Housing Disrepair Claims Manchester

If you are living in poor housing conditions and your rented property falls below a reasonable living standard and is in need of repairs to prevent mould, damp and more, then you may be eligible to bring a claim against your social or private landlord for work to be carried out and for compensation for losses suffered.

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Housing Disrepair

Housing disrepair is when a rented property has fallen in need of repair in order for it to be safe and suitable for tenants to live in. SLS Housing Disrepair Solicitors are experts in winning the claim.

Housing Disrepair Claims

If you are living in poor housing conditions and your rented property falls below a reasonable living standard and is in need of repairs to prevent mould, damp and more, then you may be eligible to bring a claim against your social or private landlord for work to be carried out and for compensation for losses suffered.

Living in a badly maintained rental property can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but at worst, there can be serious implications for your health, finances and security. Many landlords, local authorities and housing associations are conscientious and ensure repairs and maintenance are carried out on their properties quickly and to a high standard. But they just go to show how bad landlords and social housing providers are getting away with negligence that is having serious implications for tenants.

We are here to fight for your repairs, health, safety and dignity by ensuring repairs are carried out as per your tenancy agreement, and to claim compensation if you have been left vulnerable or out of pocket because of their inaction.

If you are a tenant living in rented accommodation, your landlord is required by law to ensure:

  • That the house you live in is in a good state of repair structurally
  • That your house is free from damp and mould
  • That your drains and gutters are clear and working as they should be
  • That you have a working heating system
  • That you have safe access to electricity, gas and water
  • That you have working sanitation facilities i.e. toilet, basins, sinks, etc.
  • That your home is free from vermin or insect infestation

In a house where repairs or works are needed, if the landlord fails to carry out the work within a reasonable amount of time after the issues are reported by you, then this could be considered housing disrepair claim.

If you’re not sure, you can call one of our specialists who will provide free advice on whether or not you have a potential claim.

No win, no fee. Our team are on hand, ready to help.

Guide on How to rate the disrepair

MILD – for example, the disrepair mildly affects your use of the property as a whole or affects only certain areas of the property. The disrepair does not prevent you using those rooms, but causes you some inconvenience and distress

MEDIUM – the disrepair has impacted on your enjoyment of the property and to some extent prevents you from using some or all of the rooms and enjoying the property

SEVERE – for example, the disrepair affects a significant proportion of the property. Or the disrepair prevents you from using some of the rooms completely. The disrepair has had a significant impact on your ability to use the property and has caused severe inconvenience and distress

Whose responsibility is house maintenance?

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 couldn’t be any clearer. Section 9A deals with “Fitness for human habitation of dwellings in England” (the other home nations have their own similar laws). It states that the dwelling must be “fit for human habitation at the time the lease is granted or otherwise created or, if later, at the beginning of the term of the lease, and will remain fit for human habitation during the term of the lease.”

Section 11 (“Repairing obligations in short leases”) details the landlord’s responsibility to keep the house properly maintained, which includes the structure inside and out, utilities and sanitation, and heating equipment.

This law will always be the first port of call for any legal claim, unless there is a very strong case that you have agreed to perform repairs yourself as part of your tenancy agreement, which is rare.

Ensuring you meet your agreement with the landlord

Before pursuing a claim, it’s important to ensure you have acted reasonably with regard to the home. Tenancy agreements are as much to protect the owner as they are to protect you – and possibly more so, since it is usually the landlord who drafts it.

You will be expected to act in a way that doesn’t cause damage to the building or its services or furniture (if included). You’ll also be expected to change lightbulbs and possibly fuses, which are generally not the landlord’s responsibility, and perform any similar minor repairs.
Watch out for window cleaning, maintenance of shared corridors or exterior spaces and other such continual maintenance. They may or may not be your responsibility, so do check your agreement before making a claim – or, better still, before you sign it!

Landlords often use your agreement to try to prove that you have breached your tenancy contract by acting in a way that damages the property if you bring a housing disrepair claim against them. As your solicitor, we will pursue your case to attempt to prove that you were not in breach of the agreement.

But even when the landlord is correct by the letter of the contract, there are cases when the contract itself is invalid because of a technicality, or where they are using your inexperience as a tenant to trick you into taking on repair or maintenance costs that you should not be your responsibility. We will scrutinise your contract to look for cases where it can be invalidated should the landlord accuse you of failing in your obligations.

