Last time, we discussed the first steps you can make to take action if your landlord refuses to do repairs.
If you’ve just joined us, you can click here to read part one. Now we’ll take you through whether or not taking legal action would be appropriate for your case.
Consider taking legal action
If you don’t have any luck sorting the problem with your landlord or their agent through the council, or if the repair work they have started on your property has been too disruptive, you may wish to consider taking your landlord to court.
A judge may be able to award you compensation if the repair work has caused disruption to your home life, damage to your health or damage to your belongings. It makes sense to get advice before proceeding to take your landlord to court, though. Shelter offer an “advice finder” that helps you find the appropriate place to seek advice in your area.
If the total cost of the repairs would be less than £1,000, you should consider a small claims court rather than Crown Court. This is typically a simpler route and you’ll be able to represent yourself in court.
However, before you consider taking your landlord to court, it’s important to be aware that they may be able to evict you if things have turned sour. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have no plans to stay in the property, but it’s worth thinking about, especially if you are in an assured shorthold tenancy.
On the other hand, tenants with common assured or regulated tenancies have more protection in this area, and if your tenancy began on or after the 1st October 2015, there are extra layers in place to prevent your landlord from evicting you unfairly.
Tenancies that started on or after 1st October 2015
New laws put in place to protect tenants from “revenge evictions” may apply to you if you entered your tenancy on or after the 1st October 2015. A landlord might choose to issue you a section 21 notice to evict you from the property.
A court can refuse to evict you if all of the following apply:
- You made your complaint in writing rather than verbally – whether by email or letter.
- You spoke to your local council about the issue after your landlord did not take action, and the council then sent a notice either demanding that they do the repair work or stating that they will carry out emergency repair work.
- Your landlord issued the section 21 notice after you had already complained.
If at any point the council issues your landlord with either an improvement notice or a notice requiring action before the trial, the section 21 notice is no longer valid and you can’t be evicted.
However, these new laws won’t protect you in some scenarios. For example, if when you complained to the council they issued your landlord a “hazard notice”, there is nothing in place to stop you from being evicted. Similarly, your landlord might be able to evict you through the courts if:
- Your landlord can prove the damage to your home was actually caused by you.
- Your landlord has fallen behind on repayments and had their property repossessed.
- The property has been put up for sale.
We hope this blog has helped you formulate a plan of action for getting those essential repairs done. If you have any more questions, we’re happy to help. You can get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.