Housing disrepair: check if you can claim compensation

You can ask your landlord to pay you compensation if disrepair caused damage to your health or your belongings.

When you can claim compensation

You can take legal action to claim compensation during your tenancy or after it ends.

You have up to 6 years (or 3 years for a personal injury claim), starting from the time your landlord should have carried out the repair.

If you start your claim during your tenancy, you can also ask the court to order your landlord to do repair work.

You can't take legal action for compensation unless you report the repair problem to your landlord during your tenancy.

Keep records

Keep records about the disrepair problem in your home to support your compensation claim.

This could include:

  • letters or emails sent to and from your landlord about the issue
  • photographs of the repair problem
  • medical records showing how your health has been affected
  • receipts for replacements of damaged or destroyed items
  • a report from the council’s environmental health team

What you can claim for

You can make a claim for compensation if repair problems in your home:

  • damaged your belongings
  • made the health of you or someone in your household worse
  • caused you inconvenience or left you unable to use all of your home

Find out more about landlords' responsibility for repairs.

Compensation for your belongings

You can claim compensation for items of yours that were damaged or destroyed because of your landlord's failure to carry out repairs. For example, clothing and bedding ruined by mould or furniture damaged by water leaks.

You can also claim compensation for your belongings that were damaged during repair works.

You can claim the cost of replacing items that were damaged or destroyed. If you’ve already bought replacements, keep any receipts and submit them as evidence as part of your claim.

This might only be the second-hand value of the goods, unless it's not possible or reasonable to buy second-hand replacements.

Damage to health

You can claim compensation if you or anyone in your household health was made worse as a result of the landlord's failure to carry out repairs. The health problems can be physical or mental.

Keep any doctor’s notes or hospital reports that show how your health has been affected.

The amount of damages you can claim mainly depends on how the repair problem affected your health and for how long.

If you were unable to work you could claim for loss of earnings and for any extra care you needed.


You can claim compensation if you've suffered inconvenience or have not been able to use your home in the normal way as a result of:

  • the landlord's failure to repair your home
  • significant disruption during the repair work

How much compensation you can get depends on the level of disrepair, the rent you pay and the level of inconvenience you’ve suffered.

Reduction of rent

You can claim a reduction or refund of rent if you haven't been able to use part or all of your home because of the disrepair.

You can claim this even if your rent has been paid by housing benefit or universal credit.

The amount you can ask for depends on how much of your home can't be lived in.

If you can only use half of your home, the court may decide that your rent should be reduced or refunded by 50%.

Last updated 27 Apr 2018 | © Shelter

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