When a tenant complains about disrepair the best thing you can do as a landlord is to act quickly. Disrepair claims can be defended if you can prove that you acted quickly upon any reports of disrepair and that any improvement works carried out were done so within a reasonable time period.
‘Reasonable time period’ is defined by the nature of the repair and can be a difficult point to argue and so it is best to arrange for the works to commence as quickly as possible. Acting quickly is the easiest way to defend a disrepair claim or better still avoid any disrepair claim in the first instance.
Consider the impact of your decision
When faced with a disrepair claim the value of the claim and the costs of defending it must be considered. Registered providers should be cautious about making decisions solely based upon proportionality to avoid further unmerited claims being brought. You should however consider this along with the merits of your defence to determine whether early settlement is appropriate. There is no easy answer as each disrepair case is different and each must be considered on its own facts in order to make an informed decision on what the next step should be.
You should also consider whether your policy on dealing with disrepair claims needs amending or whether it has been followed.
Ensure that your contractors understand the law
It is a good idea to offer some basic disrepair claims training to your contractors.Their role can be crucial in helping to defend a disrepair claim. They should understand the importance of keeping records throughout the works being completed as these records could be crucial in the defending of a claim in court. Therefore, as a landlord you should routinely check any documentation you receive from your contractors and ensure that you clear up any errors or areas of uncertainty immediately.
Our solicitors have a wealth of experience of defending landlords in disrepair claims. Call our legal experts today on 01616 966 229 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch with you shortly.