Housing disrepair solicitors near me – defending against claims
Housing disrepair claims against landlords have been growing in frequency in the past few years. If you are facing this kind of claim, here is how our housing disrepair Solicitors Near Me can help you:
Landlords defending housing disrepair claims
Recently, landlords’ obligations have grown. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2019 has added to the existing requirements of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
There is also a growing trend of landlords needing to defend themselves against housing disrepair claims. Some of these may be linked to landlords unaware of their new responsibilities.
However, it has been suggested that others may be linked to the fact disrepair proceedings can be used to delay legitimate eviction processes. Especially when some housing disrepair solicitors offer a “no-win, no-fee” pricing structure for such cases.
Either way, understanding your property maintenance and repair responsibilities as a landlord – both those outlined in the law and in the tenancy agreement you had drawn up – is vital if you want to protect yourself against this kind of action.
What counts as housing disrepair?
Housing disrepair covers situations where a landlord has failed to live up to their responsibilities to maintain a rental property in good condition (as outlined by housing legislation) and it has fallen into a state of disrepair as a result. As a landlord, you are responsible for maintaining the property’s:
- Structure and exterior – this includes the gutters, external pipes, and drainage system as well as ensuring the property is in sound structural condition and that there are no loose tiles or the like.
- Water, gas, and electricity infrastructure – everything required to supply the property with these essentials, including sanitaryware like sinks, baths, and showers.
- Heating system – including both the systems for heating water and space.
- Integrity – this isn’t a legal term, but it neatly encapsulates the need to ensure a rental property is free from damp, mould, and leaks and that it has good ventilation.
- Pest-free status – it is usually the landlord’s responsibility to ensure any pest infestation is dealt with.
What repairs constitute housing disrepair?
No responsible landlord wants to have their tenants living in bad conditions. If a tenant notifies you of any problems with your property, the next step is to have their assertions assessed by a professional. The most common disrepair claims revolve around:
- Mould and damp
- Condensation caused by poor ventilation
- Missing or loose tiles in the roof causing leaks
- Problems with boilers or plumbing systems leading to no running hot water
- Vermin or insect infestations
As the landlord, all of these will generally fall within your area of responsibility. However, there may be occasions where you may believe that the actions (or inaction) of your tenant might be where the fault actually lies.
This sort of thing can be difficult to prove, making getting expert legal advice and possibly representation something to do sooner rather than later.
Who is responsible for disrepair in a property?
The party responsible for disrepair in a rental property will differ depending on the particular issue as well as the specifics listed in legal documents like lease and tenancy agreements:
- Landlords – as a rule, landlords should cover all the areas listed above. Namely, the structure and exterior, the water, gas, electricity, and heating systems, and ensure freedom from damp, mould, and pests.
- Tenants – the tenants’ responsibilities will usually be listed in the tenancy agreement. As a landlord, this is why it is so important to have your TA drawn up by a specialist housing solicitor.
- Joint responsibility – some areas of property maintenance and repair may fall jointly under the responsibility of the landlord and the tenant. Again, these tend to be listed in the tenancy agreement – or should be, in order to avoid disputes.
- Freeholders – in a leasehold property, your lease agreement should detail who is responsible for repairs to which parts of the property.
How housing disrepair solicitors work
If you are a landlord facing a housing disrepair claim, finding expert legal representation is vital if you believe the claim to be false or made in bad faith.
You can expect any housing disrepair solicitor you work with to want details about the specific issues, the tenancy agreement, and other relevant information – possibly photographs of the property itself.
Housing solicitors experienced in disrepair claims will be able to advise you as to your responsibilities and the next steps to take in any claims made against you.
Have us find you a friendly, approachable specialist near you for FREE and with no obligation. Simply reach out to us now on 0845 1391399 or complete a Free Online Enquiry.