What is housing disrepair?

Here at Antony Hodari solicitors, we specialise in all things housing disrepair. So we thought it best to talk you through the legal obligations bestowed upon your landlord and the issues of disrepair which they must rectify, as well as any damages which are available to be claimed if problems have arisen.

Firstly, if you are a tenant living in rented accommodation, your landlord has to legally ensure that specific provisions have been made for your safety and wellbeing. These include:

  •  That you have working water, gas and electricity which can all be accessed safely in case of an emergency.
  • That your home isn’t also home to any insect infestations, mice, rats or any other form of uninvited animal tenants.
  • That you have access to all sanitary provisions, such as a bath, sink etc.
  • The dwelling has a working heating system and is free of damp or mould throughout.
  • Structurally the house is secure and can be lived in without fear of disrepair.

 

All of the types of disrepair stated above can bring about legal proceedings, whereby the tenant can claim compensation relating to:

 

Health issues – If the tenant or any of their family have suffered health-related problems as a result of the disrepair.

Damage to household belongings – If any of the tenant’s possessions incur damage due to the disrepair or the fixing of the disrepair.

General inconvenience –  If some or most of your house is inhabitable due to the level of disrepair this may be classed as a general inconvenience

 

There are multiple ways that disrepair can happen to a dwelling here are a few which you may have encountered.

 

  • Cracks in internal walls.
  • Faulty or broken boiler.
  • Loose slates on the roof, allowing water and draught to ingress.
  • The occurrence of vermin, such as mice or rats.

 

What can WE do next?

 

If your landlord hasn’t kept your home in a good state of repair, here are the ways we can help!

 

We look into your tenancy agreement and collect all the facts and information regarding disrepair.

 

We instruct a professional surveyor to complete a report.

 

We consider any illness or poor-health which has occurred due to the disrepair, as well as any other losses such as damage to property etc.

 

Request the landlord to make the repairs within an agreed timeframe.

 

Try to negotiate an early settlement, without court action.

 

Explain the court proceedings if needed.

 

What now?

 

Well, if you think you have issues of housing disrepair get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help and progress your claim through the necessary means.

In the last decade legal aid in the housing sector has fallen by nearly 40%!

It was recently announced that the funding distributed from the government’s legal aid programme has shown a gross tumble where the housing sector is concerned. The data provided, highlighted a drop of 39% in cases which were granted support in 2018/19 in comparison with 2010/11.

Substantially less applications were made in 2018/19, 45% to be specific, meaning it was inevitable that less would receive funding. However, in our opinion the problem runs much deeper. The constant tweaking of what support is allowed when it comes to specific housing cases and the more stringent set of rules which now exist are undoubtedly the force behind the lack of applications.

The crux of the funding issues arrived in 2013 when the Legal Aid and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) came into force.

The LASPO meant that disrepair cases were no longer able to be funded by legal aid except in cases whereby the tenant was at risk of serious health and safety breaches.

This of course means that vast wastelands grew in the area of housing disrepair, whereby tenants rights were neglected and expert housing repair lawyers firms were left to go out of business.

However, this wasn’t the end of the matter, despite being an obvious causal link LASPO wasn’t the only regulation which brought a downturn in the number of housing cases being taken forwards.

In March 2015, government regulations meant that payment to solicitors would only be made once the courts granted the permission to bring the case forward. Therefore meaning firms could do large amounts of work and remain unpaid for that work in the long run.

When all is said and done and the dust settles on the effect LASPO had on the housing sector. It is fair to assess that without the firms in place to bring forward cases against local authority and housing associations, bad practice and poor maintenance of homes will continue. Systematically failing tenants up-and-down the country for what has been almost a decade.

If you think that you’ve suffered due to housing disrepair we are here to help.

Simply follow any of the steps below and speak to one of our qualified housing sector solicitors today.

Call – 0800 085 6041

Email – info@antonyhodari.co.uk