Notice is often the point of dispute in a housing disrepair claim.
Part of the test to assess whether a potential client is likely to have a claim for housing disrepair is that their home is in a poor condition due to their landlord failing to undertake repairs that are their responsibility.
We will not go into this in any detail in this article as we will be writing in the near future on what s meant by disrepair and what type of issues typically fall under the landlord’s obligations.
The second part of the test is that the tenant has given their landlord sufficient notice. The disrepair or defect must be brought to their attention. If, having received notice of disrepair for which the landlord is responsible, they fail to carry out repairs within a reasonable time, you are likely to have a good claim for housing disrepair.
Without the notice, a landlord is likely to agree to undertake the repairs, but not compensate you for the inconvenience and distress their failure to act has caused.
Most of our clients report issues with disrepair by telephone. While many landlords are very good at keeping records and record any such reports, many do not.
We are often instructed by clients a few years after they say they first reported a particular problem and so they cannot give much information as to the date that the issue was reported. If there is no record within the evidence the landlord discloses to us, it is much more difficult for a claim to succeed as it is necessary for a tenant to give a landlord notice.
As such, we recommend, whether you are intending to bring a claim or not, you should always report any disrepair by e-mail. You will then have a written record of the date and time of each report as well as the contents of each complaint. You can refer back to this for years to come.
Nobody knows whether their landlord will act responsibly for if they will fail in their duty towards them. As such, you should always proceed cautiously.
It is not necessary for a tenant to report items of disrepair to the exterior of the property. These are discoverable without the landlord gaining entry to the property. However, where the external disrepair gives rise to internal problems (such as if there are issues with the pointing at the property allowing water to enter) then the issues affecting the inside must still be reported.
If there has been an inspection since an internal problem first showed, provide it was discoverable by the naked eye, the landlord can be considered to have constructive notice.
However, while a tenant may say that it was discoverable, landlords are likely to deny this and so deny that nootice has been served.
A claim for housing disrepair compensation cannot succeed unless a tenant can prove that notice was given to the landlord.
The damages you receive will be calculated based on the period from the date a reasonable landlord would have completed the repairs having received notice. More can be found on how compensation is calculated here: https://www.mjvlaw.co.uk/legal-news/housing-disrepair-compensation/
Just in case you ever need to bring such a claim, always report issues by e-mail and always save those e-mails. You will, hopefully, never need them, but you will be glad you followed this advice if you do.