Do you have a landlord that is failing to carry out repairs in your home?
Is the disrepair causing you health problems or is ruining your belongings?
Do you have mouldy walls, leaking pipes or a faulty boiler which your landlord won’t fix?
The Smooth Commercial Law Housing Disrepair team can help.
- What is classed as housing disrepair?
- Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
- How much is a housing disrepair claim worth?
- How long does a landlord have to fix disrepairs?
- How to complain about housing disrepair
- Can I get evicted for complaining about Housing Disrepair?
- How can Smooth Commercial Law help?
- Contact Smooth Commercial Law
Housing disrepair claims occur when a property is in need of repair in order to be safe and suitable for tenants, but the landlord refuses to carry out the repairs.
If your landlord is failing to carry out work on your home, within a reasonable amount of time, a claim can made to force your landlord to carry out the repairs and potentially recover you compensation.
What is classed as housing disrepair?
There are many things that can be classed as housing disrepair. Some are more serious than others, but all can be equally frustrating when they are not being dealt with by an unhelpful landlord.
Housing disrepair can include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Broken or faulty heating systems
- Faulty gas, electricity or water supply
- Damp walls and leaking pipes
- Damaged and worn external walls
- Rotting window and door frames
- Unsafe flooring and staircases
- Vermin infestation
Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
On 20th March 2019 a new Law came into force to ensure homes that are rented are fit for human habitation or in other words safe, healthy and free from conditions that could cause serious harm.
The new Law applies to tenancies with a fixed term of less than 7 years and:
- All new tenancies granted on or after 20th March 2019;
- All tenancies that were for a fixed term prior to 20th March 2019 but become periodic tenancies (e.g. weekly/monthly) after that date;
- Periodic tenancies existing on 20th March 2019 after a 12-month period, therefore from 20th March 2020.
Therefore, if you are a tenant and you are living in a home that is in poor condition through such things as faulty heating, severe damp and mould or infestation amongst others then it may be the case that you can use the new Law to force your Landlord to bring the condition of your home into a state that is fit for human occupation.
How much is a housing disrepair claim worth?
There are many variables to account for when calculating how much a housing disrepair claim is worth. It often comes down to how serious the disrepair is, whether you have had health problems due to the disrepair, how long the problem has been there, and whether or not you have had any belongings affected.
The court can award compensation called damages, which are awarded to put you back in the financial position you would have been in had your landlord made the repairs when they should have done. You can get damages in some cases, if:
- You have been injured or made ill due to the disrepair
- Your belongings have been damaged or destroyed
- You have been inconvenienced or unable to use your home
The courts may compensate you for the “pain, suffering and loss of amenity”. The court will often calculate this as a percentage of your rent for the period that the disrepair existed. This percentage will depend on how severe the disrepair is.
If some of your belongings have been damaged or lost due to the disrepair, perhaps by a water leakage, you will not be awarded a replacement item, but a lump sum to reflect the value of that item. The amount you receive will also depend on any proof you are able to provide to the courts that the disrepair caused the damage to the item. We always recommend taking pictures of your home and belongings with date stamps on.
How long does a landlord have to fix disrepairs?
Currently, there is no set timeframe for which a landlord must make repairs to your home. There is law, however, in relation to how long landlords have to respond to any written complaint by a tenant. Landlords have 14 days from the date of a tenant’s complaint to make a response.
Their response should set out what they intend to do to remedy the problem, and include a reasonable timeframe for carrying out the works.
After this, the general rule is whatever is accepted as “reasonable time”. Under guidance for the Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015, the Government states:
The Government supports a bigger, better and more professional private rented sector. Tenants can expect to receive good quality accommodation, and to have necessary repairs carried out within a reasonable time.
Generally speaking, for more serious and health threatening disrepairs like losing your heating in the middle of winter, you should expect repairs to be carried out within two weeks. Everything else comes under the “reasonable time” bracket.
Landlords also often have their own Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which should tell you how quickly various repairs should be carried out. Check your tenancy agreement to see if they have stated these.
How to complain about housing disrepair
In the first instance, you should report the issue to your landlord as soon as possible. This should be done informally, through a telephone call or something similar. If, after a reasonable timeframe they haven’t fixed the issue, you should write to your landlord formally to complain about the disrepair.
Keep a record/diary of all of the contact you have with your landlord, which should include names and dates of the people you have spoken to or contacted. This includes copies of letters, text messages, emails and social media messages.
There will often be a complaints procedure that your landlord sets out. The policy should set out when your landlord will get back to you and what to do if you’re unhappy with the outcome.
Failing this, contacting a specialist Housing Disrepair Solicitor firm can help advance any complaint you have. Smooth Commercial Law can contact the landlord on your behalf, or go to the Local Council or the Housing Ombudsman to get them to investigate the issue further.
Can I get evicted for complaining about Housing Disrepair?
There is legal protection for tenants to stop what is now known as “revenge evictions”. These retaliatory evictions occur when a landlord takes steps to evict a tenant because they have complained about disrepairs, rather than fixing the problem.
You can get protection from a Section 21 eviction if you ask the Council’s environmental health department to inspect your home, to ensure it is unsafe or in poor condition. The council can then:
- Assess your home under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
- Order your landlord to carry out repairs or improve conditions
How can Smooth Commercial Law help?
Dealing with housing disrepairs can be a stressful and traumatic time, particularly if your landlord isn’t assisting in the matter.
At Smooth Commercial Law, we understand your frustrations and can help you get your home fixed once and for all. Our team can help you claim compensation for your housing disrepair claim and, more importantly, finally get your home fixed so you can go back to living happily.
We have years of experience helping clients claim against their landlord for housing disrepair claims. Smooth Commercial Law also operate on a No Win, No Fee basis, meaning there is no financial risk to you if you do choose to claim through us.
To arrange a free initial consultation on starting your housing disrepair claim, you can call 0800 046 9976 or get in touch via a contact form on this page.