Housing disrepair - what do you need to do?
- Report the problem to your landlord, asking them to fix it. Preferably in writing and keep a copy. Make sure you remember the date you reported the issue.
- If your landlord fails to repair the problem, then send them a reminder. Again its better if its written.
- You should seek early assistance from a specialist housing law adviser.
No win, no fee housing disrepair claims
The housing disrepair solicitors at Stephensons are nationally recognised for their expertise and client-oriented approach to legal services. We can give you a plain-speaking solution to your housing dispute and if you qualify for legal aid you can get help with fees. We offer fixed fee services and 'no win no fee' agreements where possible. Get in touch today to find out what our disrepair claims solicitors can do for you - 0203 816 9282.
Housing disrepair FAQs
What responsibilities do landlords have to carry out repairs?
Landlords have implied responsibilities and they must bear the cost of repairs to their property. These obligations cannot be
cancelled out by any other arrangements. Landlords are liable to repairs carried out in three principal areas:
- To the exterior of the property including the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
- To bathrooms including all sinks, baths , basins and related pipework in the property
- Utilities, water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters
This responsibility also extends to communal areas. The tenancy agreement may also include some additional obligations for the landlord.
My landlord is refusing to make the repairs what can I do?
Landlords must be correctly notified of the need of repair, this ideally needs to be in writing using a proof of delivery postal
service. If you have caused damage to the property then the landlord may not be liable. However where this is not the case, you could firstly try and negotiate directly or via your letting agent depending on how your tenancy is managed. If however, you still cannot obtain the repair you may decide to take legal action to get the repairs done and may be eligible for compensation as a result of inconvenience, ill health or damage to your belongings. You need to keep a detailed log of any agreements made and any works carried out, ideally taking before and after pictures of the problems at your property.
Can I withhold my rent if my landlord does not make the repairs?
No you must not do this as you could then be evicted. If successful it should be possible to claim a refund for rent paid, this is likely to be set off against any rent arrears.
What are considered health and safety issues and hazards?
There are two principal hazards: mould/damp and overcrowding. Both can be detrimental to your health and you may be able to claim compensation due to ill health.
I am worried about the gas appliances in the property, what are the landlords obligations?
All gas appliances have to be checked once a year by a Gas Safe engineer and the appropriate certificate has to be produced. Landlords need to give you adequate notice of a gas safety check. Checks are required on gas pipework, gas cookers, gas
boilers, gas fires and gas water heaters. Carbon monoxide monitors are also required for coal or wood burning fires. Smoke
detectors also need to be tested at the start of the tenancy and a record produced to show they were in proper working order.
What evidence should I collect if my landlord is refusing to make repairs?
Keep a diary of the date you reported the disrepair and a copy of all correspondence with your landlord. It is a good idea to take photographs of the areas involved in the property and what steps you had to take as a result of non-repair. For instance if you
incurred expense as a result of having to replace items or seek alternative solutions.
Keep receipts for any additional expenses you incur such as cleaning products. If the lack of repair caused medical problems, you should keep a diary of these including any doctor appointments, receipts for prescription and symptoms.
Does it matter where I am based in the country can you still help me?
If you are on a low income and require legal aid we cannot assist if you are outside of the North West. However, if you do not require legal aid we act for clients nationally and have an outstanding reputation in doing so.
If you would like to speak to a member of our housing law team about disrepair please call us on 0203 816 9282 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.