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Housing Disrepair Case Study: Collapsed Ceilings

by Jane Willacey

We were instructed by Mr B from The Midlands in the summer of 2021, he had been experiencing substantial disrepair issues within his council property since 2017.  Our client had tried and failed on numerous occasions to get the council to sufficiently repair his home therefore he contacted us and we took on his case under a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement to claim compensation and get his home repaired.

Rotten wooden window frames and blown seals were causing draughts, leaks, condensation, and black mould. Numerous calls and emails from our client to the council had resulted in the window frames being glossed over rather than being adequately repaired or replaced and whilst this caused our client great distress and inconvenience this was not the worst of the disrepair. A leak above the living room had been slowly making itself known and after numerous calls and emails to the council no less than three contractors attended the property for it to be reported on each occasion that they were “unable to find the cause of the leak” and “it’s just a slow drip” but of course a slow drip over time will eventually lead to a much bigger problem in the future and it eventually resulted in the living room ceiling collapsing.

The councils attempts to fix the clients property were few and far between and less than satisfactory which left our client with the stress and physical health implications of living in a constant state of disrepair.

Evidence of numerous phone calls, emails and letters to the council were supplied by the client along with a report from a reputable surveyor that confirmed that the level of disrepair within our client’s property was substantial.

We sent a detailed letter of claim to the council setting out that they were in breach of express and implied terms of tenancy and/or breach of their statutory and common law duties however they refused to accept liability or agree to do the repairs within a satisfactory time frame therefore we issued court proceedings.

The court ruled that the council was in breach of the terms of tenancy and the client was awarded compensation of £8,000 with all legal costs recovered from the other side. The living room ceiling was fixed and finished to a high standard with new windows fitted throughout within just a few weeks.

Our client had up until the point of instruction lived in a state of disrepair for a total of 1624 days and whilst the most important thing for the client’s health and well being was getting his home repaired the compensation for all the distress caused came a close second.

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