Housing Disrepair FAQs
18 December 2018
If you are unsure about whether to make a claim for Housing Disrepair, see our FAQs below which should clarify any queries you may have. If you have any further questions, or wish to speak with someone regarding a potential Housing Disrepair claim, please call our offices on 01254 297 130
Q1. What will happen when I instruct Curtis Law to deal with my claim?
We will write to your landlord on your behalf with a Letter of Claim, outlining to them that we want to see copies of all relevant documents and to arrange for our expert Surveyor to inspect your home. This letter outlines all the issues which you are facing in the property with outstanding repairs.
Q2. What do I need to have a successful claim?
To successfully bring a claim, you need to prove that:
- Your home suffers from actionable defects; and
- Your landlord has knowledge of the actionable defects; and
- Your landlord has failed to remedy them within a reasonable period of time;
Q3. What is an ‘actionable defect’?
This arises when the law imposes an obligation on your landlord to keep something in repair but then becomes defective in some way:
- The Structure and exterior of the home (e.g., the walls, roof, external doors and windows, and the internal walls and ceilings- including plasterwork);
- The sinks, baths, and lavatories, including pipes and drains and guttering; • The central heating, gas fires, fireplaces, flues, ventilation and chimneys; and
- The gas pipes, electrical wiring and some appliances provided;
Q4. What Law is used for a Housing Disrepair claim?
Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 is one of the main ways in which a repairing obligation is imposed upon landlords; but this does not require your landlord to improve the property or to remedy inherent design defects;
Q5. How can I prove that my landlord has knowledge of the ‘actionable defects’?
You may have sent your landlord e-mails or texts or even telephoned them multiple times. If you don’t have any evidence of complaints, we should be able to obtain copies of your housing file from your landlord to see if any complaints have been recorded.
Q6. How long can my landlord avoid carrying out repairs?
The legal test is a ‘reasonable time’. Generally speaking ‘urgent’ disrepair would mean that if you have no heat or water, and would need to be dealt with almost immediately.
Q7. Can I claim compensation from my landlord?
If it is found that your Landlord is responsible for repairs in your home, but has failed to repair the same when you have complained about the issues, you may be able to claim compensation. There are 2 types of compensation.
• ‘General Damages’
This is to compensate you for the time that you lived with and the extent of the disrepair with reference to your rent over this period.
• ‘Special Damages’
This is to compensate you for the cost of replacing any belongings damaged by the disrepair [e.g. mouldy mattress or carpets] or the amount of any expenses reasonably incurred by the disrepair[e.g. higher heating bills or additional cleaning materials]. It is notoriously difficult to prove these items without good evidence such as receipts or photographs. In the absence of these, the Courts and your landlord’s lawyers may only be prepared to pay nominal damages if anything at all.
Q8. Are then any time limits that I should be aware of in bringing my claim?
In regard to Housing Disrepair claims you have 6 years to make a claim from the date the disrepair was first reported to your landlord. In regard to personal injury claims you have a shorter 3 year deadline to issue court proceedings. In regard to a child under 18, the 3 year limit does not begin until the child’s 18th birthday i.e. until their 21st Birthday.