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Housing Disrepair: a 5 year leak & 7 year problem

by MJV&Co

There are some cases where Councils and Housing Associations are able to legitimately argue that they have acted reasonably, but this was not one of them. Our client endured an internal leak for 5 years before an internal ceiling collapsed. His landlord then failed to repair the resulting damage for another 2 years.

Internal leak 

In 2013, our client noticed that there was a wet patch forming on the ceiling of a downstairs toilet. He tried to clean it, but this did not work and so he reported it to his landlord.

They investigated and claimed that there was not a problem for which they were responsible.

The damp got worse and it became clear to our client that there was a leak coming from somewhere within the property. He reported this numerous times, but his landlord continued to deny liability.

In late 2018, the ceiling of the downstairs toilet collapsed. Our client reported this as an emergency and, five years after first reporting the problem and being told that it was not his landlord’s issue, the inspector undertook a proper investigation and concurred with our client. There was an internal leak and there had been for, at least, five years.

Work was undertaken and the leak was fixed.

Making Good

Following a repair, there is often damage. This can be to flooring, plaster and so forth. Repairing this resulting damage is known as ‘making good’ and what is required varies case by case.

In this matter, the ceiling in the downstairs toilet had collapsed and there was wider water damage to that room and the rooms around it. It fell under the landlord’s repairing obligations to make the damage good and to decorate.

Having repaired the leak, the landlord’s agent confirmed that someone would be back to make good. Having heard nothing for some time, our client called his landlord and asked that the work be undertaken as soon as possible. Unfortunately, nobody came.

Our client continued to report the problems he had been left with, but his landlord missed appointments to inspect the problem or failed to even agree to send someone.

Our Instructions

Our client contacted us for help and we agreed to bring his claim on a no win no fee basis.

We presented the claim to his landlord and they undertook an inspection. They admitted their breaches of their repairing obligations and agreed to undertake certain repairs. We advised our client that we were unhappy with what they were proposing and so we sent our own expert to carry out an inspection.

He agreed with our client. His landlord’s Schedule of Works was inadequate and he provided his own, which was far more comprehensive.

Following an exchange of views with his landlord, faced with the threat of court proceedings if they failed to agree to our proposal, they agreed to carry out our expert’s advised course of action. They completed those works, returning the client’s home to the condition it should always have been in.


We were able to settle the claim for £2,800. Despite the problem going on for around 7 years, the rent at the property was low.

For more information on how compensation is generally calculated, read our article on this subject:

The most important thing with any claim is ensuring that our client’s home is returned to a good condition. However, compensation for the inconvenience, distress and displeasure caused by an issue such as living with a collapsed ceiling, is a close second.