Are you worried about reporting disrepair to your landlord?

If you live in a rented home, your landlord is legally responsible for many of the repairs and maintenance tasks that your property needs, especially when related to the structure of the building or permanent fittings and fixtures. Our Landlord vs Tenant responsibility tool has more information on who should be doing what, when it comes to your rented home.

What are revenge evictions?

However, some tenants may have heard horror stories about ‘revenge evictions’ and that puts them off from complaining to their landlord when repairs to their home are needed. A so-called revenge eviction is where a landlord serves their tenant with notice to leave the property (called a ‘section 21 notice’), after the tenant reported that repairs are needed, rather than the landlord taking responsibility for the repairs being done.

At the time of writing, the government is consulting on whether to scrap section 21 evictions altogether, meaning that landlords will need to provide a good reason for evicting tenants, rather than being able to do so for any reason, at short notice, as the law currently allows. If the proposed new legislation goes through, it will mean that tenants are protected from revenge evictions for reporting essential repairs to their landlord.

Can social housing tenants be evicted for reporting repairs?

For social housing tenants, reporting disrepair can also be a worry for different reasons. People living in homes owned by councils or housing associations are often on secure tenancies, which means that you can’t be given a section 21 notice and are usually only ever evicted if you break the rules set out in your tenancy agreement e.g. failing to pay your rent or anti-social behaviour. Your social landlord will have a protocol that they follow for eviction and are simply not allowed to evict tenants for reporting disrepair in the home that is the landlord’s responsibility to fix.

Some tenants may think that if they report disrepair in their social housing property to their landlord, they are causing an unnecessary fuss. However, disrepair in the home can quickly escalate and can actually be dangerous to tenants; even risking their health and safety, in some cases. It’s important that tenants have a safe place to live, and that their landlord keeps the property in a good state of repair, so any problems or things that need fixing should be reported to the social landlord as soon as the issue is spotted.

The Decent Homes Standard for social housing

All social housing properties in England must meet the Decent Homes Standard. These standards include:

  • The property must meet the minimum standards for housing and be free of Category 1 hazards (which include things like serious fire risks, dangerous electrics, damp and mould that could harm health, and high risks of someone falling on unsafe stairs and floors).
  • The property must be in a reasonable state of repair
  • It must have reasonably modern facilities and services

If you don’t believe that your social housing property meets the Decent Homes Standard, and your landlord has not made the necessary repairs or improvement works when needed, you may be eligible to make a disrepair claim. If your claim is successful, your landlord will be ordered to do the necessary work on your home. You may also be eligible for compensation for the disrepair, especially if it has caused harm to someone in your household.

Contact CEL Solicitors today to discuss your options when it comes to disrepair in your council or housing association property.