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A housing disrepair can cause both physical and mental health issues. If you are a tenant, your housing association or council should ensure the property is fit for human habitation, meaning it should not cause any adverse health reactions.
Housing disrepair solicitors – England and Wales
If your rental property is affecting your health but your housing association or council is refusing to carry out a repair, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. You could have grounds for a housing disrepair claim. We represent tenants across England and Wales, acting on a no win no fee basis.
How can a housing disrepair impact your health?
When a property falls into a poor state of repair, it can actually make you unwell. If you rent, this is completely unacceptable and your housing association or council should take steps to put the problem right. Housing disrepairs take many forms, including mould, pest infestation, faulty sanitation and broken pipes. Such disrepairs can lead to a wide range of health complaints, the most common of which are:
Exposure to certain compounds can cause an allergic reaction in the body. This includes mould spores, dust mites and chemicals contained in building materials. Everyone reacts differently, but it can lead to symptoms such as constricted breathing, runny eyes and nose, itchy eyes, a sore throat, congestion, coughing, sneezing, eczema and other skin conditions. Sometimes these symptoms appear and they seem like a mystery. However, if you are living in poor housing conditions, then that could be the answer.
2. Asthma and other respiratory conditions
For some people, exposure to certain allergens irritates the respiratory system, in turn causing conditions such as asthma. In fact, according to a U.S. report titled Housing and Health: Time Again for Public Health Action, “cockroaches can cause allergic sensitization and have emerged as an important asthma trigger in inner-city neighbourhoods”. Asthma and other respiratory conditions are also often triggered by exposure to damp, mould and toxic materials like asbestos.
3. Respiratory infections
Respiratory infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia are particularly common amongst those living in cold, damp and mouldy conditions. The young and the elderly are especially vulnerable.
4. Gastrointestinal infections
Broken drains, pipes, water systems and toilets can all cause tenants to suffer gastrointestinal infections. They may be exposed to faecal matter or drink contaminated water. This can also happen due to pest infestation, unhygienic conditions and poor waste management systems. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. This can be really serious, especially in vulnerable people who are immuno-compromised.
Poor ventilation, dangerous building materials and structural disrepair can expose people to smoke, lead, radon gas and carbon monoxide. These substances are poisonous and can result in breathing difficulties, nervous disorders, cancer and even death. A carbon monoxide leak can cause carbon monoxide poisoning within two hours, something which can be fatal. Prolonged exposure can also lead to neurological symptoms. The same is true for lead poisoning, while long-term exposure to radon gas can cause lung cancer.
Exposure to asbestos is one of the leading causes of cancer in the context of a housing disrepair. Asbestos is a building material that was widely used until the 1980s, when it was found to contain cancer-causing agents. If a property contains asbestos, it is the housing association’s or council’s responsibility to ensure that it is safe for tenants to live there. As mentioned above, long-term exposure to radon gas is another cause of lung cancer which can occur due to poor housing conditions.
7. Physical injuries
Unsafe housing conditions are more likely to result in physical injuries from things such as trips, falls, burns, scalds, lacerations and electric shocks. This can happen due to uneven flooring, faulty wiring, defective appliances, broken doors and windows and structural damage, to name but a few examples. These physical injuries would never have happened, if the housing association or council kept the property in a good state of repair.
8. Cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases include things such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure. In short, they are disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. Although it seems extreme, housing disrepairs can lead to conditions such as these, especially where the property is cold, damp and mouldy. To quote from the report Housing and Health: Time Again for Public Health Action one again: “Deviation of indoor temperature beyond a relatively narrow range has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
9. Anxiety and depression
Living with a housing disrepair does not just cause physical harm; it can cause mental health issues too. Research has shown that living with housing issues can cause anxiety and depression. In England, 21% of adults said a housing issue had negatively affected their mental health within the last five years.
Has your health been affected by a housing disrepair?
Tenants across England and Wales are living in poor housing conditions. However, this should not be the case. A housing association or council actually has a legal duty to make a rental property fit for human habitation. This means that your rental property should not have an adverse impact on your health. If it does, then your housing association or council is at fault. You should contact your housing association or council and ask them to repair whatever it is that is making you ill. Your housing association or council should complete this repair within a reasonable amount of time, which would certainly be within three months.
If your housing association or council ignores your request, or refuses to take any action, try contacting them again. If this produces no results, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. Tenants should not have to put up with substandard housing conditions. Many tenants do because they do not realise their rights. However, it is your right to rent a property that is fit for human habitation. It is also your right to take legal action, if your housing association or council fails to meet their repair obligations. This is known as making a housing disrepair claim.
Claiming damages for your ill health
A housing disrepair claim allows you to put forward a claim for damages. This means that you can claim compensation for your injuries, whether they are physical and/or emotional. If you choose to instruct our housing disrepair solicitors, we will investigate this element of your claim in greater detail. We will probably ask a medical expert to write a report on your condition or injuries, allowing us to establish a link between your poor health and the housing disrepair.
Housing disrepair solicitors – England and Wales
Your health should not be adversely affected because of your rental property. If this happens because your housing association or council fails to manage a housing disrepair appropriately, then you have been injured through no fault of your own. You deserve to be compensated for the harm you have wrongfully experienced.
We have a dedicated team of housing disrepair solicitors who act for tenants across England and Wales. We offer a free claim assessment, so you can find out if you are eligible to compensation without having to pay any legal fees. If you can make a claim, we will act on a no win, no fee basis. This provides you with total financial security, as you do not have to pay anything unless your claim succeeds.
For a free claim assessment, call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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