Faulty heating radiator

How to Claim Against Your Landlord for Disrepair

If your rented property is in disrepair, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to fix it.

As a tenant you have the legal right to live in a property safe and free from any issues of disrepair.

Your landlord has a legal obligation to repair your property and maintain it to a reasonable standard.


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Where to begin:

1. Identify the type of repair – What counts as disrepair?

There are two ways to help you understand what repairs the landlord is obliged to carry out at the property:

Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies repair obligations into the tenancy agreement.

• The tenancy agreement itself will also detail who is contractually obliged to do certain repairs.

Under Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the landlord has an implied obligation to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling house and keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space, heating and heating water.

The above legislation covers a wide number of issues which can affect the property which the landlord is responsible for such as: the roof, brickwork, windows, doors, floors, walls, gutters, external pipes, gas, electrics etc.

Whilst the tenancy agreement may not expressly reference the above legislation, this does not mean that it does not apply! The repair obligations are implied by law to all short leases for residential property and tenancies agreed for a period of less than seven years.

Whilst Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 defines what “disrepair” is the actual tenancy agreement should also provide some assistance to working out the landlord’s repair obligations. The tenancy agreement will have express terms which state exactly what the landlord and or tenant are responsible for. In some circumstances the tenancy agreement may also extend the landlord’s repair obligations to cover more areas than those matters covered under the Landlord and Tenant act. It is always worth checking the tenancy agreement as this is the contract which you have with the landlord.

2. Contact your landlord and keep records

Once you have identified the issues at the property and that the landlord is responsible for the same you should contact the landlord immediately to let them know there is a problem.

You can report the issues to the landlord in several ways such as by telephone, email, online submission forms on the landlord’s website, in person etc.

We would always recommend keeping a diary or log detailing when have spoken to the landlord (whether in person or by telephone) and keep names of the person you have spoken to and a list of what you reported to them. If you report online or by email, then keep copies of this correspondence also.

If you can, take photographs of the issues at the property and send these to the landlord (whilst keeping a copy for your own records).

If you’ve had to replace damaged items yourself, keep the receipts and take photographs of the damaged items. If the problem is making you ill, keep any letters from your GP proving this to be the case.

When it comes to disrepair, the landlord is not automatically at fault or to blame, however if they are told about the disrepair and fail to repair the same in a reasonable period then compensation could be awarded to you.

– Repair work timelines
Normally, tenancy agreements give landlords the right to enter the premises to inspect its condition and carry out maintenance, provided they give the tenants at least 24 hours’ notice in writing.
How quickly the landlord should attend to the disrepair depends on the type of problem. For example, a burst water pipe will need attention more quickly than a radiator that’s not warming up.

3. Repairs causing ill-health

If the landlord is not fixing the disrepair issues and it is causing you ill health or making your home unsafe to live in, you may also have a potential claim for personal injury.

You should continue to report the disrepair to the landlord and seek medical advice from your GP or Hospital. Your GP may also write to your landlord on your behalf to make them aware of any health concerns which may be linked to the property.

If your health issues are urgent or the landlord isn’t acting on your complaint, contact the environmental health department of your local council to carry out an inspection of your home and provide a report.

4. Collect evidence for a claim

In law the burden of proof lies with you as the Clamant to prove the allegations you are making against the landlord. If you believe the landlord is in breach of its repair obligations and not dealing with your concerns properly, you should gather your evidence to prove this and consider seeking legal advice.

Evidence can vary on a case by case basis however you should try to collect the following:

• Tenancy Agreement
• Photographs of the disrepair and any damaged caused as a result
• Receipts for damaged personal belongings
• Copies of your complaints/reports made to the landlord

5. Basis of claim

If you instruct solicitors to make a claim against the landlord, the claim will generally consist of two parts:

• A claim for compensation for the loss and inconvenience caused by the landlord’s failure to carry out repairs.
• A claim for specific performance to force the landlord to complete the necessary repairs.

If your landlord still refuses to carry out the necessary repairs, you could take your landlord to court.
You’re more likely to win if you’ve got strong evidence to show that the landlord has not taken their responsibility seriously and that you have done all you can to make them aware of the problems affecting you and the property.

The court has the power to order the landlord to:
• Do the repairs
• Pay you compensation for damage to your personal property or health as a result of the continuing disrepair
• Pay part or all your legal costs

Our team has decades of combined experience in dealing with Housing Disrepair Claims. We are sympathetic, understanding, and are here to help you every step of the way.

Nicholson Jones Sutton Solicitors can usually handle Housing Disrepair Claims on a No Win No Fee basis.

Call or email us today to discuss your claim.


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