Disrepair

Is your landlord failing to carry out necessary repairs to your home? If you are a tenant living in rented property which has fallen into disrepair you may have a disrepair claim against your landlord.

Disrepair is the term used when your landlord is failing to carry out major repairs to your home.  Whether you rent from a private landlord, housing association or local authority, your landlord has a number of legal duties to keep your properties in good repair. These duties include:

  • Keeping the properties free from damp and mould
  • Keeping the structure and exterior of the premises in good repair
  • Making sure there are a safe water pipes and installations relating to water usage – such as baths, sinks, drainage systems and toilets
  • Keeping gas pipes and electrical wiring safe
  • Making sure tenants have access to heating and hot water

In addition to these statutory duties, your contract with your landlord may include additional obligations on your landlord.

If there is disrepair, what should you do?

Your landlord should be given the opportunity to fix the problem as soon as you become aware. If a landlord doesn’t know about disrepair, then he can’t be expected to take action. You should:

  1. Report the problem to your landlord as soon as you become aware. It is best to write to your landlord (an email is fine) and keep a copy.
  2. If your landlord fails to repair the problem, then send them a reminder. Again, it is better if it is in writing.
  3. If your landlord refuses to take action, then you should contact your local Environmental Health team. The team, who are part of the Council, will come out and investigate whether the problem is a serious health or safety hazard. The Environmental Health team have powers to force your landlord to take action.
  4. Seek advice from a Housing Solicitor.

What can a Solicitor do?

If the problem is a risk to health and safety and is a breach of the legal obligations placed on landlords, you can ask the Court to intervene and to order your landlord to take action. If your landlord refuses to do so, the Court can order that the work is carried out and that the landlord meets the costs of it. A Court can also order that your landlord pays you compensation for the distress and inconvenience and any injuries that you have suffered.

Legal aid may be available. We will always carry out an initial assessment to see if you are eligible for legal aid. If you aren’t eligible, we offer fixed fee packages to give you advice and assistance to understand your position and the next steps that you should take.

Disrepair is a complex area of law. We are the largest Housing team in the North East. We have specialist Housing solicitors based in our Newcastle and South Shields offices and we can offer urgent appointments if needed.