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Using the courts to force your landlord to carry out repairs or claiming compensation for housing disrepair

If your landlord is refusing to carry out repairs or has started repairs but not finished them, you may be able to raise a claim for implement of an obligation in court. This kind of claim is used when you want to get someone to do something they are contracted or obliged to do - in this case, carry out repairs.

Which court do I need to go to?

This will depend on the value of your claim.

  • If your claim is for less than £5,000, you can use the simple procedure.
  • If your claim is for more than £5,000, you'll need to use the ordinary cause procedure.

Talk to a solicitor before taking any further action. Your claim may be worth more than you think, and you can only go to court over it once, so you need to make sure you claim the maximum amount possible.

What can the court decide?

If your claim for implement of an obligation is successful, the court will order your landlord to carry out or finish the repairs within a certain amount of time. If your landlord fails to carry out the repairs, you will be entitled to compensation.

Do I need a solicitor?

Simple procedure

If your claim is for less than £5,000, you can pursue it in via the simple procedure. In this case, you don't need a solicitor to represent you. However, you should speak to a solicitor if the claims is more than £3, 000. You could also try getting estimates for the work that needs to be done.

If you decide you want to get a solicitor to represent you, you will need to pay their fee.

Find out more about simple procedure.

Summary and ordinary cause

If you need to raise the action as a summary cause or ordinary action, you will need a solicitor to represent you. These actions can be expensive, lengthy and complicated, requiring detailed specialist reports and court documents. However, legal aid is usually available for these actions.

Find out more about summary cause and ordinary cause procedures.

What if my landlord still doesn't cooperate?

If you win your case but your landlord still won't do the repairs or pay you the compensation, you'll have to go back to court to get the sheriff to enforce the decree. You'll need to pay another court fee for this. Speak to a solicitor if you're in this situation.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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The important points

  • What court you go to will depend on the amount of your claim.
  • You can represent yourself in the small claims court.
  • You will need a solicitor to represent you if you want to raise summary cause or ordinary action.
  • You may be able to apply for legal aid to help you pay any costs.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us