Housing Disrepair Explained
What amounts to Disrepair?
Disrepair is not a straightforward word to interpret and, as with most legal definitions, it will depend on each individual situation and will be open to interpretation.
If legal professionals can’t even give a clear interpretation then how is a lay person supposed to know whether the problems they have in their home amounts to disrepair or not?
Generally speaking, it should be fairly easy to distinguish those problems that the Landlord is responsible for keeping in repair. The Landlord is responsible for keeping those items that form part of the structure or exterior of the property in good repair.
The more obvious problems include:
· Penetrating or rising damp (damp patches wet to touch or damp staining normally seen on the walls)
· Leaking roof or guttering
· Holes in the walls, floor or ceiling
· Installations that are not working, including; basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, water or gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, and other space heating installations such as vents for under-floor heating
· Peeling plasterwork
· Broken Bannisters or stairs
· Overflowing guttering or drains
There are other instances where it is not always clear if the disrepair is the Landlords responsibility as the cause may be due to the way in which you or others are using the Property or the building. This could include:
· Mice Infestation
· Blocked drains
· A leak from a neighbouring property
Sometimes, it can be difficult to ascertain whether the problems are the Landlords responsibility or not and in order to check this it may be necessary to instruct an expert surveyor to inspect the property. We take instructions in housing disrepair cases and have access to expert surveyors in Notting Hill, Kensington, Bayswater Putney, Kentish Town, Camden, Finchley Central, Whetstone and Barnet generally. A surveyors report will usually confirm the cause of the problems and this may help to ascertain whose responsibility it is to carry out the necessary repairs.
Where the repairs are the responsibility of the Landlord then they are obliged to carry out repairs to the property within a reasonable period of time. This period is triggered from the date that you notify your Landlord of the disrepair. You should notify the Landlord in writing wherever possible (email notification could also be relied upon) as you may need to prove the date of notification at a later date and this will impact on the level of compensation you could claim.
If you think you have disrepair in your home but are not sure then speak to one of our housing solicitors who will be able to advise you as to whether you have a claim. Oliver Fisher Housing Disrepair Solicitors specialise in a variety of social housing matter, please contact us for further details.
By Sharenjit Kaur, Solicitor, 12th April 2017.