It is safe to say that the social housing market in the UK has had its ups and downs over the last few years. However, one area that seems to be consistently problematic is housing disrepair. While it can be challenging to stay on top of social housing and accommodation repair and maintenance requests as a housing association, certain oversights simply can’t be ignored. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the biggest housing disrepair issues for 2022. We hope that this information will be helpful for both solicitors and case handlers who are dealing with these types of cases over the next couple of months.
Damp & Housing Disrepair Claims
The global pandemic has certainly reinforced the importance of people’s homes, and there is growing awareness and evidence of the connection between quality of life, mental and physical health, and the home environment. More pressure will be put on housing associations in the UK to resolve issues at home that could impact health and wellbeing, especially as more people than ever before work from home. One of the biggest housing disrepair issues for 2022 is dampness.
Damp can cause a wide variety of problems, including mould and respiratory problems. It can also damage property and furniture. In some cases, it can even lead to health problems for residents. It is important to note that dampness can be caused by a number of things, including defective brickwork, failed damp proof course, poor insulation, leaky roofs and windows, and plumbing problems. If you are dealing with a case involving housing disrepair, it is important to investigate the initial cause of damp in order to hold someone accountable, whether this is a housing association or the local council.
Mould – A Significant Health Concern
Another prominent housing disrepair issue for 2022 is mould. Mould can not only cause but can make worse respiratory health conditions and can trigger asthma attacks, and skin irritation. In some cases, a property with mould can be life-threatening to residents, which is why it is so important to investigate the root cause of mould and what has been done to resolve the issue. If you have a housing disrepair claim that involves mould, you should also take note of any medical conditions the tenants have, along with any health issues that have developed within the past couple of months whilst living at the property.
Gas Safety – Often Overlooked
Another big issue is gas safety. Gas leaks can be extremely dangerous, and in some cases, they can even be fatal. It is therefore important that housing associations take gas safety seriously and ensure that all appliances are checked on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many housing associations can sometimes overlook this health and safety concern. Which can lead to serious and life-threatening risks for residents.
In November 2021 the government announced a new rule regarding carbon monoxide alarms. Each alarm must now be fitted in social and privately rented properties with appliances such as gas boilers and gas fires. Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing explained that 20 people are killed each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning and this simple intervention can prevent needless deaths. ¹
If you are dealing with a housing disrepair claim in which the property has an unsafe gas connection, it is important to investigate the issue and find out how much time has passed since the last gas safety check. If you are dealing with a case involving an explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning, it is also important to consider whether there were any smoke alarms in place that could have alerted residents of danger earlier.
Electrical Safety At Home
Last but not least, we have electrical safety at home. Now that we live in such a digital-first world, faulty appliances and issues involving electricity can not only be a health and safety issue, but can interrupt those working remotely. And this could lead to unemployment or financial loss.
According to the UK government, there are over 30 deaths a year caused by faulty electrics. And these include fires and electrocution from appliances and wiring. If you suspect that your client has suffered an injury related to poor electrical safety in their home, it is important to investigate this further.
For more information regarding a housing disrepair claim or sourcing a housing disrepair solicitor, feel free to contact Next Gen Solicitors today.