Tenants are vulnerable when living in a rented property in the UK because living conditions are sometimes subject to the discretion of the landlord. Most tenants don’t even know who should be responsible for repairs in their homes. Fortunately, there are regulations to protect tenants from their landlords.
Your landlord has a legal obligation to ensure your home is in a good state of repair. Unfortunately, most landlords in the UK fail to fulfil their duties. Therefore, it is not uncommon for tenants to be despaired due to their landlord’s neglect to make essential repairs to their property. You have a right to enjoy your property and live under fit conditions.
If your rented property has some defects, you have to report it to your landlord. However, if the property owner fails to make repairs after registering a complaint, you can claim compensation. Unfortunately, seeking a settlement from your landlord can be daunting.
This article discusses how to claim compensation when your landlord breaches their obligations. At Claims Bible, we can help you calculate the worth of your claim.
Does My Landlord Have a Duty to Fix All the Problems in My Property?
It is a misconception to believe your landlord bears all repair responsibilities on your property. Usually, upon the rent of a property, a written tenancy agreement is executed between you and your landlord. The tenancy agreement outlines the repair responsibilities of both parties.
Usually, the tenant is responsible for minor repairs, while the landlord handles significant restoration jobs. Your landlord’s duty to repair does not go beyond what is contained in the written agreement.
However, you need not worry if your agreement does not provide any repairing obligations. You can rely on the implied terms as stated in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 . Where your landlord breaches the terms stated therein, a despair claim arises.
Ensure you check the agreement to know what repairing obligations your landlord has agreed to. Note that your landlord’s repairing obligations only arise once you notify them. This means you must report the issue immediately. Once you have reported the problem, your landlord must fix it within a reasonable period.
What Are Housing Despair Claims?
Housing despair refers to the poor conditions of a building or structure due to neglect. Living conditions can deteriorate over time, affecting the quality of your life. Landlords have to maintain the structure and exterior of their property to a reasonable standard.
Therefore, you have a housing despair claim if your rented property has fallen below reasonable living standards and has become inadequate to live in. Nobody should have to accept poor living conditions.
However, again, you must inform your landlord of the issues in your property. Then, if your landlord fails to fix the damage within a reasonable time, you can claim compensation.
Common types of housing despairs cover the following:
- Damp and Mould
- Gas and Water Leaks
- Plumbing problems
- Pests Infestation
- Unsafe flooring or staircases
- Faulty electrics
- Faulty heating system, etc.
What Do I Need to Do to Bring a Claim Against My Landlord?
Flowing from the above, there are specific actions you must take to bring a claim against your landlord. They include the following:
Report the Despair to Your Landlord
It is best to speak with your landlord first about any repair issues. That way, you can get your problems solved quicker. However, some landlords may refuse to solve the issues complained about. If they fail to repair your home, you can contact a solicitor for help.
To successfully bring a claim against your landlord, you must show that they breached their repair obligations. In addition, you must show that they knew about the problem but failed to carry out repairs within a reasonable time.
In addition, it is preferable to have your notice in writing or by email. Ensuring you have a hard copy of your correspondence as evidence is essential. Also, make sure you retain copies of all communication, including letters, emails, texts, notes, etc.
Collect Evidence of Despair
You can document the problems on the property through photographs and videos. In addition, send photos of the damage to your landlord when reporting. It serves as evidence to support your compensation claim. So take pictures of the issue as it develops and document damage to your personal belongings.
In addition, if you had to replace damaged items yourself, ensure to keep the receipts. Then, you can file a claim against your landlord for the returned items.
You can also collect a copy of your medical record if the defect damaged your health.
It is often challenging to prove that your landlord had notice of any defects you identified. Housing associations or local authority landlords usually record complaints and works completed on your property. However, it is best to have your record of complaints. This is because their records may be incomplete or be missing specific information.
Contact the Environmental Health Department
You can also contact the environmental health department to inspect your home if the issue is causing you health problems. If your problem is grave, the department will serve a legal notice to your landlord to carry out the repairs.
Issue a Claim
If your landlord refuses to carry out repairs after complaining, you can issue a claim against your landlord. In addition, you can file a civil lawsuit at the county court or the magistrate court. However, the court expects parties to try and negotiate first.
You are likely to win if your claim is backed by solid evidence. First, you must show that your landlord has not taken his responsibilities seriously. Then, the court can order your landlord to carry out repairs and pay you compensation for the resulting damages. Bear in mind that this step should be your last resort.
Again, you can ask your landlord for compensation if they fail to carry out repairs within a reasonable time after breaching their repair obligations. The damages you receive depend on several factors, and the settlement can be in the form of a rent reduction or a lump sum payment.
What Compensation Can I Claim Against My landlord?
As already stated, where your landlord breaches their repair obligations, you can claim compensation. First, however, it is essential to know what settlement you can recover. You can claim the actual financial loss and general inconvenience.
The two amount to compensatory damages. Examples include:
- Damage to personal belongings destroyed because of poor living conditions
- Personal injury for ill-health suffered due to poor environment
- Financial loss for money spent as a result of unfit conditions
- Inconveniences such as disruption of your daily life
- Not having full utilisation of your home
- Medical expenses
- Physical and mental damage
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of amenities, etc.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive From My Claim Against My Landlord?
All tenant’s despair claims are unique. There is no fixed amount on the compensation you can receive. This is because several factors influence the amount you receive as settlement.
These factors include:
- The severity of the issue
- How duration of the problem or defect
- Damage to your personal belongings
- Household repairs
- Number of rooms impacted by the despair
- How it has impacted your life on a regular basis
The rent of your property is usually used as a yardstick to calculate your compensation. You may be awarded a percentage of your rent paid while living in the unfit conditions. Typical claims are usually within an average of £1,200.
In some cases, it ranges between 25% to 50% of the property’s rent. For example, suppose plumbing leaks into your room continuously for four years and the rent is £600pcm (per calendar month). The value of the rent for the claim duration is £28,800. At 25%, your compensation amounts to £7,200.
At Claims Bible, we take in all these factors to get you the maximum compensation.
How Long Does the Claims Process Against My Landlord Last?
There is no set time within which your claims process should last. It depends on your landlord and how responsive they are. The entire process can range from weeks to months. However, you have up to six years to file your claim in the UK. The time begins to count when you report the problem to your landlord.
Have You had a Bad Housing Experience?
As mentioned earlier, landlords have to ensure reasonable living conditions. They breach this duty if they know about a defect and neglect to carry out repairs timeously. Housing disrepair can negatively impact your health and cause damage to your personal belongings.
So, have you had a bad housing experience? If yes, we can help you determine the maximum settlement you can receive using our compensation calculator. At Claims Bible, our team has processed hundreds of demands on behalf of aggrieved victims, so you can rely on your experience and expertise.
Your chances of success begin with us. Read more about housing problems on our Housing Disrepair page or fill out a contact form today to get started on the claims process (your will be redirected to our partner site to complete the form).