If your rental accommodation is not fit for human habitation, your housing association or council should pay for you to live in temporary accommodation until the problem is fixed. If your housing association or council refuses, you can recover your expenses through the courts by making a housing disrepair claim.

Rental Accommodation

Has your housing association or council failed to repair your rental accommodation to an adequate standard? Speak to our housing disrepair solicitors. You could be entitled to make a housing disrepair claim. Contact us for a free assessment of your claim.

Temporary accommodation

Housing associations and councils  have a legal duty to ensure their rental accommodation is safe to live in. This means dealing with any repairs or infestations in a timely manner.

Often, these repairs can be carried out while the tenant continues to live in the property. However, there are times when the property is not fit for human habitation, meaning it would be unsafe for the tenant to remain in situ.

If you are renting a property that is unfit for human habitation, then your housing association or council should find your alternative temporary accommodation while the problem is fixed – and pay for it.

Is your rental property unfit for human habitation?

A property is unfit for human habitation if living there could cause you or anyone else in your household serious harm. A property could be considered unfit for human habitation if:

  • The building has been neglected and is in a bad condition
  • The building is unstable
  • There is a serious problem with damp
  • The property has an unsafe layout
  • There is not enough natural light
  • There is not enough ventilation
  • There is a problem with the supply of hot and cold water
  • There are problems with the drainage or the lavatories
  • It is difficult to prepare and cook food or wash up

A common example – broken boiler

There are lots of situations in which a housing association or council might have to find a tenant temporary accommodation. A common example is when a boiler breaks down.

Assuming you did not break the boiler, your housing association or council has 24 hours to fix your boiler if you have been left without hot water, or you do not have heating and it is winter.

If your housing association or council cannot repair the boiler within 24 hours, you should be given an alternative hot water/heating supply. If there is no other way of providing heating or hot water, then the housing association or council should pay for you to live in temporary accommodation until the problem is solved.

Related: How Long Does My Housing Association Have to Fix My Boiler?

Social housing tenants

Another common issue is where social housing tenants are allocated a rental property, but that accommodation turns out to be unfit for human habitation. Problems might include damp, water leaks, defective heating and hot water, and vermin infestations (to name but a few examples).

Social housing tenants should not have to live in a rental property that is potentially hazardous. They should be provided with alternative accommodation while repairs works are carried out.

Who pays for this temporary accommodation?

Your housing association or council must pay for your alternative temporary accommodation. The exceptions might be where:

  • You caused the damage; or
  • You are a social housing tenant and you’ve been allocated a different rental property entirely

Certainly, you should not have to pay both your rent and the cost of temporary accommodation, be it a hotel, hostel or other short-term rental. If the repair is your housing association’s responsibility, then they should incur all the costs associated with that repair – including the cost of finding you somewhere temporary to stay, if necessary.

What if my housing association or council refuses?

If your housing association or council refuses to repair the problem, or refuses to pay for you to live elsewhere on a temporary basis, then you can recover these costs by making a housing disrepair claim.

Who can make a housing disrepair claim?

You are entitled to make a housing disrepair claims council if your rental property is in a poor state of repair, and your housing association or council fails to acknowledge or deal with the problem (despite it being their responsibility).

You can claim for different types of damages, including the cost of temporary accommodation. Damages can also be awarded for the inconvenience caused, the cost of repairing/replacing personal possessions, and any personal injuries that have been sustained.

You can make a housing disrepair claim, even if you do not need alternative temporary accommodation or your housing association or council has provided temporary accommodation. You may have other damages to claim for, so could still be entitled to compensation. Inconvenience is often a major award in these claims, especially if you have had to relocate or adapt your lifestyle because of the disrepair.

Are you living with a housing disrepair?

If you are living with a housing disrepair, you should notify your housing association or council straightaway. Tell them what the problem is and how long it has been going on for. It is better to provide this information in writing, such as in an email or a text message. That way, you can prove that you did actually notify your housing association or council about the disrepair.

Then, you have to give your housing association or council a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem. In emergencies – like a broken boiler – then you should not have to wait long. For non-urgent problems, a repair should be carried out within weeks, and certainly within two months.

If your housing association or council fails to fix the repair to an adequate standard – and a reasonable amount of time has passed – please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. Our housing disrepair solicitors can tell you what your options are going forward. You could be entitled to make a claim against your housing association or council for your housing disrepair.

Find out more: Can I Sue My Housing Association for a Housing Disrepair?

Calculating your damages

As part of the claims process, we will calculate the full extent of damages you have experienced because of the disrepair. This includes any money you have lost of spent because of the disrepair, such as temporary accommodation costs. We’ll make sure that you are not left out of pocket because of your rental situation.

Speak to our solicitors

Could you make a housing disrepair claim? Get a free assessment from our housing disrepair solicitors today.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also email us on enquiries@ashmanssolicitors.com or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch soon.