Landlords’ common arguments

Being specialist in this area and general litigation we are versatile on landlords’ common defences to breach of tenancy which include but not limited to:

  • Failure to provide notification
  • Failure to provide access
  • Disrepair due to tenant’s lifestyle
  • Impact of Covid-19
  • Disrepair does not amount to Section 11

Our specialist litigation solicitors together with expert surveyors have the knowledge and expertise to counterargue these issues.

What kinds of disrepair are the responsibility of the landlord?

There is a reasonable amount of wear and tear that homes are expected to have before a repair is required. Chipped paint on inside door frames and skirting boards, for example, would not usually count as disrepair. It is more efficient for landlords to redecorate a property all in one go rather than constantly touch up the dwelling, and it’s reasonable not to expect constant micro-maintenance.

A landlord would usually be breaching their contract in cases such as the following:

  • Mould, mildew, fungal growth or dry rot
  • Damp
  • Guttering
  • Roofing
  • Structural damage
  • Blocked chimney (if relevant)
  • Broken windows
  • Damaged Door or Window frames
  • Damage to locks or other security measures including walls and fences
  • Electrical wiring
  • Gas leaks
  • Fresh water and wastewater pipes
  • Heating (boilers, radiators, under-floor heating and any pipework or electricals)
  • Insect infestation or other pests
  • Damage to shared corridors, doors, gates and pathways

However, note that landlords should be given a reasonable amount of time to address the less severe issues – not everything will need to be done immediately. Also note that if you caused the damage, it might be your responsibility to pay for its repair or replacement. Some issues may be the responsibility of third parties, such as the water board or the local council, but it is your landlord who should raise the issue, except in an emergency.

What can you claim for?

You can ask your landlord for compensation if disrepair or poor conditions damage your health or belongings or cause you inconvenience.

You could be eligible to claim for housing disrepair if your home has any of the below issues:

  • Rising damp, leading to mould
  • Penetrating damp, leading to mould
  • Non-functioning or unsafe heating system or boiler
  • Unsafe flooring or staircases
  • Rotten doors or window frames
  • Leaking pipes or cracked sanitation equipment
  • Faulty electrics
  • Loose tiles or brickwork
  • Vermin or insect infestation

What can you claim compensation for?​

You can claim for general inconvenience as well as for actual financial loss:

Inconvenience

  • You can claim for inconvenience including:
  • disruption to your daily life
  • not having full use of your home
  • time spent waiting for builders or inspections

The amount you could get depends on how the problem affected you and for how long.

Damage to health

  • You can claim if your physical or mental health is affected by the conditions in your home.
  • Loss of earnings if you were unable to work
  • Extra expenses such as prescriptions or travel to hospital
    Make sure you keep sick notes or hospital reports that show how your health has been affected.

Damage to belongings

  • You can claim for items that are damaged or destroyed because of poor conditions or during repair works.

Financial loss

  • You can claim if you’ve had to spend more money because of problems with conditions in your home.
  • higher electric bills when using plug-in heaters due to a broken boiler.

Keep receipts and bills as evidence of money you’ve had to pay because of disrepair or poor conditions.

In general, your case is strengthened the longer the landlord has ignored the problem or denied it exists, so make sure you keep all your phone records, text messages, emails and physical correspondence about the matter.

The majority of the time, our specialist solicitors will settle your case without the need to start court proceedings. If a housing disrepair case needs to be litigated (commence court proceedings), our Litigation Specialist will robustly fight for your home repairs and get you compensation.

Talk to the housing disrepair experts

Housing disrepair and negligence is an area we specialise in, so talk to us about getting your landlord to act and pay you compensation. We work on a No Win, No Fee basis, so if we feel you have a strong case, there is no financial risk to you – but the benefits can be life-changing. For many landlords, a simple letter from a solicitor is enough to get them to take action, so let’s get you safe and comfortable sooner.

Our housing disrepair specialist solicitors have handled many cases where tenants have been treated unfairly and misinformed of their rights by their social landlord.

Our housing specialist solicitors do more than just help you make a housing claim. They can guide and support you when you have suffered, and get you the justice you deserve.

To discuss how we can assist with recovery of housing disrepair expenses on a No Win, No Fee Basis, call our specialist team on 0161 697 5959

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