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Housing Disrepair: Six Years of Active Leaks- Case Study Eight

by Jane Willacey

We were instructed in December 2021 by Mrs A from Croydon who had been experiencing ongoing disrepair within her council flat since the winter of 2015. We took her case on under a ’No Win No Fee’ agreement.

In November 2015 our client noticed damp, water staining and mould growth on her bedroom ceiling. This was reported this to the council who sent contractors to the property. Our client was informed that the contractors believed the leak to of come from the above property and that repairs had been successful, however after just a few weeks there was evidence that the leak had reoccurred.

In the spring of 2017 and after multiple complaints contractors were sent to the property, they again told our client that they had identified the source of the leak and repairs had been made, however the contractors left our client with a large hole in the ceiling plus the leak and mould growth not only continued but also started to spread to other rooms in her property.

The council sent contractors back to the property time and time again however the result was always the same and by the end of 2020 our clients property was covered in mould and damp which was so bad that she couldn’t have curtains or blinds up at any of her windows as they would become saturated and consumed by the mould within days.

By the end of 2021 our client was at her wits end, she had endured six years of damp and mould which was having a negative impact on both her physical and mental wellbeing.

Once we were instructed, 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 by not adhering to the clauses outlined in the tenancy regarding the council’s responsibility for the maintenance and repairs of the building and we instructed an expert surveyor to assess the disrepair.

The surveyor reported that some of the main issues were but not limited to a severely blocked hopper and an active leak originating from a water storage tank above the property.

We received an acknowledgement of the letter of claim from the councils’ solicitors and they instructed their own expert surveyor to assess the property, their surveyors report agreed with ours therefore we made a part 36 offer to settle out of court, this offer was rejected by the other party as the council stated that the first complaint record that they had from our client was in 2018 rather than 2015. This certainly was not the case, we gathered the client’s evidence including phone records, emails and paper trails going back over six years.

The other party after viewing our client’s evidence came back to us with a counteroffer which was a lot less than our valuation of the claim therefore, we rejected their offer and we entered negotiations, the other party eventually accepted our part 36 offer to settle of £9000.00 plus all repairs to be completed within 30 days and all legal costs recovered from the other side.

Our client up until the point of instruction had lived with an active leak, damp and mould for six years which had caused her much distress and frustration which had a negative impact on her physical health and mental health and whilst getting her home back to a livable state was the priority the compensation that our client received came a close second.

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