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 - firstname.lastname@example.org