrepair, you may be able to make a claim against your landlord. In very rare cases, housing problems have led to fatalities, something that should never happen. We may be able to take on your case if you are looking to claim on behalf of someone who has passed away.

Our specialist housing disrepair solicitors are here to help you to use your tenant’s rights to regain any financial loss and ensure your landlord is held accountable for their actions. We can also help you claim for illness or injury you have experienced because of landlord neglect and make sure you are looked after should your condition be long-term or affect your ability to work.

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Our Financial, Property and Professional Claims team is headed by senior solicitor Claire Critchley who has over 10 years’ experience dealing with complex legal claims against a variety of professionals.

This includes claims against surveyors, architects, estate agents and solicitors, in addition to dealing with financial disputes involving mis-sold mortgages and interest rate swaps.

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This is not about a claims culture. We just want to defend the rights of the people who are suffering because of this.

Claire Critchley

Head of Professional Negligence

What our customers say

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“I found the staff to be friendly, helpful, courteous and they kept me well informed on a regular basis”

Mrs. Vora,
Loughborough

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“They acted in a sympathetic and professional manner and resolved my case very efficiently”

Mr Dowse
Leeds

  For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today 0151 550 5228

10 simple steps to claim

Step
1
Understanding what went wrong
Step
2
Reviewing relevant documents
Step
3
Obtaining an initial response to your grievance
Step
4
Sending the Letter of Claim
Step
5
The professional’s detailed response
Step
86
Issuing court proceedingsTaking a detailed statement
Step
7
Obtaining experts’ reports
Step
68
Taking a detailed statementIssuing court proceedings
Step
9
Attending your court trial
Step
10
Awarding your compensation claim

Your questions... answered

What is housing disrepair?

Housing disrepair is a general term to cover any issues with broken, defective or unusable parts of your house. This can range from a front door that doesn’t lock to a broken handrail on the stairs. However, disrepair doesn’t cover just broken parts of a house or its contents; it also covers issues like damp, leaks and water damage and any other issues with the property caused by lack of maintenance by your landlord.

Disrepair would also include instances where the safety testing of appliances, smoke alarms and the boiler have been neglected. All of which are essential to keep your property up to standard and to ensure your landlord is abiding by the law. However, claims based on lack of testing often fail unless it has caused an injury or fatality.

How do I make a claim against my landlord?

In order to begin claiming compensation from your landlord, your claim must meet certain criteria –

  • That the housing disrepair occurred with the last 6 years
  • If you were injured as a result of the disrepair, then it took place within the last 3 years
  • You have reported the need for repairs and have evidence of doing so

If your housing disrepair case meets the criteria then you may be able to make a successful claim. If you decide you want to move forward, your next step is to contact us for a free initial phone call where we can begin to understand your circumstances in more detail. We will then pass on these details to one of our experienced housing solicitors who will review your case and will investigate further if they feel you have a strong claim, otherwise you will be informed if they think you do not.

If you decide to make a claim with us, we will begin the formal process of a filing a housing disrepair claim; firstly by sending a ‘letter before action’ detailing your complaints and what work needs to be carried out, allowing your landlord 20 working days to complete the work. If they do not, we can move onto the next stage of gathering evidence and statements to build a case. After this, the case will either be settled or you will go to court and if successful you will then receive your housing disrepair compensation.

Can I sue my landlord?

In short, yes. Whether you are in social housing or handled by a housing association or a local authority, you are able to pursue housing disrepair damages.

There are several reasons you may want to make a claim, from your rented home being uninhabitable to illness or injury caused by disrepair, to taking your landlord to court to get an order for them to carry out the required work. For example, you would have a case for housing disrepair compensation if you had a leak in your bathroom you requested to be fixed on a number of occasions, but was not, and has now led to rotten floorboards in your home that pose a risk to you.

If you’re still unsure of your position as a tenant and would like more advice on suing your landlord, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your circumstances.

Can I sue the council for housing disrepair?

Yes, you can. Your local authority or local council is responsible for ensuring your property is safe and habitable just like a private landlord would. If you would like to know if you’re able to make a disrepair claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Can I make a claim against a private landlord?

No, you cannot make a claim through us. Unfortunately we do not handle claims for private housing disrepair. For more help with a claim of this sort, contact Citizen’s Advice or your local authority for advice.

What housing disrepair compensation will I get?

Because of the uniqueness of each case we take on, it’s extremely difficult to give an idea of the compensation you could receive without knowing the details of your situation. There are a number of different ways to pursue disrepair compensation and we will work with you to tailor your case to suit your specific circumstances and get you maximum compensation.

