As a tenant, it can be incredibly frustrating and concerning to live in a property that is in disrepair.
The impact of issues in your property not only affect your quality of life, but more importantly they can have lasting effects on your health and pose risks to your safety. Thankfully, tenants could be eligible to open a housing disrepair claim to resolve these issues.
So, first things first, let’s answer some common questions:
What type of disrepair could mean you are eligible to make a housing disrepair claim? Let's have a look.
Let’s start with this: it's important to note that not all types of disrepair mean you are eligible to open a claim. In order to be eligible, the disrepair has to meet certain criteria, including:
The disrepair is landlord's responsibility to repair the issue. It can not be damage caused by you (the tennant).
The damage must be a risk to your health or safety.
The tenant has informed the landlord a reasonable amount of time ago about the issues, typically this is 3 months worth of reporting.
Since reporting the issues, the landlord must of ignored your requests/failed to address the issue. Again, within a reasonable amount of time.
Now, the next step after this is as follows. If we can assume that these criteria are met, we can now look into the variety of types of disrepair that may make you eligible. These include:
Structural issues - Anything affecting the building's structure, for example, cracks in walls, problems with the roof, or disintegrating floors and ceilings, can be dangerous and over time, potentially lead to collapse. Issues that pose immanent risk or danger, are classed as Category 1 issues, and 1 in 7 private rented properties in England have at least one category 1 hazard, according to the English Housing Survey.
Damp and mould - According to a survey by YouGov, 26% of private renters in the UK reported experiencing damp or mould some where in their homes. Not only is it unpleasant, the effects it can have on your health are disasterous, for example: exacerbating already present respiratory issues like Cystic Fibrosis and Asthma, enhance or cause allergies, and other illnesses.
Electrical issues - Faulty wiring or other electrical issues can be a fire hazard, putting tenants at risk of injury or death. Ddi you know that around 40% of domestic fires in the UK are caused by electricity, (according to Electrical Safety First).
Pest infestations - Pests, like rodents and insects are unsanitary and unpleasant, but were you aware that they also pose a risk to your health. According to a survey by the British Pest Control Association, it is estimated that 44% of UK households have experienced a pest infestation at some point - We know, that’s a shocking figure! Now imagine if you weren’t getting the correct help to eradicate the issue.
Heating and hot water issues - In the UK, landlords are legally required to provide tenants with heating and hot water. If these systems are not functioning properly, it can be incredibly uncomfortable and potentially even dangerous, particularly during the colder months.
These are just a few examples of the types of disrepair that people often live with for years due to councils and housing associations ignoring reports. You may be eligible for a housing disrepair claim if you have any of these issues and reported them over 3 months ago.
Please be aware, that if you are experiencing any of these issues (or others), it is very important to document them and notify your landlord as soon as possible. If your landlord fails to address the issue within a reasonable amount of time, you may be able to make a claim to have the issue resolved.