Temporary repairs are not good enough for people’s homes

A recent legal decision, relating to Manchester’s Beetham Tower, the tallest building in Manchester, could mean that tenants all over the country, whose landlords try to fob them off with temporary or partial repairs to their homes, could potentially challenge this and demand that full repairs be carried out.

The case relates to faulty windows in Beetham Tower in Manchester, which was built in 2006 by construction firm Carillion, who have since gone bust. The owner (freeholder) of the building has been ordered to cover the costs of fixing faulty glazing, which was a problem first discovered in 2014. The sealant used to bond glass panels to their frame started failing, which could have resulted in glass falling out.

When the problem first came to light in 2014, Carillion fitted a temporary fix, in the form of pressure plates, and that is how the windows remained until the case came to court in February 2019. The court was unimpressed that the temporary fix to the windows was still in place, whilst no plan for permanent repairs had been made in the interim. Along with safety concerns, one of the points raised in court was that the temporary repairs affected the aesthetics of the building.

Whilst patch or interim repairs are not unusual for landlords and property owners to make whilst they put in place a plan for permanent and full fixes, in this case, the court decided that consideration has to be given to the projected lifespan of the temporary repairs (three years for the pressure plates) and the way the temporary repair looks. If the interim fix falls short on these fronts, it could be considered that the property is still in disrepair.

This could be an important ruling for tenants across the UK who have landlords that have failed to carry out full repairs on their homes. If a temporary fix is in place for a long period of time, with no sign of a permanent repair being made, or if the temporary fix seriously compromises the way that the property looks, it may not be sufficient to say that the issue has been repaired at all.

If you have reported a repair to your landlord that you don’t feel they are taking seriously, or they have only made a temporary fix that has a negative impact on the safety or look of your home, it may be possible to make a claim against them. A successful claim could result in the landlord being ordered by a court to carry out the repair works in full, and you may also be due some compensation, depending on the circumstances. For more information or a free claim assessment, contact CEL Solicitors on 0808 281 2660