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Compensation claims for disrepair against landlord

If your landlord has failed to carry out essential repairs to your home within a reasonable time frame, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

How do I claim compensation?

Claiming compensation can be a lengthy and complicated process, and you'll need to get a solicitor to help you. Your solicitor will collect evidence to back up your claims, such as:

  • photographs of damage to carpets, curtains and other larger items
  • receipts for anything you've had to replace
  • medical reports, if the disrepair has damaged your health
  • architect or surveyor's reports
  • a report from the council's environmental health department.

You'll also have to prove that your landlord was aware of the repair problem. For example, you'll need to produce copies of letters you've written to them.

What can I claim compensation for?

You can claim compensation in three main areas:

  • damage to your property
  • damage to your health
  • inconvenience.

You may also be able to claim an abatement of rent.

Damage to your property

If your property or the property of anyone else in your household is damaged or destroyed because of your landlord's failure to carry out repairs, you can claim compensation. For example, you may want to claim compensation for clothing, bedding and curtains that have been spoilt by dampness and mould, or carpets and furniture damaged by water leaking from burst pipes your landlord hasn't fixed.

You can also claim compensation for property damaged while repair work was being carried out.

How much can I claim?

You can claim the amount of money it will cost you to replace the property damaged or destroyed. This may only be the second hand value of the goods, unless it won't be possible to buy second hand replacements.

How do I support my claim?

Try to collect as much evidence of the damage as possible. Don't throw away spoilt items such as mouldy clothes or bedding - it may be helpful to your case if you can produce them in court. You should also take photos of any damaged goods, and keep receipts to show that things have had to be replaced. If you still have the receipts for any of the damaged property, these will help show how much it was worth.

Damage to health

You can also claim compensation if you or anyone else in your household (such as your children) are injured or made ill as a result of the landlord's failure to carry out repair work. You must be able to show a clear link between the ill health and the disrepair in your home.

How much can I claim?

The amount of damages you can claim will depend on the severity of the illness. For example, if you've been unable to work as a result of ill health or injury caused by disrepair, you may be able to claim for loss of earnings and for any extra care you've needed.

How do I support my claim?

You'll have to prove to the court that the disrepair and the health problem are linked. This is known as causation. The disrepair doesn't have to be the only cause of the health problems, but it must be a contributing factor.

Inconvenience

You are also entitled to claim compensation if you've suffered inconvenience as a result of the landlord's failure to repair your home. The amount awarded by the sheriff will depend on the level of disrepair and the effect that it has had on you.

Only the tenant can claim for inconvenience.

Abatement of rent

If you have not been able to use part or all of your home because of disrepair, you should be entitled to an abatement (a reduction or refund) of rent. How much of the rent is abated will depend on how much of your home is uninhabitable: if no part of the house is inhabitable 100 per cent of the rent may be abated, if only part of the house is unusable then the rent will be reduced proportionally.

Abatement of rent is often claimed under the heading of 'inconvenience', but you can claim both, provided that the inconvenience is something other than the fact that you haven't been able to use part of the property.

Where can I get help and advice?

If you want to claim compensation, it's best to talk to a solicitor or to an adviser at a Shelter advice centre, Citizens Advice or other local agency. Use the Advice Services Directory to find an agency near you.

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The important points

  • Record evidence of the repairs or damage.
  • You can claim the amount of money it will cost you to replace the property.
  • You can claim compensation if you or anyone else in your household are injured or made ill as a result of the landlord's failure to carry out repair work.
  • You are also entitled to claim compensation if you've suffered inconvenience as a result of the landlord's failure to repair your home 

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