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Housing Disrepair And Legal Action

Nov 24, 2007
Are you living in a damp house with jobs that need doing? Is the landlord not interested in doing the work because it is too expensive? Then read on.... It is likely that you have phoned the landlord and even wrote to him and you are getting nowhere?

Before taking action - steps to follow

Before taking any action on repairs, you need to work out your housing status. This is because, unless you have security of tenure, the risk of losing the accommodation may outweigh the advantages of taking action, and the course of action will depend on the level of security of tenure.

Check your tenancy agreement

If you have a written agreement, check it to see who it says has responsibility for the repair. Remember that the tenancy agreement cannot take away statutory rights and obligations.

Notify the landlord

If the landlord is responsible for doing the repairs, you must first make sure that you give the landlord reasonable notice that the repair is needed. You should put this request in writing and keep a copy.

Collect evidence of the disrepair

You should make a written description of the disrepair and collect the following evidence:-

proof of when the landlord was notified of the problem, for example, a copy of a letter, photographs, expert evidence, for example, from surveyors or environmental health officers medical reports, if the disrepair is affecting the health (including stress) of the tenant details of any costs incurred as a result of the disrepair. You will need detailed evidence.

Consider the options for action

Negotiating with the landlord If possible, you should first negotiate with the landlord to try to get her/him to undertake the repair in accordance with her/his responsibilities.

Alternatively, you could pay for and undertake the work yourself, if the landlord agrees. Protected tenants and local authority and registered social landlords tenants have the right to carry out improvements themselves, with their landlords written consent. Local authority tenants have a right to compensation for improvements they carry out themselves. Assured and assured shorthold tenants have a right to make disability-related improvements with their landlords consent.

If the local authority is the landlord, it may be worth checking whether the authority has included the work within its planned maintenance programme and intends to carry it out in the near future.

If negotiation fails If negotiation fails, you could take one or more of the following courses of action:-

use the rent to pay for repairs. Remember that this is a risky course of action, unless the correct procedure is carefully followed. You must not simply withhold rent take court action yourself against your landlord get the local authority to take action if you are a tenant of a local authority or of a registered social landlord, you can claim compensation under the right to repair scheme contact an ombudsman if the problem relates to electricity, gas or fire safety, contact the appropriate body consider eligibility for a housing grant, loan or other type of assistance for repairs or improvements.
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