Housing Disrepair Claims
Are you renting a property that’s in a state of disrepair?
Your housing association or council has a legal duty to maintain your rental accommodation and keep it in a good state of repair. If you have reported a problem to your housing association or council and nothing has been done, you could be entitled to make a housing disrepair claim. This allows you to claim compensation for the damage and inconvenience you have experienced.
Housing disrepair claims solicitors
If you want to know more about making a housing disrepair claim, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors for a free initial enquiry. We help tenants across England and Wales, including those renting from housing associations and local councils. We act on a no win, no fee basis, meaning you can take legal action without having to worry about the cost.
Our housing disrepair solicitors can help with all types of claims, including those relating to:
- Asbestos-related illness
- 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
If you think you have grounds for a housing disrepair claim but the problem is not listed above, contact us anyway. We deal with a wide range of housing disrepair claims and it is likely that we can help you. We offer a free initial enquiry, so you can speak to a solicitor about the matter completely free of charge.
Why choose us?
- Specialist housing disrepair solicitors
- No win, no fee housing claims
- Free initial enquiry
- Award-winning, nationally recognised law firm
- Friendly and approachable
If you want to talk to a housing disrepair solicitor about your living conditions, contact us now for a free initial enquiry.
We know how upsetting it is to live in poor housing conditions – and how frustrating it is to have an uncooperative housing association or council. Our housing disrepair solicitors are here to help you.
What are my housing association’s responsibilities?
If you are a tenant living in rental accommodation, your housing association or council has a legal duty to keep the property in good repair. Although the tenant is required to keep the property clean and carry out general maintenance, the housing association or council is responsible for:
- The structure and exterior of the property, including the walls,
- Foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
- Sanitary fittings, such as basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework
- Fittings and appliances linked to the supply of water, heating and electricity. This includes water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires and fitted heaters
If there is a problem with any of the above, you should tell your housing association or council about the defect. Your housing association or council must then fix the issue within a reasonable amount of time. There is no set time limit as it depends on the circumstances. For example, a broken boiler is a more urgent repair than a leaky exterior pipe. More on your housing association’s responsibilities.
Generally, if your housing association or council has not taken action to resolve the problem within 21 days, then they have failed to meet their responsibilities. This gives you grounds to make a housing disrepair claim. What are my responsibilities as tenant?
Who can make a housing disrepair claim?
You can make a housing disrepair claim if:
- You are a tenant living in a rental property; and
- The property has a defect which your housing association or council is responsible for; and
- You have told the housing association or council about the defect; and
- Your housing association or council is refusing to fix the issue, or has failed to do anything about it; and
- More than 21 days have passed since you told your housing association or council about the defect
You must give notice of repairs. Your housing association or council is not obliged to fix an issue if they do not know about it. We recommend that you tell your housing association or council about the problem via email or text message. That way, there is a written record that you gave notice. If you speak to your housing association or council in person or over the phone, it is a good idea to follow up with an email or text message. It may be needed as evidence later down the line.
Why make a housing disrepair claim?
We fully understand how infuriating and stressful it can be to live in poor housing conditions. And we know how this can negatively affect your health and that of your family. As a tenant, it is your right to live in a safe and well-maintained home.
A housing disrepair claim is your chance to enforce your legal rights as a tenant. A successful housing disrepair claim could see that:
- Your housing association or council is forced to fix the issue, by order of the court. A housing association or council who fails to comply with a court order could be fined; and
- You are properly compensated for your damages. This includes damage to your health and your belongings and the inconvenience that has been caused
Taking legal action against your housing association or council might seem like a big step, but you need not worry: our housing disrepair solicitors will handle everything for you. You should not be forced to live in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. We are here to fight on your behalf.
What counts as a housing disrepair claim?
A housing disrepair claim can arise for all sorts of reasons. Some of the most common causes are discussed in more detail below.
Asbestos can cause respiratory illnesses such as mesothelioma, pleural plaques and asbestosis. You should not be exposed to asbestos as a tenant. If your rental property is found to contain asbestos, your housing association or council is responsible for its safe removal.
Broken bathroom fittings
A housing association or council is responsible for the upkeep of sanitary fittings such as basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework. If you do not have a properly functioning toilet, sink, bath or shower then your landlord is legally obliged to carry out a repair.
