Compensation for disrepair and poor conditions
You can ask your landlord for compensation if they fail to carry out repairs within a reasonable time when you have reported them.
You could also get compensation if your home is unfit to live in because of poor conditions.
If your landlord agrees to a rent reduction or refund because of the problems, get this in writing.
You can take court action if your landlord won't agree to compensation.
The court expects you to try and negotiate first. You also need to provide evidence.
What you can claim compensation for
You can claim for actual financial loss as well as for general inconvenience.
Damage to belongings
You can claim for items that are damaged or destroyed because of poor conditions or during repair works.
You can claim if you've had to spend more money because of problems with conditions in your home.
For example: higher electric bills when using plug in heaters due to a broken boiler.
Keep receipts and bills to show money you paid because of disrepair or poor conditions
You can claim for inconvenience such as:
disruption to your daily life
not having full use of your home
time spent waiting for builders or inspections
The amount you could get depends on how the problem affected you and for how long.
Damage to health
You can claim if your physical or mental health is affected by the conditions in your home.
The amount depends on how you were affected and for how long.
You can also claim for:
loss of earnings if you could not work
extra expenses such as prescriptions or travel to hospital
Keep sick notes or hospital reports that show how your health has been affected.
When you can start legal action
You can take legal action to claim compensation during your tenancy or after it ends.
You must have reported the problem to your landlord during your tenancy.
You have up to 6 years to claim or 3 years for a personal injury claim. The time runs from when your landlord should have carried out the work.
Negotiate with your landlord
It can save time and money if you can reach an agreement before court.
You can keep negotiating even if you've started court action.
Explain why you think you are entitled to compensation. Follow up conversations with a letter or email. Keep copies.
Consider reasonable offers from your landlord - including offers to reduce your rent. There’s no guarantee you'll get more if you go to court.
You could get compensation after a complaint to a free independent service such as an ombudsman or redress scheme.
You have to complain to your landlord or letting agent first.
You can complain to the Housing Ombudsman if you're a council or housing association tenant and are unhappy with the way your repairs issue or complaint has been dealt with.
You can complain to a redress scheme if you rent privately through a letting agent, but only if the agent has contributed to the problem.
Last updated: 18 March 2020