Call us today on 01253 858231

Housing Disrepair Case Study: Contaminated Water

by Jane Willacey

We were instructed in May 2021 by Mr H from North London who had been experiencing ongoing leaks within his council flat since December 2020. We took his case on under a ’No Win No Fee’ agreement.

Our client noticed water coming through the light fittings in his bathroom and hallway on 23rd December 2020, this was reported to the council on the emergency line and a work man attended, our client was told that there wasn’t anything that can be done that evening but the lights were safe to use.

On 24th December 2020 our client again reported to the council that the leaks were still active and were causing a considerable amount of damage to the ceiling and floors, however they did not send anybody out to inspect the issue.

Our client contacted the council multiple times via telephone and email over the next few months to no avail and by March 2021 the plasterwork on the ceilings and walls was starting to crumble, the floors were saturated and black mould was starting to form.

The council made no attempt to investigate or repair the leak therefore we took our clients instruction and gathered evidence of the correspondence between our clients and the council plus copies of the tenancy and appointed an expert surveyor to assess the property and report his findings.

Our expert surveyor reported that some of the main issues were but not limited to bulging and damage to ceilings, plasterwork, skirting boards and flooring, damp and black mould caused by numerous untreated leaks with contaminated water ingress originating from a broken waste pipe in the flat above.

We sent a detailed letter of claim to the freeholder setting out that they were in breach of express and implied terms of tenancy and/or breach of their statutory and common law duties by not adhering to the clauses outlined in the tenancy regarding the council’s responsibility for the maintenance and repairs of the structural integrity of the building.

We received a response from the councils solicitors who let us know that they had instructed their own surveyor to assess the property. The survey went ahead as planned and the other party’s expert agreed with our expert surveyor on all counts of disrepair.

We made an offer to settle out of court but our offer was rejected therefore we continued to prepare for a trial. A matter of weeks before the trial date the councils’ solicitors came back to us with an initial offer, we refused this offer as it was deemed below par but after a few more days of negotiations our client accepted a part 36 offer of £2,300 in damages with all repairs to be completed within 60 days and all legal fees covered by the other side.

Our client’s had up until the point of instruction lived with damp and mould for months and whilst getting their home returned to the state it should have been in was the priority the compensation that our client received for his stress and frustration came a close second.

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