Arun Associates Blog

Your Guide to Handling Housing Disrepair Matters in the UK

Don’t think housing disrepair matters in the UK need to be taken seriously?

Hold. Picture this: you have signed up to a new tenancy agreement and moved into a gorgeous flat. Even the rent is affordable!

You think you’ve sealed a pretty great deal until you move in and notice that the kitchen smells like old socks!

Of course, you’d immediately report the issue to the landlord and expect them to fix it ASAP.

But what if they fail to do so despite promising you in the first place?

Can they get away with it?

Is complaining about the issue all that you can do?

Absolutely not! You reserve the right to ask for a repair and even a compensation cost if the property is not exactly what the landlord promised you before the tenancy agreement was signed upon.

Yes, housing disrepair matters in the UK are a very serious legal matter. As experienced Chartered Surveyors, Arun Associates can help you walk through the whole process!

First Off, What Is Housing Disrepair?

Housing disrepair refers to a property that needs to be repaired for it to be considered as safe and suitable for people to live in.

If a landlord fails to address a tenant’s concerns and doesn’t take necessary steps for the repair of the property within a reasonable period of time, the tenant may consider it as housing disrepair.

So, what exactly can be done?

The tenant can bring a housing disrepair claim against the landlord. Following a successful claim, the court will order the landlord to carry out the repair.

In some cases, the tenants can also request a compensatory amount from the landlord because of any possible accident, damage, or inconvenience that they might have faced because of it.

Which Hazards Qualify as Housing Disrepair?

A number of residential property issues may be counted as housing disrepair. The most common ones include:

  • A compromised gas, water, or electricity supply
  • A faulty boiler or heating system
  • A damaged toilet, bath, sink, or shower
  • Broken or inefficient guttering, drainage, or downpipes
  • Vegetation build-up in the gutter system
  • Unsafe flooring
  • Broken or dangerous staircase
  • Damp issues caused by penetrating or rising damp
  • Mould issues
  • Rodent infestations
  • Damaged or defective brickwork, posing a risk of damp and leaks

What Does the Law Say about Housing Disrepair Matters in the UK?

The UK law holds landlords responsible for the repair of any of the aforementioned damages in a residential property.

1. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 uses a certain term in the tenancy agreement that implies that the landlord is responsible for certain housing repairs. Whether the agreement is in writing form or oral, the tenants reserve the right to report and make a claim.

This section also talks about the rule that landlords should ensure the satisfactory condition of the structure and exterior of the property, including that of the roof, walls, windows, drains, external pipes, gutters, and doors. Other repairs that they’re held responsible for include:

  • Leaks and any damage in sinks, baths, toilets, and their pipework
  • Problems in water and gas pipes, boilers, gas fires, water tanks, electrical wiring, radiators, and fitted heaters or electrical fires

In the light of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords can neither contract out of these obligations nor pass on the cost of these repairs to someone else.

2. The New Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2019

This act is essentially an amendment of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which offers more protection for tenants in housing disrepair matters in the UK.

It states that it is compulsory for tenancy agreements to state that the property is suitable for human use at the time of granting. Moreover, the property should remain fit for human living during the entire period of the tenancy.

This law doesn’t put landlords to a disadvantage either. It obliges the tenants to not breach the agreement and implies that any damage they make to the property will solely be their responsibility.

3. Health and Safety Standards for Rented Homes

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a tool that evaluates potential hazards in a residential property. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 that presents necessary guidelines for landlords to follow as a part of the tenancy agreement.

It allows tenants to get their property inspected for any damage that may need repair. A notice is sent to the landlord by the council to ask them to carry out the required repairs. The council may at times take care of the repair itself and charge the landlord for it. It also allows tenants to take the landlord to the court.

6 Steps Tenants Should Take

As soon as you identify housing disrepair in the rented property, you should follow the following steps:

1. Report the Problem

Tenants need to report housing disrepair to the landlord either in written form or via a telephone call ASAP.

Tenants should clearly specify the date along with required details of the issue to hammer the point home. It’s important to keep a copy of the written documents sent and the phone calls made to the landlord as evidence.

2. Your Health and Safety Comes First

In case, you or any of your family members have suffered an illness or injury because of the housing disrepair, you should consider obtaining medical advice.

3. Collect Evidence

Taking pictures of the damage will make it easier to highlight the problem and it’ll also serve as evidence.

In case you end up taking care of a repair yourself or if you replace any damaged goods, don’t forget to keep its receipt somewhere safe.

Also, make sure all the emails sent by the landlord are in response to your notice are kept safe.

4. Keep an Eye on the Housing Disrepair

When you spot a defect in the property, take a close look at it. Note down how bad it looks and even after reporting it to the landlord, keep checking for any signs of it getting worse.

In addition to this, you should also consider getting in touch with expert witness surveyors for housing disrepair. This will help you stay on top of the issue throughout.

5. Note Any Efforts Made by the Landlord

It’s important to make a note of any efforts or attempts the landlord makes to repair the housing disrepair.

6. Get Help

If the landlord fails to make the repairs within a reasonable period of time, don’t hesitate to contact us for some initial free advice.

Handling housing disrepairs in the UK becomes so much easier when an experienced company of Chartered Surveyors is looking out for you. Arun Associates is an established company of Chartered Surveyors and property consultants that has years of experience of helping clients deal with housing disrepair issues in London. From conducting property inspections and surveys to guiding you on housing disrepair matters, they will help you!

If your landlord is refusing to carry out their repairing obligations, don’t worry! Get in touch with experts at Arun Associates today and let them find a solution for you!

Note: Whilst every care has been taken in preparing this text and guidance note, which has been prepared and issued in good faith, Arun Associates cannot accept responsibility for third parties relying on the above content and who suffers loss, damage, or consequential loss arising from such reliance. Each case is different and the text should not be taken out of context. If in doubt please refer to the actual legislation wording. Case-Law can also provide a more detailed interpretation of the Law.

Arun Associates are willing to discuss your specific situation or problem in the area of housing disrepair and have appropriate Professional Indemnity insurance in place. We would be happy to discuss your needs at no obligation so feel free to contact us.