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A housing disrepair is when the state of a rental property has deteriorated to such an extent that it is not fit for human habitation.
Housing associations and councils are responsible for fixing housing disrepairs within a reasonable amount of time. If they fail to do so, the tenant could be entitled to make a housing disrepair claim.
Housing disrepair solicitors – England and Wales
If your housing association or council is refusing to repair your rental property, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors for a free initial enquiry. We represent tenants across England and Wales. We can help you make a no win no fee claim for your damages.
What is a property in disrepair?
Not all rental properties are of the same standard. Some are in a much better condition than others. But just because a door is missing a handle, or a carpet has stains on it, does not necessarily mean that the property is in a state of disrepair.
So, what is a property in disrepair?
Really, it is any defect that makes a property unfit or unsafe for human habitation. It is more than basic maintenance or cosmetic issues. A housing disrepair is something that makes the property unsuitable for tenants to live in.
Think of it this way…
The laws in England and Wales are designed to protect tenants against rogue landlords and poor housing conditions. Under the law, a landlord has various repair responsibilities. Specifically, they are responsible for:
- The property’s structure and exterior
- Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains
- Heating and hot water
- Gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation
- Electrical wiring
- Any damage they cause by attempting repairs
If any of the above are defective, broken or unsafe, then the property is in a state of disrepair. In practical terms, it means the property does not meet an acceptable standard for tenants to inhabit.
What constitutes a housing disrepair?
Housing disrepairs can affect the exterior of the property, the interior, or even the common areas (such as the stairwell in a block of flats). There are lots of things that might constitute a housing disrepair, with some of the most common including:
- Asbestos in the property
- Broken bathroom fittings
- Broken or rotten windows and doors
- Broken or faulty roof, guttering, downpipes and drains
- Damaged interiors
- Damaged or worn brickwork
- Damp and mould
- Electrical faults or hazards
- Faulty gas supply
- Faulty or unsafe boiler/heating system
- Pest and infestation problems
- Structural problems
- Unsafe fixtures and fittings
- Unsafe flooring and staircases
- Water damage from leaks
- Vegetation growth/build-up
Housing disrepair examples
For example, imagine that your rental property is damp, meaning mould grows on the walls. You might not think of this as being too problematic. After all, you can still go about your daily life. But actually, mould and damp most definitely constitute a housing disrepair. Living in such conditions is potentially very bad for your health, especially in young and elderly people. It can cause respiratory illnesses. It can also damage your belongings if the mould extends to your clothes, furniture and other possessions. A rental property that is blighted by damp and mould is, therefore, unfit for human habitation.
Or what about a faulty boiler? Again, you can technically live without hot water and heating – but the point is that you should not have to. The law in England and Wales stipulates that all tenants must have access to heating and hot water. A rental property that does not provide these basic utilities is in breach of the legislation.
Who should fix a housing disrepair?
If you are renting a property which is in a state of disrepair, then it is your landlord’s responsibility to fix the issue. If you are a social housing tenant, then you landlord is either the housing association or council you rent from.
A repair must be done within a reasonable amount of time. You should not be left to live with the problem for too long. There is no set time limit, but if the repair has not been carried out within 21 days, then it could be deemed unreasonable. Any longer than two to three months and you will most likely have grounds to take legal action against your housing association or council.
How do I know if I have a housing disrepair?
It can be hard to know whether your rental property amounts to a housing disrepair. To find out for certain, you simply need to contact our housing disrepair solicitors. You can describe the problem to us, after which we will explain if you have a housing disrepair – and whether you can make a claim for the damages you have experienced.
No one expects you to know the laws of England and Wales inside out. However, you probably have a suspicion that your rental property is not up to the standard it should be. If so, then it is worth contacting us for a free initial enquiry. If you do have grounds for legal action, then the court can force your housing association or council to make a repair. You may also be awarded compensation.
Do you have a housing disrepair claim? Find out now
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