The main areas you can claim for are –                                                                             

  • Home loss for tenants that have lived in the property for over one year and must move home permanently because the disrepair is so substantial. This is essentially landlord compensation for the inconvenience they have put you though.
  • Disturbance for tenants who are forced to move temporarily for works to be carried out, or for tenants who have lived in the property less than a year and have to move permanently.
  • Compensation for damaged property and belongings if disrepair has led to extensive damage to your property. However, this may not be possible as your lease may state you must insure your contents while the landlord insures the property.
  • Personal injury compensation can be sought if disrepair directly led to an injury or an illness.
  • A rent refund from the landlord is possible where you have continued to pay your landlord but the disrepair made your property unlivable.
  • Refund for repair work you paid for, if you paid out of your own pocket for repairs that were the landlord’s responsibility.

What is the Landlord and Tenant Act?

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 protects your rights as a tenant and when they are ignored, causing you harm, you have the right to make a claim against your landlord. The act states that the property must be fit for human habitation when the tenancy begins and that the landlord will keep the property fit for habitation throughout the tenancy. It goes on to specify that the following will be taken into consideration –

  • Repair
  • Stability
  • Freedom from damp
  • Internal arrangement
  • Natural lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Water supply
  • Drainage and sanitary conveniences
  • Facilities for cooking and disposal of wastewater

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant’s Act also covers the landlord’s obligation in regards to repair of a property, and it’s under the laws laid out in this section that the majority of lawsuits against landlords are made.

To find out how the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 may affect your case, or whether you have a case under this law, please contact us for a free initial telephone call to discuss your case.

Can I withhold my rent until housing repairs are carried out?

Unfortunately, you don’t have a right to withhold your rent until repairs are carried out. It may seem extremely unfair that you must continue to pay for a property in disrepair, and you may think withholding rent will “encourage” your landlord to make repairs, but this is never advisable. If you withhold rent you could be in breach of your lease and your landlord may have reason to evict you from the property.

If you find yourself in such a situation, seek housing legal advice before taking any action. You could contact The Citizen’s Advice Bureau or a housing charity for free advice, but if you are certain you want to move forward with suing your landlord for negligence, we can assist you. If you submit your case to us, and it looks like you may have a claim, we will pass your case to an experienced housing lawyer who will review evidence and can tell you if you can proceed with legal action against your landlord.

How do you prove landlord negligence?

In order to prove that your landlord has been negligent, you will need to provide evidence that there is a significant housing disrepair issue in your rented property, that you have requested repairs be carried out (often multiple times) and have allowed access to the property if anyone has come to inspect or carry out the requested repairs. You must make a reasonable effort to allow any offered repairs to be carried out; you cannot refuse repairs because you have begun the claims process. However, requests for entry to the property to carry them out should be requested in line with your lease, which means notice should be given when the repairs will be carried out and what disruption that could cause.

It is always advisable to keep proof of the damage in the form of photographs and to keep a record of any requests for repair of evidence of correspondence between you and your landlord about the damage. If you have sustained an injury or have become ill because of the disrepair your rented home is in, we will request access to your medical records so we can provide evidence of this as part of your case. We also may request that a medical expert examine or speak with you about your health, which will help support your claim further.

Can I make a disrepair claim for damp or mould in a rental property?

Damp and mould in rented property is quite a common problem, particularly in older houses, and sometimes you could be doing something inadvertently that is making it worse. Damp can be caused by a lack of ventilation, bad insulation, heating problems, or a combination of all three; it can even be that the property doesn’t have a membrane built into the foundations of the house to prevent moisture. Damp conditions then lead to mould growth and damage to your property.

The answer to whether you can make claim for damp in a rented property is difficult to answer without knowing all the details of your particular situation. If your lease specifically says your landlord is responsible for this kind of maintenance, then you will most likely be eligible to make a claim. However, if you have created an environment within your home that has contributed to the problem, for example, you have deliberately turned off the kitchen or bathroom extractor fans; it is possible you cannot claim.

If you have damp in your rented house because ventilation is bad because of broken windows, the heating is faulty, or the extractor fans are broken and your landlord hasn’t fixed those issues, then you will be in a strong place to get compensation from your landlord for mould. If you have also developed breathing problems or infections because of the mould in a rental property, you may be able to claim for illness caused by their negligence as well as disrepair compensation. For a clearer idea of whether you can claim for damp and mould in a council property contact us for a free initial telephone call. If we believe you have a case, one of our experienced housing disrepair lawyers will then investigate further and inform you as to whether or not you have a strong case.

