When you rent a property in the UK, you should feel safe and comfortable. Both tenants and landlords have a role to play in the upkeep of a property. But if a landlord fails to ensure a rental property is safe and in a good state of repair, they are liable for compensation claims.

Housing Disrepair Claim

If you find yourself in a situation where a landlord has not made repairs to a rental property, and this has put you at risk, you may have grounds to make a housing disrepair claim. As housing disrepair solicitors, we can help determine whether the landlord is at fault and if submitting a housing disrepair claim would likely lead to compensation.

There are two pieces of legislation that outline a landlord’s responsibility towards the upkeep of a property, as well as what could be grounds for housing disrepair claims. One is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and the other is the Homes Fitness For Human Habitation Act 2018, also known as Human Habitation Act.

Under the Homes Fitness For Human Act, private landlords have the duty to keep the property’s structure and exterior in good condition. This includes but is not limited to the obligation to carry out repairs to:

  • External pipes, walls, roofs, door frames, gutters, floorboards, and drains.
  • Internal walls.
  • Heating installations, both for space and water heating.
  • Water, electricity, gas, and sanitation or sewage installations.

There are other things that could also deem a breach, such as failure to ensure the property is safe. This could include failing to address structural defects, gas leaks, broken doors or locks, lack of compliance with fire safety regulations, vermin, etc.

Another thing you should note is that you may have a claim for housing upkeep neglect whether the rented property belongs to a local authority, a private individual, or a property management company if they were designated by the owner to ensure living standards were maintained.

Compensation For Housing Disrepair Claims

The compensation you claim is usually divided into three categories:

  • 1: Personal injury

    This would apply if you suffered from ill health as a result of the landlord’s refusal to keep the property in a suitable condition. For example, mouldy walls can cause allergies or aggravate existing conditions, such as asthma. Compensation amounts are calculated based on how severely your health has been affected, and if applicable, the duration of the disease or condition caused. Compensation for personal injury may also cover financial losses that are a direct result of ill health. This could include medical costs and lost earnings.

  • 2: Damage to personal belongings

    For example, if a pipe bursts as a result of housing disrepair and your computer sustained water damage, you could claim compensation for the costs incurred in repairing or replacing the computer – with some caveats. Financial compensation would not cover the cost of a new computer, and it’s unlikely that it would equal the amount you paid when you bought the device in the past.

  • 3: General inconvenience

    This refers to any expenses you may have incurred as a result of housing disrepair. For instance, if your rented home was flooded and became unfit to live in and you needed to pay for alternative accommodation.

Making A Housing Disrepair Claim

Housing disrepair claims can be filed even if you don’t have a tenancy agreement. But before filing one, there are two conditions that must be met:

1: Disrepair could be anticipated. This means that claims are only valid if disrepair was foreseeable and landlords should have a) known about it or b) been informed about it.

2: The damages could have been avoided. This means that the claim should prove that the landlord intentionally neglected his duty.

To support your claim, you should keep as much evidence as you can, including photos, text messages, videos, emails, receipts, etc. It may also be necessary to gather supporting evidence from other tenants and to conduct an independent inspection of the property. If your health has been affected, liability may also need to be established through the opinion of medical experts.