Residential Landlord and Tenant

Taking Action Against Your Landlord for Disrepair

If your rented property is in serious need of repair and your landlord has ignored your repeated requests to fix the problem/s, then you may be able to take court action to get them to fix the problem & provide you with compensation

Is my landlord responsible for the repairs?

You must first establish whether or not your landlord is responsible for the repairs on your premises.  The first thing to check is your tenancy agreement.  Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 your landlord is responsible for keeping in repair:

  • the structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
  • basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework
  • water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.

Will I be eligible for legal aid to help with court costs?

You will only be eligible for legal aid if the disrepair is one that is creates a serious risk to the health and safety of your family.

The other alternative is to make a claim in the Small Claims Court if the estimated damages and cost of repair work equals less than £1000.

Can the court force my landlord to make the repairs?

Yes, the court can make an order for specific performance, which means the landlord must make the necessary repairs in order to comply with their obligations under the tenancy agreement.

How will the court assess any compensation payments?

The court can award damages which are designed to put you back in the financial position you would have been in had it not been for the disrepair. You can get damages if:

  • you've been injured or made sick as a result of the disrepair
  • your belongings have been broken or spoiled
  • you've been inconvenienced and unable to use your home in the normal way.

Is there any limitation on the time I have to bring an action for disrepair?

You will normally have to bring an action within six years of telling your landlord of the need for the repair and them not doing anything about it after a reasonable length of time.

Personal injury claims resulting from the disrepair must be brought within three years of the injury occurring.

What is the Pre-Action Protocol?

The Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Cases sets out the procedures and timetables that must be followed for housing disrepair cases.  It also encourages the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution such as mediation to settle the claim instead of court action.

If your landlord is refusing to take action on a disrepair, then you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible for the sake of you and your family’s health and safety.

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