Disrepair Information Sheet

Prepared by William Flack
Last Amended 26 May 2019

 

There are various laws which require landlords to carry out repair works to rented properties within a reasonable time. These include, Section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972, Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Housing Act 2004.  

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies into most residential tenancy agreements a requirement for landlords to carry out repair works which are necessary to keep the property in good repair when requested to do so. Where landlords fail to carry out repair works the tenancy can apply an Order in the County Court requiring the landlord to carry out the works which are needed to deal with the disrepair. The landlord can also be ordered to pay compensation to the tenant as well as their legal costs.

Legal Aid only covers applications to the County Court where an Order is needed for the landlord to carry out repair works to prevent damage to the health of the tenant's household and those repair works are likely to cost more than £1,000.00.  Legal Aid no longer covers compensation claims. If it is necessary to issue court proceedings I can include a claim for compensation for you but only if I enter into a separate agreement for you to instruct me as a private fee paying client to claim compensation. This could be a “no win no fee’ agreement under which you would not have to pay me yourself and I would only claim payment for the compensation claim if money was recovered from your landlord.  We can discuss this in due course if necessary.

Before legal proceedings can be issued a tenant complaining that their landlord has failed to carry out repair works needs to try and resolve the case using the Disrepair Pre Action Protocol. This requires the tenant the landlord notice of the intention to take legal action against them and given them time to carry out works unless these need to be carried on an emergency basis.

The first step in the protocol is that the landlord has to be sent a letter of claim setting out details of the disrepair. Then they have to be allowed 4 weeks to provide proposals for doing so. If they fail to do so then the tenant can instruct a surveyor to prepare a report and then issue Court proceedings if the landlord still does not carry out the necessary repair works. The process of complying with the protocol can delay the issue of proceedings for up some weeks. The protocol does not need to be followed where the the repair works need to be carried out urgently and there is a significant risk to health and safety. In these more urgent cases the tenant can obtain a surveyor’s report without waiting.

Once a surveyor’s report has been obtained the tenancy can apply for a Legal Funding Certificate to cover making a claim in the County Court for an Order requiring the landlord to carry out repair works. Once the legal aid certificate is in place, proceedings.