Housing Disrepair – What can I do?
Renting a property can often create unnecessary problems – as a tenant, you may feel that you have no remedy.
Unfortunately, not all landlords act in the best interests of the people who rely on them, which can lead to many tenants remaining in a property that is maintained in a substandard manner.
Do you have the right to claim?
A landlord has a duty to ensure that a property is kept in a reasonable state of repair (in line with the obligations of the tenancy agreement).
The concept of a landlord having and requiring notice of disrepair can be crucial to your rights when looking to pursue a claim for housing disrepair.
Most tenancy agreements made between a landlord and a tenant contain clauses, both express and implied, which place a burden upon the landlord to carry out repairs to a property in a timely manner (upon being notified of the relevant issues).
Notice can be considered in two aspects:
- Express – where you have clearly put your landlord on notice of defects requiring repair, but remain in a situation where no repairs have been carried out.
- Implied – this could be harder to prove but can be considered in each individual case, specifically where the landlord inspects the relevant property periodically.
Considerations when looking to claim for disrepair include:
- Is the landlord responsible for the repairs?
- Is the landlord on notice of the relevant issues?
- Has the landlord failed to make the repairs within a reasonable time-frame?
If the answer to these questions is yes, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.
Claiming with Hampson Hughes Solicitors
We encourage gathering as much evidence as possible in order to support the pursuit of any potential action (such as evidence of the landlord being placed on notice, photographs and evidence showing the existence of the defect, and medical attendances if your health has been affected).
The first thing to note is that the main aim of bringing the action is in order to ensure that the landlord completes the necessary repairs – thus providing you with a property that is in accordance with the terms of the tenancy agreement.
However, in addition to bringing the claim for the completion of the repairs, you may well be entitled to bring a variety of additional actions for compensation stemming from the failure to repair.
In addition to ensuring that the repairs are completed, you may be able to bring a claim for any of the following:
A claim for any injury or health issue sustained as a result of the disrepair:
- If you have sustained any injury or suffered any debilitating health issue as a direct result of the disrepair, you will be entitled to bring a claim for damages.
- This may be specific to an isolated incident in which the disrepair has caused an injury, or could be a longer term problem (such as a respiratory issue as a result of prolonged exposure to mould).
A claim for the specific damage to any personal effects and possessions:
- If any of your personal belongings have been damaged as a result of the landlord’s failure to carry out repairs, you may be entitled to bring a claim for the loss.
- Evidence of the damage (and evidence of the cost of the goods) is crucial to bringing a successful claim. We encourage collection of this information from an early stage.
A claim for a portion of the rent during the period of disrepair:
- If part of your home has been unusable as a result of disrepair, for example if a room has been off limits due to mould, you may be entitled to a claim for a return of a portion of the rent.
- The portion of the rent to which you are entitled would be dependent on the extent to which you were unable to inhabit the property, starting with 100% if the entire property was unusable during the period of disrepair.
A claim for inconvenience caused:
- In addition to the above, you may also be able to bring a claim for the inconvenience caused as a result of the disrepair and for the additional work which is required to fix the issue.
If you believe you have been affected by a housing disrepair issue, and you wish to discuss your options, please contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors on 0800 888 6888 or email [email protected].