You can ask your landlord for compensation if disrepair or poor conditions damage your health or belongings or cause you inconvenience.
When you can ask for compensation
You can ask your landlord for compensation if they fail to carry out repairs within a reasonable time once you've reported them.
You may also be entitled to 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 if you can.
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 as evidence of money you've had to pay because of disrepair or poor conditions.
You can claim for inconvenience including:
- 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 were unable to 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.
Some private landlords evict tenants who ask for repairs or compensation so it may be better to delay legal action until you move out.
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.
Negotiations with your landlord
It can save time and money if you can reach an agreement before court.
You can continue to negotiate even if you've started court action.
Explain why you think you are entitled to compensation. Follow up any conversations with a letter or email. Keep copies for your records.
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 19 Mar 2020 | © Shelter
If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help