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Housing Disrepair Success Stories – Home Unfit for Human Habitation Due to Damp & Water Penetration

The Housing Law team at Hodge Jones & Allen have been passionately defending the rights of tenants since 1977. We understand how your life can be turned upside down when a landlord refuses to make repairs to your home.

In our weekly Housing Disrepair Success Stories blog series, we share the details of some of our successful settlements to show tenants that help to is available to ensure you have a safe home to call your own – we’re also often able to secure compensation. In this week’s case study, we look back at a case that involved serious disrepair that hadn’t been repaired for over 2 and a half years, where Farzana Chowdhury was able to secure a positive result for her client.

Damp & water penetration

Farzana’s client, Miss A, was a housing association tenant living with her 2 young children in a one bedroom flat. She suffered from serious health problems as a result of which she frequently required the use of a wheelchair and was dependent on carers for her day to day needs.

The property suffered from disrepair including damp, water penetration, damaged plaster work and damage to internal decorations due to the water penetration. Miss A had reported the disrepair on numerous occasions however effective works had not been carried out.

We determined that Miss A’s landlord was in breach of their repairing obligations under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and in breach of the duty of care under s4 defective Premises Act 1972. The property was not reasonably suitable for occupation and thus unfit for human habitation under s10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. The premises also failed to meet hazard standards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

We obtained an independent surveyor’s report which was sent to the landlord. The landlord proposed to carry out works with our client in occupation of the property. We argued that, due to our client’s disabilities, she and her young children could not remain in occupation of the property whilst works were being carried out. The landlord agreed to provide temporary accommodation.

Overcrowding & disability discrimination

Given that Farzana’s client’s existing home was unsuitable due to being overcrowded and due to the ongoing disrepair, our client requested to be permanently re-accommodated in property that was suitable for the needs of her children and her own needs.

The landlord refused this on the basis that their allocations policy did not require them to permanently re-accommodate a tenant if repair works were to take less than 12 weeks. However, we argued that the allocations policy failed to take into account our client’s disabilities and therefore was disability discrimination.

The landlord then agreed to award our client additional housing points, as a result of which she was successfully able to bid for a three bedroom house. The disrepair claim was subsequently settled on the basis that our client receives damages in the sum of £5,000 together with payment of their legal costs.

Farzana Chowdhury is a Partner in our leading Housing Team, who are ranked tier 1 by both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK legal directories. Farzana’s own specialist housing skills and expertise are also recognised by the two leading legal directories. Farzana has earned a reputation for taking on more complex housing cases and gaining excellent results for her clients. If you’d like to talk to our Housing team about an issue with your home, call us today on 0808 252 5231 or request a call back.