If you're a tenant and you've been forced to live in a home that's poorly maintained, Homes in Disrepair Compensation (also known as Housing Disrepair Compensation) can be used to make amends.
You might be compensated financially for any loss or inconvenience you've experienced. You might also be compensated by your landlord being forced to carry out required repairs.
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A home in disrepair is one that hasn't been kept to the standard it was in when you moved in. Over time, damage happens as a result of wear and tear. In order to avoid any major issues, it's important that landlords stay on top of maintenance and address any problems quickly. If they don't, the house or flat could fall into a state of disrepair.
If a tenant doesn't look after their home properly, they're responsible for making amends. Often, though, tenants do nothing wrong, and issues still arise from time to time. A boiler might break down, a pipe might burst, or some tiles might fall from the roof on a breezy winter night. When the issues aren't the tenant's fault, the landlord is financially responsible. It's also the landlord's job to find an appropriate tradesperson for repairs.
Compensation might be paid if a landlord has refused to resolve any wear and tear issues or if they've not engaged in conversation at all.
The landlord’s inaction might have led to you being inconvenienced. It may even have led to injury, illness, or to the damage of property. In these cases, you deserve to be given financial recompense for what you’ve suffered. Other times, compensation will simply be a resolution of any issues – the courts might demand that the landlord sets things right by making repairs as soon as possible. Even if a landlord has ignored their tenant, they can’t easily ignore a court order.
You can’t immediately claim compensation. First, you need to be absolutely sure that your landlord is aware of any issues. You should be able to contact your landlord, and it’s best to do this in writing. A paper trail can act as evidence if you later need to make a claim. Of course, a written letter might not be your first step, and often a phone call is enough. If you’ve tried calling your landlord and they’re not responding, or they’re deliberately evasive, writing a letter is usually the best step to take.
Keep evidence of everything that happens. Record the dates and times of any calls to your landlord, and keep copies of letters back and forth. If you have any face-to-face conversations, note where and when they take place. Keep text messages and any other records of your attempts to resolve things. If your landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, approach a solicitor for help.
Keep evidence of any long-term effects of housing disrepair, like any time you’ve been unable to use a certain room in your house or any illness or injury you’ve suffered. Also, take note of any damaged property that you’ve been forced to throw out. If you go to court, this evidence is used to determine your compensation value.
First, your solicitor will review your situation and decide if they’d like to represent you. Usually, they’ll do this on a No Win, No Fee basis if they’re confident your claim will be successful. The more evidence you can provide, the more likely your case will be accepted.
Next, your solicitor will contact your landlord to let them know that you’re taking action. For some landlords, that’s enough. Not wanting to go to court, your landlord might suddenly find the time to arrange the repairs they’ve been delaying. If your repairs are carried out at the solicitor’s request, your case can be closed straight away.
If your landlord doesn’t act after hearing from your solicitor, you’ll be able to take them to court. The court will consider all your evidence, then hear your landlord’s side of the story.
Eventually, the court will make a decision. You might be awarded financial compensation to make amends for any losses you’ve suffered. Alternatively, or in addition to financial compensation, your landlord is likely to be forced to act to make those much-needed repairs.
Typically, compensation claims of this type take roughly 6-12 months. Things will happen slightly quicker if your landlord decides to cooperate, though your case might take longer if you've been injured or left with long-term illness because of the poor state of your home.
Compensation for a serious injury could be upwards of £10,000, though most compensation pay-outs of this type come to a total of £1k to £10k.
You might be paid for the inconvenience, loss of income, and any illness or injury. If damaged belongings are involved in the calculation, you'll receive their current value if they're sold second-hand. You don't get the original value of your purchase or the cost of a brand-new item, but the money you'll need to replace like-for-like, which may not be very much at all.
The goal of compensation payment is to offer financial amends for the losses you've suffered, but not to leave you in a better position than you'd otherwise have been in.
Your tenancy agreement still stands. If your landlord's no longer happy to have you as a tenant, they must still follow the agreement in place if they decide to end your tenancy. You can't be suddenly kicked out, so you'll still have time to find somewhere new if you need to.
You might decide that you no longer want to live in the home that you're in. Again, you must follow the terms of your tenancy agreement if you plan to move out.
Often, after claiming compensation, there's some friction between the landlord and their tenants that could take some time to resolve. As long as you continue to be respectful and pay your rent on time each month, there's no reason that this relationship can't be repaired or improved. You might find that your situation improves because your landlord's aware that you will take action if they fall behind on future maintenance.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading homes in disrepair independent solicitors. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent solicitor means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these solicitors, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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