The position of tenants in rented properties has long since been protected by legislation. S32 of the Housing Act 1961 provided tenants with a means of securing an award from a Court to compel and landlord to carry out repairs.
This Act was superseded by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s11 which effectively afforded tenants the same protection.
Landlords do have to be on notice of the need to repair either by inspection by them during the tenancy or by the tenant complaining as to the need for repair.
Subject to the landlord being made aware of the need for repair, then the tenant can (if repairs are not carried out) apply to the County Court for an Order compelling the landlord to do the repairs and to pay the tenant compensation for the fact that they have had to endure the property whilst in disrepair.
A recent addition to the legislation is in the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 which in addition to the matters covered in earlier legislation provides that a property let by a landlord should be fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and kept so by the landlord during the tenancy.
When assessing damages a Court will usually adopt one of three approaches.
- An award for the reduction in value of the property by reference to the rent paid.
- A simple assessment of the discomfort suffered and the length of the suffering.
- A hybrid of a) and b).
Legal Aid has long since been made unavailable in these cases and now the usual way of funding is for a conditional fee agreement to be put in place. These “CFAs” are colloquially known as “No win No Fee Agreements”
If your claim succeeds and the case is funded by a CFA then the lawyer will be paid in part by the landlord and in part from your damages award.