How do you report a landlord?

Making landlord complaints can be intimidating, but you have a right to do so if your landlord has been negligent with disrepairs or has caused you other serious problems. Firstly, you should make your issues known directly to your landlord, but in writing or email rather than verbally as this means you have a written record. Your landlord should have a complaints procedure that you can then follow to inform them of your housing complaints.

If you feel you cannot do this or you have tried this and it has not worked, you can take the complaint against your landlord to a ‘designated person’ such as a local councillor or an MP. They can then attempt to resolve any issues you have with them. If this also fails, you can contact your local council to file a complaint against your landlord. The council will be able to take action for you in most cases but you might find the problem still can’t be solved, for example, if your landlord refuses to comply with requests and the council cannot force them to.

You may also decide to make a claim for disrepair against your landlord. If you decide to do so you must have evidence of all efforts you have made to get the problems resolved, along with evidence of those issues. Our housing disrepair solicitors will be able to help you pursue a claim for disrepair, illness, injury or financial loss caused by your landlord’s negligence.

Housing disrepair is a general term to cover any issues with broken, defective or unusable parts of your house. This can range from a front door that doesn’t lock to a broken handrail on the stairs. However, disrepair doesn’t cover just broken parts of a house or its contents; it also covers issues like damp, leaks and water damage and any other issues with the property caused by lack of maintenance by your landlord.

Disrepair would also include instances where the safety testing of appliances, smoke alarms and the boiler have been neglected. All of which are essential to keep your property up to standard and to ensure your landlord is abiding by the law. However, claims based on lack of testing often fail unless it has caused an injury or fatality.

In order to begin claiming compensation from your landlord, your claim must meet certain criteria –

  • That the housing disrepair occurred with the last 6 years
  • If you were injured as a result of the disrepair, then it took place within the last 3 years
  • You have reported the need for repairs and have evidence of doing so

If your housing disrepair case meets the criteria then you may be able to make a successful claim. If you decide you want to move forward, your next step is to contact us for a free initial phone call where we can begin to understand your circumstances in more detail. We will then pass on these details to one of our experienced housing solicitors who will review your case and will investigate further if they feel you have a strong claim, otherwise you will be informed if they think you do not.

If you decide to make a claim with us, we will begin the formal process of a filing a housing disrepair claim; firstly by sending a ‘letter before action’ detailing your complaints and what work needs to be carried out, allowing your landlord 20 working days to complete the work. If they do not, we can move onto the next stage of gathering evidence and statements to build a case. After this, the case will either be settled or you will go to court and if successful you will then receive your housing disrepair compensation.

In short, yes. Whether you are in social housing or handled by a housing association or a local authority, you are able to pursue housing disrepair damages.

There are several reasons you may want to make a claim, from your rented home being uninhabitable to illness or injury caused by disrepair, to taking your landlord to court to get an order for them to carry out the required work. For example, you would have a case for housing disrepair compensation if you had a leak in your bathroom you requested to be fixed on a number of occasions, but was not, and has now led to rotten floorboards in your home that pose a risk to you.

If you’re still unsure of your position as a tenant and would like more advice on suing your landlord, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your circumstances.

Yes, you can. Your local authority or local council is responsible for ensuring your property is safe and habitable just like a private landlord would. If you would like to know if you’re able to make a disrepair claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

No, you cannot make a claim through us. Unfortunately we do not handle claims for private housing disrepair. For more help with a claim of this sort, contact Citizen’s Advice or your local authority for advice.

Because of the uniqueness of each case we take on, it’s extremely difficult to give an idea of the compensation you could receive without knowing the details of your situation. There are a number of different ways to pursue disrepair compensation and we will work with you to tailor your case to suit your specific circumstances and get you maximum compensation.

The main areas you can claim for are –                                                                             

  • Home loss for tenants that have lived in the property for over one year and must move home permanently because the disrepair is so substantial. This is essentially landlord compensation for the inconvenience they have put you though.
  • Disturbance for tenants who are forced to move temporarily for works to be carried out, or for tenants who have lived in the property less than a year and have to move permanently.
  • Compensation for damaged property and belongings if disrepair has led to extensive damage to your property. However, this may not be possible as your lease may state you must insure your contents while the landlord insures the property.
  • Personal injury compensation can be sought if disrepair directly led to an injury or an illness.
  • A rent refund from the landlord is possible where you have continued to pay your landlord but the disrepair made your property unlivable.
  • Refund for repair work you paid for, if you paid out of your own pocket for repairs that were the landlord’s responsibility.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 protects your rights as a tenant and when they are ignored, causing you harm, you have the right to make a claim against your landlord. The act states that the property must be fit for human habitation when the tenancy begins and that the landlord will keep the property fit for habitation throughout the tenancy. It goes on to specify that the following will be taken into consideration –

  • Repair
  • Stability
  • Freedom from damp
  • Internal arrangement
  • Natural lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Water supply
  • Drainage and sanitary conveniences
  • Facilities for cooking and disposal of wastewater

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant’s Act also covers the landlord’s obligation in regards to repair of a property, and it’s under the laws laid out in this section that the majority of lawsuits against landlords are made.

