What is housing disrepair?

Housing disrepair applies to any rented property that is in an unsuitable living condition and covers an extensive range of issues.

Housing disrepair is every tenant’s worst nightmare. Nobody should have to accept poor living conditions, but this is the reality for many families across the UK.

Are you living in rental housing but feel like your accommodation isn’t fit for purpose? If your home has severe damages, signs of deterioration or faulty appliances that your landlord or housing association won’t fix, you may have the right to claim.

Whilst initially, some of these problems may seem like a minor inconvenience, if they were to escalate further due to negligence they can pose great risks to yourself and your family.

Despite common misconceptions, tenants do have rights, in the same way that landlords, local authorities and housing associations do have responsibilities.

However, housing disrepair is often used as a blanket term to describe many different issues so we’re here to help answer all of your questions and offer our expert legal advice to any tenant finding themselves stuck in this daunting situation.

Understanding housing disrepair

Any rented property is considered to be in a state of disrepair if it requires certain maintenance or repairs that are preventing it from being safe and suitable for occupation.

Landlords, housing associations and local authorities are required, by law, to ensure that all of their properties are safe for human habitation and therefore kept in a state of repair. All tenants have the legal right to suitable living conditions that aren’t plagued by damp, leaks, infestations, faulty electrics or similar issues.

As the landlord is obliged to rectify these types of problems, if any rented accommodation is compromising a tenant’s health and safety with no plans for the landlord to resolve the issue, that puts it into a state of disrepair.

Naturally, this causes a great deal of stress and frustration for the tenant and it can often feel like there’s no end in sight. Whilst it’s not a situation that any tenant wants to find themselves in, it’s sadly more common than you might think.

Fortunately, there is help available. Filing a housing disrepair claim can soon have tenants on their way to getting their rightful repairs and recovering compensation for the inconvenience caused. Claims can be made against a broad range of disrepair issues, regardless of whether you’re renting off a landlord, housing association or local authority.

house in state of disrepair

Types of issues considered as housing disrepair

Housing disrepair can encompass a wide range of issues within a rental property, and it’s not limited to just physical deterioration or damage.

Some of the main types of housing disrepair include:

Heating problems 

As we approach winter it becomes all too apparent just how much we require adequate heating and insulation. Unfortunately, we see too often tenants who have been left to live in cold homes with no hot water.

All tenants have the right to a warm home with access to hot water and heating, and it’s the landlord or housing association’s responsibility to provide this. A lack of these facilities is not only uncomfortable but it can make the home almost uninhabitable, and leave tenants more susceptible to illnesses.

Damp and mould

It goes without saying that as a tenant, you have the right to live in a mould-free environment. Not only are damp and mould unpleasant, but they can pose serious health risks for any tenant living amongst them.

Living amongst damp and mould for prolonged periods of time can increase or cause allergies, exacerbate existing respiratory issues such as asthma and lead to a weakened immune system.

These issues often result from water leaks, poor ventilation or inadequate ventilation and it’s the landlord’s duty to rectify them as soon as possible.

living with damp and mould

Structural disrepair

Problems with the structure of the property cover a wide range of issues such as broken windows, a leaking roof, rotten floors and cracked walls. 

All of the above and similar aren’t just unsightly, they can make the property unsafe and unlivable especially if they progress and create further damage.

Electrical issues

Any type of electrical fault or issue can lead to devastating consequences. In fact, 53.4% of all domestic fires in the UK are caused by faulty electrics. With such a staggering figure, it’s concerning how many landlords still allow their tenants to live in unsafe conditions.

Faulty wiring, exposed wires or non-functional electrical outlets can pose serious safety hazards. Sockets and wiring can wear and loosen over time, before eventually breaking and causing fires. Landlords have a duty to ensure that all electrics are maintained and inspected by a registered electrician.

There are a whole host of other issues that fall under the umbrella term of housing disrepair, but essentially it all boils down to any problem within your property that is preventing you from living to an acceptable standard or threatening your health.

If you’re experiencing any of the above housing disrepair issues and have raised them with your landlord or housing association yet they’re not taking action on your concerns, you’re well within your rights to take legal action.

faulty electrical socket in a rented property

Starting the claim process

With so many lines of miscommunication and misinformation surrounding rental agreements and landlord vs tenant issues, it can often be difficult to know if you have any rights in a housing disrepair situation.

At FDM Solicitors, we’re here to fight your case. Nobody should have to accept poor living conditions, and we’ve worked with thousands of clients in the UK who lived in unsuitable housing for months, unaware that they had the right to claim. 

If you’re currently residing in social or council housing and these issues resonate with you, our housing disrepair claims solicitors can help. Our dedicated team will fight to get your repairs carried out within a reasonable timescale, and help you get some compensation for your inconvenience in the process.

You’re eligible to make a claim if you’ve been living in disrepair for months and have complained to your landlord to no avail. We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis and there are absolutely no upfront payments needed. Start your housing disrepair claim today.

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