We are often asked by clients how much compensation they will receive if their claim succeeds.
Unlike personal injury claims, where the Judicial College Guidelines serve as a guide, there is no such tool in housing disrepair claims.
General Damages / Compensation
General damages are more commonly referred to as compensation. They serve to compensate the tenant for the inconvenience, discomfort and distressed caused to them through their landlord’s breach of their repairing obligations.
The most commonly used method of assessing damages is as a reduction in the rental value of the property.
Take a property was comprised of 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 living room and 1 kitchen. If it was let for £100 per week and the disrepair complained of materially affected 1 of the bedrooms, the bathroom and the living room, it would affect 50% of the rooms. Using a very simplistic approach, that would mean the compensation would be £50 per week, being half of the £100 per week rent.
This is paid for the period from when a reasonable landlord would have completed the repairs to the date the landlord of our client did so.
If, in this example, the landlord undertook the repairs 50 weeks after they should have, the tenant would receive compensation of £2,500.
Special damages can be considered your out of pocket expenses. You are entitled to recover any money that you have paid as a result of the problems for which your landlord was responsible.
There is no finite list of these, but you must be able to prove your loss and so receipts should always be kept.
Examples of Special Damages in Housing Disrepair Claims
- Cleaning costs;
- Loss of earnings (such as if you have had to take time off work to meet the landlord’s agents and they have not attended the appointment);
- Additional heating costs or the costs of a dehumidifier when trying to dry out the property;
- The cost of alternative accommodation if your property was uninhabitable for any time;
- The cost of repair, cleaning and redecoration (provided these are costs incurred personally and the work was not undertaken at the landlord’s expense);
- Travel costs;
- Medical costs; or
- The cost of dining out (such as if food storage or cooking facilities have been damaged).