To find out how the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 may affect your case, or whether you have a case under this law, please contact us for a free initial telephone call to discuss your case.

Unfortunately, you don’t have a right to withhold your rent until repairs are carried out. It may seem extremely unfair that you must continue to pay for a property in disrepair, and you may think withholding rent will “encourage” your landlord to make repairs, but this is never advisable. If you withhold rent you could be in breach of your lease and your landlord may have reason to evict you from the property.

If you find yourself in such a situation, seek housing legal advice before taking any action. You could contact The Citizen’s Advice Bureau or a housing charity for free advice, but if you are certain you want to move forward with suing your landlord for negligence, we can assist you. If you submit your case to us, and it looks like you may have a claim, we will pass your case to an experienced housing lawyer who will review evidence and can tell you if you can proceed with legal action against your landlord.

In order to prove that your landlord has been negligent, you will need to provide evidence that there is a significant housing disrepair issue in your rented property, that you have requested repairs be carried out (often multiple times) and have allowed access to the property if anyone has come to inspect or carry out the requested repairs. You must make a reasonable effort to allow any offered repairs to be carried out; you cannot refuse repairs because you have begun the claims process. However, requests for entry to the property to carry them out should be requested in line with your lease, which means notice should be given when the repairs will be carried out and what disruption that could cause.

It is always advisable to keep proof of the damage in the form of photographs and to keep a record of any requests for repair of evidence of correspondence between you and your landlord about the damage. If you have sustained an injury or have become ill because of the disrepair your rented home is in, we will request access to your medical records so we can provide evidence of this as part of your case. We also may request that a medical expert examine or speak with you about your health, which will help support your claim further.

Damp and mould in rented property is quite a common problem, particularly in older houses, and sometimes you could be doing something inadvertently that is making it worse. Damp can be caused by a lack of ventilation, bad insulation, heating problems, or a combination of all three; it can even be that the property doesn’t have a membrane built into the foundations of the house to prevent moisture. Damp conditions then lead to mould growth and damage to your property.

The answer to whether you can make claim for damp in a rented property is difficult to answer without knowing all the details of your particular situation. If your lease specifically says your landlord is responsible for this kind of maintenance, then you will most likely be eligible to make a claim. However, if you have created an environment within your home that has contributed to the problem, for example, you have deliberately turned off the kitchen or bathroom extractor fans; it is possible you cannot claim.

If you have damp in your rented house because ventilation is bad because of broken windows, the heating is faulty, or the extractor fans are broken and your landlord hasn’t fixed those issues, then you will be in a strong place to get compensation from your landlord for mould. If you have also developed breathing problems or infections because of the mould in a rental property, you may be able to claim for illness caused by their negligence as well as disrepair compensation. For a clearer idea of whether you can claim for damp and mould in a council property contact us for a free initial telephone call. If we believe you have a case, one of our experienced housing disrepair lawyers will then investigate further and inform you as to whether or not you have a strong case.

Making landlord complaints can be intimidating, but you have a right to do so if your landlord has been negligent with disrepairs or has caused you other serious problems. Firstly, you should make your issues known directly to your landlord, but in writing or email rather than verbally as this means you have a written record. Your landlord should have a complaints procedure that you can then follow to inform them of your housing complaints.

If you feel you cannot do this or you have tried this and it has not worked, you can take the complaint against your landlord to a ‘designated person’ such as a local councillor or an MP. They can then attempt to resolve any issues you have with them. If this also fails, you can contact your local council to file a complaint against your landlord. The council will be able to take action for you in most cases but you might find the problem still can’t be solved, for example, if your landlord refuses to comply with requests and the council cannot force them to.

You may also decide to make a claim for disrepair against your landlord. If you decide to do so you must have evidence of all efforts you have made to get the problems resolved, along with evidence of those issues. Our housing disrepair solicitors will be able to help you pursue a claim for disrepair, illness, injury or financial loss caused by your landlord’s negligence.