If you’ve reported any repairs to your landlord, but they’ve done nothing or done anything, you might be contemplating having them appear in the court.
Court actions can be expensive and time-consuming, and is best used as an option last resort. This page provides more information about the process, the evidence you’ll need, as well as what the court can do to decide.
If you need to decide to take legal action
Before deciding whether to bring your landlord to court over the lack of repairs, you must:
Make sure that your landlord is accountable for repairs
Make sure you’ve reported the issue (at at the very least at least once) and that you’ve given your landlord enough time to complete the task.
Consider whether you’re in danger of being evicted if you’re a private rental tenant.
consider if you’ve tried different options to solve the issue first.
take a look at the evidence you have to back your argument
Think about whether you could afford court proceedings even if you’re not able to assistance with the legal fees.
If you believe that court action might be an option then you’ll need the advice of a specialist advisor or a lawyer.
Do you have the money to pay for the court route?
A court case could be costly. In the event of a high earnings and the case, you might be eligible to receive assistance with the legal costs through the legal aid program. Legal aid is only offered in cases of serious danger for you or the health of a family member’s safety.
If you aren’t eligible for legal aid , and your case could be handled before the Small Claims Court then you’ll only need to pay a fixed amount. Small claims is just one of three legal avenues your case could follow. These tracks are referred to as tracks. Other tracks include fast tracks and multi-track.
In the case of claims where the primary claim is compensation (damages) then the small claims limit of £10,000 is applicable. If the claim is accompanied by an request for an order for repairs, it will be placed in this track if the
The estimated damage is lower than £1,000 and
The estimated cost of repair is less than £1,000.
If the amount in question is likely to exceed £1,000 the court will typically transfer the case to the speedy track.
If you aren’t eligible in the legal assistance program, examine the policies of your insurance company or any credit card contracts you’ve signed in case they include legal expense insurance. Trade unions could also offer legal counsel on other matters beyond work-related matters.
Some housing disrepair solicitors might also offer ‘no-win or fee’ contracts to help fund repairs.
What can the court do?
The court may order your landlord complete the repairs by requesting:
an order , also known as an order for performance specific, or
An injunction is also known as a mandatory injunction.
A court has also the ability to issue a ruling that you may complete repairs yourself and then deduct the expense from your future rent.
If your landlord fails to complete the repairs stipulated in the order or the injunction they could be penalized or fined.
The court is also able to give damages, or compensation. Damages place you back in the same financial situation you would be in if your landlord done the repairs that they should have. You can get damages if:
you’ve been injured or sick or injured
Your belongings may have been damaged or damaged or destroyed
You’ve experienced inconvenience and are unable to access your home in the usual way.
Evidence to back your argument
Before you can take court action, you’ll require evidence and evidence to back your case. This includes:
an original copy of your lease agreement
copies of any correspondence between you your landlord.
photos of what is in need of repair
A list or photos of your belongings that are damaged or destroyed, as well as receipts in the event that you needed to replace damaged objects
medical reports, or medical appointments if you’ve been injured or became sick or injured.
Any evidence from an expert that you have like surveys from a surveyor, as well as an Environmental Health Officer.
If you’re eligible for Legal aid it could pay for certain professional reports. If you’re not eligible for legal aid, you’ll have to cover the cost of any report by yourself.
Protocols for pre-action
Before you can take court action, you need to adhere to a specific procedure referred to as the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Repair Cases , also known as the ‘Disrepair Procedure’.
If you do not adhere to this Disrepair Protocol the court might decide to deny your claim, and then tell that you must pay the landlord the amount they’ve paid for going to the court.
The Disrepair Protocol shows the court that you’ve worked to figure out the issue with your landlord prior to going to the court.
The Disrepair Protocol sets out specific rules and deadlines that must be followed beginning when the claim is initiated. It is designed to help both you along with your landlord work together to solve the issue without having appear in court.
The Disrepair Protocol suggests that you and your landlord think about the possibility of an alternate settlement of disputes (ADR) before deciding to go to court, for example mediation.
If you submit an official complaint through the internal complaints process of your landlord the court will look at it as an instance of ADR.
This Disrepair Protocol doesn’t apply to counterclaims. For instance the case where your landlord commences possession proceedings against you to collect rent arrears, and you contest the claim by asking the court to’set off your claim to compensation in the counterclaim against arrears.
Examine what you need to perform under the protocol.
You’ve probably already filed a claim and provided your landlord an appropriate amount of time to complete the work. If you didn’t, make sure you know what you can do to report the repairs.
According to the rules, you need to write to your landlord to let them know you’re contemplating the possibility of a court case. You should include as much detail as you can Use an example of a ‘Letter to Claim’ from the Ministry of Justice website.
Your landlord has 20 days to reply to your request. If the response isn’t satisfying or the issue hasn’t been addressed, you can file a complaint to the county court.
If you’ve made a formal complaint about your landlord
Your landlord has to investigate your complaint regardless of whether you’ve already started your Disrepair Protocol. If you initiate legal proceedings, the internal complaints process must end.
Legal legal proceedings begin when you file an application request form. You must pay the appropriate amount to the court.
If you haven’t yet initiated legal proceedings, and your landlord refuses to examine any complaint made by you, you may file a second complaint. Bring them the Housing Ombudsman’s guideline on the disrepair protocol.
If your landlord is still refusing to look into your issue, then you may make a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman.
Personal Injury procedure
There’s also a particular procedure to follow in the event that you choose to bring an claims against your landlord for the reason that they did not fix the problem. This is known as”the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims.
The time limit for taking court action
In the majority of cases you will need to file legal action within six years. If the case is brought by your landlord’s failure to meet the conditions in your lease agreement,, it is known as violation of contract. In this situation the six years start when you inform your landlord about a situation they need to fix and they do nothing to fix it within an acceptable time.
If the court case is caused by infractions or negligence the period of six years begins when property damage or injury occurred.
In the case of personal injuries the limitation for time is three years following the day of accident.