If you want to making a housing disrepair claim, you will need to provide evidence that you have reported the disrepair to your landlord, but no action has been taken. You will also have to provide evidence of your damages, be it damaged possessions, physical injuries or financial losses.
Housing disrepairs – England and Wales
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Evidence needed in housing disrepair claims
If you make a housing disrepair claim, you are known as the ‘Claimant’. As the Claimant, you need to prove that your landlord has breached their duty of care towards you. In other words, that your landlord has failed to repair the rental property, even though it is their legal obligation to do so.
You’ll also need to show that in breaching their duty of care, your landlord has caused you some kind of damage. The definition of ‘damage’ is wide-ranging. It can include inconvenience, damaged possessions, financial losses and physical injuries.
As the Claimant, the burden is on you to prove your case. This means that evidence is absolutely essential. Otherwise, you might not recover compensation for the true extent of your damages. Even worse, the court might not believe you and dismiss your claim.
To make sure this does not happen, we recommend instructing our housing disrepair solicitors. We specialise in this area of the law and know exactly what evidence to present. Not only do we want to win your claim, we also want to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
We appreciate that you might be worried about the cost of a solicitor. However, we work on a no win no fee basis, so you do not pay anything unless your claim succeeds.
Preparing your claim
When you instruct us, we will work with you to gather the necessary evidence. This includes the following:
1. Evidence you have reported the issue
First of all, we need to show that you gave ‘notice of repairs’. This basically means that you told your landlord about the disrepair. After all, the landlord cannot be blamed for failing to carry out a repair if no one’s told them about it.
We will ask you to recover all the correspondence you have had with your landlord. Hopefully, you told them about the disrepair via a text message or email. We say ‘hopefully’, because that way we can prove the date, time and content of the message. If you spoke to them over the phone or face-to-face then don’t worry, we can take a witness statement from you confirming the same. You will need to state the date and recall the conversation you had as best as possible. Ideally after the call take a screenshot to document the date, time and the length of the call.
If you have communications to/from your landlord that help to prove your case, then we will ask you to reproduce these. Sometimes, Claimants have multiple emails or text messages between themselves and the landlord. If the landlord is flagrantly ignoring the problem, denying responsibility or is plain incompetent, then this will help to establish your claim.
Top tip: keep copies of all the correspondence between you and your landlord in relation to your housing disrepair.
2. Evidence of the disrepair
Next, we need evidence of the disrepair itself. The first port of call is usually to take photographs of the disrepair, whatever it might be. If you have a camera (such as a phone camera) then we recommend taking photos of the problem regularly, even before you contact us for advice. That way, you have a photographic record. We can show the court that you have been living with the disrepair for x number of months – and we have the photos to prove it.
In some cases, we will also arrange for a specialist to assess the disrepair. This is particularly important where the structure of the property is dangerous, or where damp/mould are an issue. A surveyor or structural engineer can come to your property and take a look at the problem. The expert will then write a report confirming the cause. This will help our case, as it proves that there is an issue, and that it falls under your landlord’s repair responsibilities.
We work with leading experts across the country. We will select the best expert for your particular case.
Top tip: take photographs of the disrepair when you first report the problem to your landlord. Continue to take photographs regularly.
3. Evidence of your damaged possessions
Then we come to proving your damages. Everyone’s damages are different. If you are claiming that the disrepair damaged your possessions, then we will need photographs of the items in question. If you have replaced the item(s), then we will also need the receipts.
Most Claimants claim in relation to damaged clothes, furniture and soft furnishings such as rugs and cushions. These possessions are particularly prone to damage from damp, mould and water damage. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list. If the housing disrepair has damaged anything that you own, then be sure to keep evidence of this.
Top tip: take photos of your damaged possessions and keep the receipts for any items you have replaced.
4. Evidence of your physical injuries
Sometimes a disrepair will actually cause physical injuries and illness. Damp and mould are known to exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma. Asbestos can cause cancer. Dangerous premises can also cause crushing injuries, fractures or lacerations. Whatever the nature of your injuries, it is vital that you discuss them with your G.P. Your G.P. can then provide treatment or refer you to a specialist as needed.
So long as you have seen your G.P., we can request a copy of your medical records. There will be an entry in your records, showing that you have sought help for your medical issues. This proves a link between the housing disrepair and your poor health.
Depending on the nature of your injuries, we may also instruct a medical expert to write a report on your medical condition. The expert will likely want to assess you first. This is nothing to worry about. It is a normal part of the claims process where physical injuries have occurred.
Top tip: speak to your G.P. about your injuries or illness, if you think they have been caused by your housing issues. Otherwise, it could be difficult to establish a link between the two.
5. Evidence of your financial losses
If you are claiming any other financial losses, then we will need proof of these, too. You can claim for a wide range of losses, including:
- Past earnings
- Future earnings
- Temporary accommodation
- Specialist equipment
- Utility bills
These are just a few examples: you may have incurred other expenses as a result of the housing disrepair. If so, be sure to keep a record of all the money you have spent or lost. Where possible, keep all the receipts. We can also request copies of your bank statements, pay slips and utility bills, if this is relevant.
We want to ensure you are not left out of pocket because the landlord failed in his legal obligations.. We will discuss your losses in detail with you, as there may be things you had not yet considered.
Top tip: keep a record of all the money you have spent/lost because of the housing disrepair. Also keep the receipts where applicable, no matter how small the cost.
6. Evidence of your other damages
If you have any other damages – known in legal terminology as ‘heads of loss’ – then we will advise what evidence is needed as proof. Often in housing disrepair claims, the Claimant has experienced a lot of stress and inconvenience. We can evidence this by taking a witness statement from you, in which you describe the impact this has had on your life.
Get help from our housing disrepair team
When you instruct our housing disrepair solicitors, you can rest assured that we will help you gather the necessary evidence to prove your claim – and the true extent of your damages. We are experts in this area of the law and can help you get the compensation you deserve.