Moving into a new home requires heaps of energy and organisational skills. Preparations from packing your belongings to transporting everything can be a logistical nightmare if you did not plan very well. Before you even leave your old place, consider asking your new landlords for an inventory of everything that is in the home, including issues and repairs that are being done. Getting such information is one of your tenant rights.
On your arrival, walk through the property with your landlord and have them show you the whole property so you can check against the inventory they presented. This list will serve as your reference throughout your tenure in case you need to check whether that crack on the wall that you just saw was already there when you moved in.
You will need to document each disrepair issue that you find in your home if you did not have the chance to do the inventory check before moving in. Your landlord will surely appreciate it if you report the issues to them politely and in writing. The landlord-tenant relationship flourishes when each one fully understands the tenancy agreement and faithfully follows it.
Reporting to your landlords
Cracks in the walls can be signs of normal wear and tear. A leaking roof can be caused by a flawed roof structure. A toilet that is not working may have happened during your tenure, but it could be the result of a clogged sewer system in the property.
The law requires landlords to ensure the health and safety of their tenants. This includes addressing disrepair in your home such as gas leaks, faulty wiring, damp, mould, and infestations. Report such cases of disrepair to your landlord by writing them an email or sending a text message. Take photographs and videos of the degree of disrepair to document each day (especially if it’s showing signs of continued degradation). If emergency repairs have to be done, provide the proprietor with copies of receipts.
If your landlords will not take responsibility
Give your landlord 21 days to respond to your letters. It usually takes this much time to obtain quotes and coordinate the repairs. However, if your landlord is ignoring repair requests completely, inform them in writing that you will report your case to the Housing Standards team or seek the assistance of housing disrepair experts. It is your duty to inform them that you are considering filing disrepair compensation claims.
While it is not always advisable, you may also suggest organising the repairs yourself and provide your landlords with a canvass sheet, informing them about projected repair costs. Ask if you can deduct the cost from your rent. However, do not withhold your rental payment because of this. You can send the receipts to them with a letter requesting for a refund of your expenses.
Always put everything in writing. In case your landlord does not respond to your request for a refund, write them again to inform them that you are indeed deducting the cost from your rent. A caveat: if you rent privately, this could drive your landlord to serve you a Section 21 eviction notice if they do not agree with your decision to touch your rental payment.
If you take legal action
It is not wise to cancel your tenancy and leave as your landlord can sue you for owing them rent up to the end of your tenancy agreement. Instead, take the matter up with your council so they can deal with your landlord directly. They will inspect your rented home and order your landlord to carry on with the repairs as deemed necessary.
You may also lodge a housing disrepair claim through a team of solicitors or experts who can help you exercise your tenant rights against your landlords. You can file for housing disrepair compensation and get back what you lost financially.
Disrepair compensation claims can refund you 100% of all your expenses if your rented home is uninhabitable. You can also sue for personal injury if the disrepair affected your health. The amount you get is dependent on the extent of your injury or illness. If your landlord has affected your mental health, this could be included in your claim, although you will need to present additional evidence.
Disrepairclaim.co.uk is more than equipped to handle your disrepair compensation claims. Get in touch to find out if you are eligible to claim so that you can get back what was unjustly taken from you.