Can I sue my landlord in the UK?

New laws have recently made it easier than ever for tenants to sue their landlord in the UK. If you feel that your health or well-being has been affected as a result of landlord negligence, here’s everything you need to know.

Natasha Batty

“As of 20th March 2020, Tenants can sue a landlord if they have failed to provide a safe and healthy living environment.”

If you signed your tenancy agreement before 20th of March 2019 then (as of the 20th of March 2020) you will be able to use the Homes Act to sue your landlord if they have failed to provide you with a safe and healthy living environment. 

This applies to tenants living in England only.

As of March 2020, everyone who has a secure tenancy agreement or statutory tenancy can use the Homes Act regardless of when their tenancy began.

Tenants can sue landlords over a variety of issues including cold and damp homes. You can also take legal action against your landlord if they don’t carry out necessary repairs or maintenance and an injunction can be issued if necessary repair work is not carried out.  Many clients look to seek compensation from landlords for mould.

“According to the charity, Shelter, there around 2.5 million people in the UK who are living in rented homes that are not fit for human habitation.”

In many cases this is down to the 1985 law that made it local authorities responsibility for investigating living conditions. Many local councils suffering budget cuts and staffing issues would struggle to enforce laws which have allowed landlords to skimp on the costs of repair and maintenance of homes and in many cases, leaving tenants to deal with the consequences.

Fitness for human habitation act amended the 1985 law and landlords now have to be accountable for the home that they are renting out.  They have to make sure that throughout the course of the tenancy the property is fit for purpose and fit for people to live in. This includes things such as ventilation, damp, cold and issues that go beyond just repair.

What are the things that I can sue my landlord for?

Common areas that Landlords now need to pay extra attention to include:

  • Neglected building or structural work leaving the building in bad condition or unstable.
  • The spread of damp and mould growth
  • Problems with the supply of hot and cold water
  • Difficulties relating to how you prepare and cook food or wash up, making the cooking area unhygienic
  • Serious plumbing issues such as drainage of lavatories
  • Difficulties relating to how you prepare and cook food or wash up, making the cooking area unhygienic
  • Excessive cold or heat
  • Exposure to asbestos or other chemicals
  • Exposure to carbon monoxide
  • Radiation from gas or leaking appliances
  • Security issues such as not having a lock on the front door or door door
  • Hazardous bath or shower conditions
  • Electric hazards
  • Fire hazards

The above are just some of the things that you may wish to consider. If you are unsure please contact the Natasha for a free consultation today by clicking the link below or calling
0151 384 6148.

to arrange your free consultation

The Fitness for Human Habitation Act

This came into action on the 20th of March 2019 to ensure that rented houses and flats are fit for habitation. They should be a safe, healthy environment and free from things that could cause serious harm to tenants.

This means that for landlords who do not provide a safe, secure, warm and dry home for tenants, they could be taken to court and be made to cover the cost to carry out repairs or rectify the health and safety issues. The court also has the power to make the landlord pay compensation.

What should my landlord be doing by law?

There are laws now to ensure that your landlord must make your home fit for human habitation including health and safety issues that may cause you the tenants or anyone else serious harm.

It doesn't matter whether the home that you are renting is a bungalow, a flat or a house, it matters about the agreement that you have with your landlords or letting agent. The Homes Act now applies to all tenants as of this month (March 2020)

Find out more about the homes fitness for human habitation act 2018 

Are there things that I can't Sue my landlord for?

The short answer is yes. There are some exceptions to the list of things that you can sue your landlord for, these include

  • Any problems caused by your behaviour as a tenant - Including irresponsible or illegal behaviour.
  • Events beyond the landlord's control such as fire flooding or natural disaster.
  • Any issues you have with furniture that was provided by a previous tenant and not included in an inventory the beginning of your tenancy.
  • In some cases a landlord may want to do work for you but is prevented from doing so by other parties and many planning permission. 

I want to Sue my landlord, what can I do next? 

Firstly, if there’s a problem, you need to make your landlord aware, hopefully they’ll take your complaint seriously and resolve the issue. 

Check your contract, it should state the types of repair that the landlord is responsible for.

1.

Collect evidence of the damage - ensure your landlord is made aware of the issue(s) and send photos where relevant. 

2.

Make contact with your landlord or letting agent to explain the problem. This can be done verbally, but it is also a good idea to do it in writing so that you have a record.

3.

Keep evidence of all correspondence - this includes text messages, emails and even letters to your landlord.

4.

If the issues with the property are causing you to be ill, ensure you keep notes from the GP.

5.

In instances where you feel forced to make the repairs yourself, make sure you keep the receipts as evidence.

If you want legal advice on whether you should sue your landlord, contact Natasha now on 0151 384 6148.

to arrange your free consultation