Broken or rotten windows and doors
Broken or rotten windows and doors can compromise your safety, potentially allowing others to gain entry. It can also lead to insect infestations and the onset of mould and dampness. If a window or door in your rental property is broken or rotten, you should tell your housing association or council immediately. If your housing association or council does not do anything about it, you could have grounds for a claim.
Broken or faulty roof, guttering, downpipes and drains
A broken or faulty roof can be very dangerous, especially if it collapses or results in debris falling from a height. It can also allow rainwater to enter the property, potentially lead to damp and mould problems. The same is true for guttering, downpipes and drains that are not kept clear and in good working order.
When a housing association or council fails to keep a property in a good state of repair, it can damage the interior of the property. This might include the wallpaper, paintwork, furniture, fixtures and fittings, clothes and carpets. You can claim compensation for damage to your personal belongings.
Damaged or worn brickwork
Damaged or worn brickwork can affect the structural integrity of the building and allow water to seep into the walls. This can ruin the interior walls and create further issues.
Damp and mould
Many housing disrepair cases occur because the housing association or council fails to deal with mould and dampness in the property. Many health issues can arise because of damp and mould, especially respiratory illnesses among children and older people. Is your housing association or council refusing to deal with a mould and damp issue in your home? If the answer is yes, you should seek compensation for any resulting health issues or other damages.
Electrical faults or hazards
Electrical faults or hazards can pose a serious risk to your health and must be urgently repaired to regulation standards. A housing association or council should have a valid electric safety certificate and address any unsafe wiring or outlets.
Faulty gas supply
Gas leaks can be fatal, which is why gas appliances and pipes should be regularly inspected and properly maintained. If a housing association or council fails to do so, it could result in a housing disrepair claim.
Faulty or unsafe boiler/heating system
Having heat and hot water installed at your home is actually required by law. It may seem obvious to some, but in reality, many people still live without these simple comforts. If you are suffering through issues relating to heat in your home and your housing association or council is not fixing the problem, you could make a compensation claim.
Pest and infestation problems
Vermin such as mice and rats are unsanitary, while infestations of insects like moths and cockroaches can cause significant damage to your possessions. Your housing association or council is responsible for dealing with pest and infestation issues.
The structure of your rental property is of the utmost importance. Issues with subsidence, the foundations and other structural defects must be addressed immediately.
Unsafe fixtures and fittings
Fixtures and fittings provided by the housing association or council should be safe and maintained. If you have been harmed because of an unsafe fixture or fitting, then you could be eligible to claim compensation. Fixtures include radiators, plug sockets and fixed appliances. Fittings include shelves, pictures and free-standing appliances.
Unsafe flooring and staircases
The floors and staircases in your property must be kept safe, as must the floors and staircases in any communal areas, such as in apartment blocks. Slips, trips and falls on poorly maintained flooring and staircases can result in serious injuries.
Water damage from leaks
Water leaks can cause a huge amount of damage to personal property. If your housing association or council knew about a water leak but did nothing to repair the problem, then you could be entitled to compensation for your damages.
While housing associations and councils are not responsible for gardening, they are responsible for the growth or build-up of vegetation on the exterior of the property. If left unmaintained, this could result in structural damage and other issues.
How can we help?
We will assess your housing disrepair claim completely free of charge. Once we have determined who is at fault, we will make a claim in the County Court. In some circumstances, a claim will be made in a Magistrates Court. We do all of this on a no win, no fee basis.
Wherever you are in England and Wales, we can help as we have solicitors available to represent you at a local level. Using our skilled and experienced team, we will ensure that you have the best possible representation in your housing disrepair claim.
At Ashmans Solicitors we’ll strive to achieve the most favourable outcome in your circumstances.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some of the main questions we are asked about housing disrepair claims. If there is something we don’t cover below, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
What is a housing disrepair claim?
A housing disrepair claim is when a tenant sues their housing association or council for failing to keep a rental property in a good state of repair. A tenant has grounds to make a legal claim if they have told the housing association or council about the defect, but the housing association or council fails to fix the issue within a reasonable amount of time. A housing disrepair claim is the tenant’s opportunity to claim compensation for their damages. The court may also order the housing association or council to carry out a repair.
How much compensation will I get for a housing disrepair claim?
