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Tenants throughout the UK are living in properties so squalid it can lead to serious health problems
Recently published government figures suggest that as many as 2.4 million people in England live in rented homes with Category 1 hazards. A Category 1 hazard is a hazard that poses a serious threat to the health or safety of people living in or visiting the home. Category 1 hazards include exposed wiring, a dangerous or broken boiler, bedrooms that are very cold, a leaking roof, mould on the walls or ceilings, rats or other pest , broken stairs and lack of security due to badly fitting external doors.
The English Housing Survey 2016-17, published last month, found that 4.7 million rented homes failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard. The same research found that about a million homes had problems with damp, half a million had problems with rising damp and a quarter of a million had problems with penetrating damp. These problems were generally found to have been caused by defective damp proof course, roof coverings, leaking gutters or down pipes.
Research carried out by Shelter found that 48 % of families in social housing who reported issues about unsafe or poor housing conditions feel ignored.
If a landlord fails to carry out repairs, which have been reported to them, within a reasonable period of time tenants may be entitled to compensation. The courts can also order the landlord to carry out the repairs.
Landlords have implied responsibilities in addition to those set out in the tenancy agreement. They must keep the exterior of the property including the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and doors in repair. They must also keep in repair basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework in repair along with water, gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires or fitted heaters.
Tenants living in properties which are in serious need of repair should seek specialist legal advice. CEL Solicitors have a specialist Housing Disrepair Team who can offer advice and assistance on a “no win no fee” basis.