UK Housing Disrepair: What It Is & What You Can Do

17th of April 2023

As a basic human right, everyone deserves to live in safe and comfortable accommodation. However, some tenants in the UK face problems with housing disrepair, which can have a severe impact on their health and wellbeing. In this blog, we will take a closer look at what housing disrepair is, the consequences of it, and how it affects housing associations and council properties.

What is Housing Disrepair?

Housing disrepair refers to the condition of a rented property that has fallen into a state of disrepair, which the landlord is responsible for fixing. This can include issues such as damp, mould, infestations, broken boilers, faulty electrics, and leaks. Housing disrepair can cause a range of health problems, including respiratory illnesses, allergies, and mental health issues.

Consequences of Housing Disrepair

Housing disrepair can have a severe impact on tenants' physical and mental health, and it can also affect their quality of life. It can lead to social isolation, financial hardship, and can even affect children's education if they are unable to study in a safe and healthy environment.

Housing Associations and Council Properties

Housing associations and local councils are responsible for providing affordable and safe housing to vulnerable individuals and families. However, according to a report by the National Housing Federation, housing associations in England need to spend at least £12.8bn to fix the disrepair in their properties. The report found that almost a third of housing association homes had at least one type of disrepair, and 7% of those homes were deemed hazardous.

Similarly, a report by the Chartered Institute of Housing found that council properties in England need over £10bn of repairs, with around 21% of properties affected by damp and mould, and 17% affected by electrical problems.

What Can Tenants Do?

Tenants have the right to live in safe and healthy accommodation, and landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that the properties they rent out meet certain standards. If a tenant experiences housing disrepair, they should report the issue to their landlord or managing agent as soon as possible. If the landlord fails to respond, the tenant can contact the local council's housing department or seek legal advice.

Tenants can also consider making a compensation claim if the housing disrepair has caused them financial loss or personal injury. In 2020, the Ministry of Justice increased the maximum amount of compensation that can be awarded for housing disrepair cases in the county court from £5,000 to £20,000.

In conclusion, housing disrepair is a significant issue in the UK that can have a severe impact on tenants' health and wellbeing. Housing associations and council properties have a responsibility to provide safe and comfortable housing to vulnerable individuals and families. If you are experiencing housing disrepair, it's essential to report the issue to your landlord or local council as soon as possible. This blog provides helpful information and guidance for tenants who may be facing this problem.