Since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented lockdown measures introduced by the government, many tenants have contacted our Housing Team as they find that they are not been able to get repair works carried out to their home. This has been particularly difficult, over the last few months, as we have all had to spend nearly all our time at home and so the inconvenience and distress caused by the disrepair will be more noticeable for tenants and cause increased aggravation.
Government guidance for tenants
The guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirms that tenants should have a decent, warm and safe place to live. However, we have seen many tenants being left in conditions where they are experiencing serious disrepair including
- water penetration
- lack of heating and hot water
- defective electrics
- structural faults and even collapsed ceilings
Many landlords have chosen to reply to their tenants that they are unable to carry out the necessary repairs to their home. Sadly, this has included residents that are disabled or vulnerable, residents that are elderly and those with young children.
On 18th May 2020, a letter was sent to all social housing residents from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government advising that, ‘as we start to ease lockdown measures, landlords should be able to carry out routine as well as essential repairs for most households’.
We are now in August 2020 with considerable easing of lockdown measures over the past couple of months however we find that even urgent works remain outstanding.
Whilst the majority of tenants appreciate that there will of course need to be prioritising of repair works by their landlords, many are struggling to cope with the continued disrepair, particularly where the defects had often pre-dated the pandemic and had been outstanding for many months or years.
The risk is that, if landlords continue to delay and not carry out the required works, this will result in unnecessary litigation at a time where the courts will already be facing a huge backlog due to stays on many existing claims in the county courts.
Negotiations with your landlord regarding disrepairs
Where landlords are reasonable, negotiations can take place and extended timeframes can be agreed to ensure works are carried out however, where landlords simply fail to respond and carry out works, tenant’s rights must be protected and litigation will be the only viable option.
Our Housing team are dealing with disrepair matters every day to ensure tenants are clear about their rights and the legal action they need to take to ensure that their homes are safe and habitable for their families. If you would like to speak with one of our housing solicitors please call 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.