What Are Housing Disrepair Claims?
Housing Disrepair Claims can well frustrating common issues that arise between landlords and tenants. Luckily our landlord and tenant solicitors have years of experience dealing with such claims and are here to assist when necessary.
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If you have been spending a more considerable amount of your time at home than usual, you may have realized how annoying a seemingly minor defect, such as a faulty dripping tap, can be. Many individuals in the UK have been forced to work from home due to the effects of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, you may have realized how some of the repairs to your house are urgent and necessary.
As a result of this, a rise in housing disrepair claims has occurred in the UK, resulting from the increased time spent at home. But do many tenants understand their rights when making house disrepair claims? Also, are many of the raised house disrepair claims reasonable?
Our landlord and tenant solicitors are keen to answer these questions by providing you with elaborate counsel on house disrepair claims. To facilitate this, we will give you critical insights on house disrepair and inform you of your rights as a tenant.
Housing Disrepair Claims and COVID-19
Many tenants have recently contacted housing solicitors during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has been inspired by the reluctance of some landlords to do house repairs. On the other hand, the landlords are citing the economic difficulties caused by the pandemic as the primary cause of the reported incidences of negligence.
Also, the UK has been under strict restrictions for a considerable part of the previous year. With landlords unwilling to do repairs, the wait for tenants has been so long, with no hope for change on the horizon.
As a tenant, you might be sympathetic towards your landlord, given the prevailing difficult, Covid-19 driven hardships. However, the law has not suspended house repairs responsibilities for landlords. As such, you need to report any house disrepair issues to the property owner, just as you would, supposing there was no pandemic. Remember to keep proof of the repair need notification.
House Despair Claims- Landlords Who Have Not Yet Done Repairs
Financial difficulties across the board caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have made it difficult for a significant percentage of tenants to explore new and better accommodation options. As a result, many tenants have to stay in the same house, even though it needs urgent repairs. To facilitate the stay, tenants also need to have their houses repaired. As a result, the fact that there has been an increased time that many tenants have had to spend at home, the pressure of having the nagging repairs fixed is presently more than ever.
A tenant under such pressure may ask the landlord to do repairs, but the landlord does not act or respond. In this case, it is imperative for the tenant to make a housing disrepair claim via a court application.
Nonetheless, the tenant should pursue this as the last option. First, it is imperative to seek mediation through a reputable housing solicitor. If the mediation is unsuccessful, then it is necessary to file a house disrepair claim.
Who is Responsible?
You should first understand who is responsible for the repair before making a house disrepair claim. You can easily identify who is responsible by reading the tenancy agreement. Sometimes, it might be difficult for the tenant to decode the legal language used on the tenancy agreement. Such an issue can be easily settled by engaging a competent tenant solicitor who will guide you through reading the terms and thus help identify who is responsible.
You need to know that you could be responsible for some of the repairs. This is why we caution tenants to read the tenancy agreement carefully to avoid creating unnecessary scuffles with the landlord.
Other issues are pretty contentious, and it is not entirely clear who is responsible. For instance, a tenant could claim that issues such as mould growth are due to dampness. On the other hand, the landlord can retaliate that the mould is due to poor ventilation by the tenant. As a result, it is essential to involve an experienced solicitor to facilitate solving such conundrums.
Reporting Housing Disrepair
As a tenant in the UK, it is your responsibility to report if there is a house disrepair challenge. Also, when you report, it is vital to give the landlord a sufficient period to work on the problem. The timeframe that you should provide depends on the nature of the problem. For instance, a significant water leak may necessitate urgent attention, while a small leak can be solved with too much pressure.
At times, landlords are non-cooperative with the tenant and may thus fail to respond on time. If a reasonable time has elapsed before the landlord takes action, keep track of the notice you served the landlord.
Housing Disrepair Claims and the Pre-Action Protocol
Before initiating a housing despair lawsuit, you need to follow the stipulated procedure. It is called the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Claims and Cases. Failure to follow this procedure results in either of the following:
-The court will throw out your claim
-The court will tell you to pay a fine to the landlord
You do not want to risk such an outcome, and this is why it is imperative to involve our expert tenant lawyers to guide you through the lawsuit.
The protocol demands that the tenant sends a notice to warn the landlord of the intention to take action if the issue remains unresolved. This should be preceded by a verbal notice to the landlord to work on the repairs and give sufficient time to allow for the repairs. The tenant should only file a suit if the landlord ignores the request for repairs.
When the tenant sends the letter under this protocol, the landlord has 20 days to respond. Failure to act on the house repair should prompt the tenant to file a suit.
Housing Disrepair Claims – The Courts
The county court is responsible for settling the house disrepair claims. The court deals with claims that amount to repairs amounting to £10,000 and below.
The court may also ask the tenant to do the repairs and recoup the money from the landlord from the due rent.
Compensation and Housing Disrepair Claims
A tenant is eligible for compensation when there is damage caused by the failure of the landlord to repair. Therefore, you can sue the landlord on the grounds of having encountered health challenges resulting from the issue. Also, if, for instance, you have not been able to work from home due to the problem posed by the lack of repair, you can be compensated.
As you pursue your housing disrepair claims, it is important that you engage the services of our expert solicitors. This process can be counterproductive if you do not understand the legal requirements of housing disrepair claims. You cannot afford to encounter such a challenge, and that’s why we are here to assist. Therefore, for expert advice, reach out to us, and we will give your case the best chance of success.
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.