It is hard to say how much compensation you will get for a housing disrepair claim because every case is different. What we can tell you is that you will get compensation to reflect:
- The physical injuries you have suffered because of the disrepair
- The mental injuries you have suffered, such as anxiety and depression
- The damage to your personal possessions
- The inconvenience and discomfort you have experienced
- The cost of your medical care, medication and other financial losses
Your compensation settlement will be determined by the extent of damage/inconvenience that has been caused, the value of your financial losses, the severity of the problem, and the amount of time you have had to live with the disrepair. More on how much is your housing disrepair worth.
Our housing disrepair solicitors will calculate how much compensation you should receive. We will then fight on your behalf to ensure you receive the maximum possible settlement.
Can my family members or housemates claim compensation too?
Yes, anyone who is legally living in the rental property and has been affected by the housing disrepair can claim compensation too.
Can I claim compensation if I was not injured?
Yes, compensation is also awarded for the inconvenience you experienced. You do not necessarily have to have suffered a personal injury in order to make a housing disrepair claim.
How long does the claims process take?
In most cases, the housing association or council is required to respond within 20 working days after receiving a ‘Letter of Claim’. Once the process has started in this way it can take between 9 and 12 months for compensation to be received by claimants. However, every case is different. Straightforward claims may be settled sooner.
Can I make a claim against a private landlord?
Unfortunately, we do not deal with claims against private landlords.
Can I make a claim against a housing association or local council?
Yes, you can make a claim against a housing association or a local council. If you rent from a housing association or a local council, you have the same rights as any other tenant. This means the authority or organisation is responsible for repairs and must carry them out within a reasonable amount of time.
What if my housing association or council repaired the problem but to a low standard?
There are occasions when a housing association or council will claim to have ‘repaired’ a defect, but the repair is of such a low standard that the issue still persists. If this has happened to you, then you could still be entitled to get compensation.
Can my housing association or council evict me for making a housing disrepair claim?
If you live in social/council housing, you cannot be evicted for making a housing disrepair claim, so long as you do not breach the terms of the tenancy agreement.
The situation is slightly different for tenants renting from a private landlord. This is because a residential landlord is allowed to evict a tenant without good reason by serving a section 21 notice. However, the landlord must give the appropriate amount of notice.
Should I stop paying my rent?
You must keep paying your rent, even if you are making a housing disrepair claim. Otherwise, you will be in breach of the tenancy agreement and your housing association or council will have grounds to evict you. More on the possible consequences of not paying your housing rent.
How do I know if I can make a claim?
To find out if you can make a housing disrepair claim, you simply need to contact us for a free initial enquiry. The housing disrepair solicitors here at Ashmans will talk to you about your living conditions. We will ask you about the nature of the disrepair, the contact you have had with your housing association or council, and whether you or your family members/housemates have suffered any damage. Afterwards, we will advise whether you have grounds to pursue a housing disrepair claim.
We offer this professional legal advice completely free of charge. If your rental property is in a poor state of repair and your housing association or council is not doing anything about it, please do not suffer in silence. Contact us now to find out what you can do.
Our housing disrepair claims are made on a no win, no fee basis. This means that you only pay legal fees if your claim is successful. Otherwise, you do not have to pay a penny.
We also participate in the Legal Aid scheme, which may be available to claimants on a low income.
We can discuss the funding options with you before we start any work. We can also determine whether you are eligible to Legal Aid.
Do I need to provide evidence?
Yes, it will be necessary to provide evidence of the disrepair. Photographs and video evidence are particularly useful. We will also need to show that you notified your housing association or council about the issue. If you sent your housing association or council text messages or emails in which you explain the problem, then we can produce this as evidence.
We may also want to gather further evidence in support of your claim. For instance, if you suffered a physical injury, we might request a medical report. We may also work with surveyors and other professionals to strengthen your case.
Can I claim if I no longer live in the property?
No, you must be living in the property in order to make a claim against a housing association or council.
Can I sue my housing association or council for a housing disrepair?
Can I be evicted for suing my housing association or council?
I think I have a housing disrepair claim – what should I do next?
If you have reported a disrepair to your housing association or council and action has not been taken in a reasonable amount of time, it is likely that you are able to make a claim. If you think this could apply to you, the next step is to contact our friendly housing disrepair solicitors for advice. During a free initial enquiry, we will talk to you about your living conditions. Once we have all the information, we will explain the options open to you, including whether you are able to pursue a housing disrepair claim. If so, we can manage the process for you, handling everything from start to finish. What to do if your rental property is in disrepair.