To claim for Housing Disrepair, you must consider the Ministry of Justice’s protocol for doing so, their guidelines help reduce the likelihood of you having to pursue a claim in court when it is unnecessary to do so.
Firstly, send your landlord an Early Notification Letter this should include a statement of your issues and your intentions to claim. It should contain the following pieces of information:
- The tenants name, the address of the property and contact details.
- Details of the defects and any defects outstanding.
- Any details of previous correspondence with the landlord regarding the grievance.
You should also request some paperwork from your landlord, including your tenancy agreement and documents relating to repair works on the property.
It may be the case that an Early Notification Letter prompts your landlord to act appropriately and you will not need to take the case any further. However, if action is not initiated your Early Notification Letter should be rapidly tailgated by a Letter of Claim.
In the Letter of Claim the Claimant will give details of the offending defects, including any defects outstanding, in the form of a schedule, if appropriate. They will also provide details of any notification previously given to the landlord of the need for repair or information as to why the tenant believes that the landlord has knowledge of the need for repair. Finally, the effect of the defects on the tenant will be given. This may include details of personal injury claims to be made, or which have been made against the landlord. It will also include details of any special damages – this relates to damage to specific items, such as clothing, furniture, or other personal belongings.
The landlord should reply within 20 working days of the receipt of the initial letter of correspondence, be this the Early Notification or the Letter of Claim itself, depending on the course of action you have chosen to take. If the landlord does reply, one must get the property by an expert within 20 working days of the receipt of the response and evidence of the defects must be collected. The claim process will begin from here onwards.
As with many cases nowadays, you may wish to pursue a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution such as negotiation or arbitration rather than pursuing a course involving traditional litigation. You may find as a tenant, this is less disruptive, as it is less legally aggressive. It also may save you money as in general these alternative resolution methods are more rapid than litigation.