Housing disrepair: landlord responsibilities and how to take action

23 November 2022

Rent housing disrepair

Landlords are under obligations to keep tenants’ homes in repair and fit for human habitation. Shelter and Citizens Advice have lots of information about the different responsibilities landlords have and how to take action, whether you rent from a council, housing association or privately. If necessary, you can ask a court to order a landlord to do repairs and/or to pay you compensation. As was highlighted at Awaab Ishak’s inquest, it is wrong for landlords to say they cannot do repair works while a disrepair claim is ongoing.

Where there is a serious risk of harm to your health or safety, you can get legal aid to make your landlord fix the problem. Legal aid for disrepair is also available where the landlord has started a possession claim against you and where your landlord is unlawfully evicting you in response to your complaints about the state of your home. Legal aid availability is dependent on your financial eligibility and the strength of your case.

In other cases, you can often get legal representation under a conditional fee agreement, commonly known as “no win, no fee” agreements.

The government has a search tool to find a legal aid advisor where you can search by category (housing). Our resources section has links to search tools for solicitors, law centres and legal advice clinics.

Garden Court North Chambers provides regular training in disrepair to legal representatives and can provide in-house training on request. We welcome early engagement with legal representatives on questions such as possible causes of action and evidence gathering. We want to see systemic change in housing standards to ensure a death like Awaab’s never happens again.

This article was written by Natalie Wilkins of our housing team.



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