When you are living in a house that is infested with damp and mould, when you are living in a flat which has leaks coming from above, or even when it is the middle of winter and your boiler is not working, we understand the frustration that arises when your landlord refuses to do what is needed.

What are your obligations as a tenant pursuing a claim?

We at KLS Law are here to advise and assist tenants when they have defects within their property, and their landlord is not fulfilling their statutory and contractual repairing obligations. However, we are seeing an increasing number of cases where, through the tenant’s own actions, they are putting their cases at risk.

We therefore wish to take the time to outline 3 simple steps you as a tenant can follow to ensure that your case does not become detracted from the true issue at heart; the disrepair in your home.

  1. Continue to pay your rent
  2. Allow your landlord access to the property
  3. Report the defects

1. Continue to pay your rent

Your tenancy agreement is a binding contract between both you and your landlord. If you feel that your landlord is not fulfilling their side of the deal, then that does not give you the right to stop fulfilling your obligations also.

Not paying your rent raises 2 major issues. Firstly, if you fall into arrears it gives your landlord an excuse to issue possession proceedings and puts your occupation in your home at risk.

Secondly, it will affect the amount of compensation you receive. This is called the principle of offset; whatever compensation is agreed following a housing conditions claim will be first offset against any current level of rent arrears. For example if you are £2000 in arrears and you are only awarded £1000 compensation, you will still be £1000 in arrears come the end of your case.

2. Allow your landlord access to the property

It will usually be a condition within your tenancy agreement that so long as your landlord provides you with reasonable notice (usually 24 hours) you should allow your landlord access to your property.

If you report disrepair to your landlord before you start a claim, and they attempt to carry out repairs, but access is denied, this will reduce the amount of compensation you may be awarded at the conclusion of your claim.

If you continue to deny access during the course of your case, your landlord may make an application for an injunction against you in the County Court. If this application is successful, you may be ordered to pay your landlord’s legal costs and you will be compelled to provide your landlord with access to the property in any event.

Secondly, it will affect the amount of compensation you receive. This is called the principle of offset; whatever compensation is agreed following a housing conditions claim will be first offset against any current level of rent arrears. For example if you are £2000 in arrears and you are only awarded £1000 compensation, you will still be £1000 in arrears come the end of your case.

3. Report the defects

Before any housing conditions claim can be made, you must have reported the disrepair to your landlord and given them sufficient time to carry out any necessary repairs.

It is best to make all reports of disrepair in writing, preferably via email. Images of the alleged disrepair should also be included wherever possible.

Although these steps may seem obvious to some, sometimes during the breakdown of the relationship between a tenant and their landlord, they are not adhered too and sadly this will detrimentally affect the tenant more than it will the landlord.

If your landlord is refusing to carry out necessary works to your home and you feel you need independent, experienced legal advice, please contact us on 0800 015 1470 to discuss your matter with a team member. Alternatively you can email us at enquiries@klslaw.co.uk, where we will respond to you as soon as possible.