When you decide to proceed with a housing disrepair claim, you need to gather the necessary evidence to support your case. This article will guide you through the process of preparing your claim and collecting the relevant evidence. By following these steps, you can strengthen your case and increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
What is housing disrepair?
Housing disrepair refers to the state of a property where there are serious repair issues that affect its habitability and pose risks to the health and safety of its occupants. These issues can include structural problems, damp, mould, leaks, faulty plumbing or heating systems, electrical faults, pest infestations, and any issues that make the property unfit for living or cause inconvenience and discomfort for tenants.
If your landlord has failed to address your request for necessary repairs, you might be eligible to claim compensation for housing disrepair.
Providing evidence of reporting the issue
The first step to a successful claim is to demonstrate that you have reported the disrepair to your housing association or council landlord. This involves gathering all correspondence you have had with them, such as emails, text messages, or recorded phone conversations. Keeping a record of these communications is crucial to prove that you informed them about the issue.
Have you reported the disrepair over the phone call? Ask housing disrepair solicitors about the witness statement to prove the circumstances. If possible, take screenshots of the call history.
Collecting evidence of the disrepair
To substantiate your claim, gather evidence of the actual disrepair. What is the best way to do that? Take photographs of the issue, especially before seeking legal help. These photos will provide a visual record of the extent and duration of the disrepair. Additionally, in some cases, a specialist assessment by a surveyor or structural engineer may be necessary to evaluate the severity and cause of the issue.
Documenting damaged possessions
If the disrepair has caused damage to your personal belongings, make sure to take photographs of the affected items. It is also essential to keep receipts for any replaced or repaired possessions. Damaged clothing, furniture, and soft furnishings are common examples, but any item affected should be documented.
Establishing evidence of physical injuries
In cases where the disrepair has caused physical injuries or worsened existing health conditions, consult your GP for proper diagnosis and treatment. Request a copy of your medical records, as they can provide evidence linking your health issues to the housing disrepair. Depending on the severity of the injuries, a medical expert’s assessment and report may be necessary.
Proving financial losses
If you have suffered financial losses due to the housing disrepair, gather evidence to support your claim. This may include past and future earnings, expenses for temporary accommodation, travel costs, medication, specialist equipment, and utility bills. Keep a detailed record of all relevant expenses and retain receipts whenever possible. Bank statements, pay slips, and utility bills can also serve as supporting evidence.
Documenting other damages
In addition to physical injuries and financial losses, you may have experienced other damages, such as stress and inconvenience. Provide a witness statement describing the impact these damages have had on your life. This statement can help substantiate your claim and demonstrate the non-financial repercussions of the housing disrepair.
How to photograph disrepairs?
Before you start taking pictures, take some time to inspect both the interior and exterior of the premises and make a list of the areas that need attention. Daytime is the best time to take pictures due to better lighting conditions.
When examining the outside of the property, pay attention to issues with the guttering, roof, windows, brickwork, and chimney stack. Inside, common signs of disrepair include structural cracks, dampness, mould, leaks, and broken fittings. Make sure to capture these problems accurately to support your claim, and to do not retouch the pictures. Use flash light in your camera if necessary.
To effectively document the disrepair, follow a simple three-step process. Start by taking close-up photographs from different angles, focusing on the affected area. Then, zoom out a bit and take wider shots to provide a better understanding of the location and extent of the disrepair. Finally, take pictures of the entire room to give a broader perspective.
Repeat these steps for each room that has disrepair issues. In some cases, videos can also be helpful, especially when capturing water leaks or malfunctioning heating systems.
What is the next step?
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively gather the necessary evidence to support your housing disrepair claim. Remember to maintain a record of all relevant correspondence, photographs, receipts, medical documents, and witness statements. Name files accordingly to the disrepair and the room it portrays. It will help you to keep track of the evidence and keep them organised.
Finally, contact a housing disrepair solicitor and discuss collected evidences. Most of them offer their help on a No Win No Fee basis, so you won’t pay if your case fails. With the assistance of experienced housing disrepair solicitors, you can build a strong case and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your losses.
Ask your solicitor about the best way to send evidence. If your pictures or recording have a large file size, you may need to use google drive or another free transfer service.
What you can expect from a housing disrepair claim?
When pursuing a housing disrepair claim, there are several outcomes you can expect. Firstly, you may receive compensation for the damage caused by the disrepair. This compensation can cover various aspects, such as the cost of repairs, replacement of damaged belongings, and any financial losses incurred due to the disrepair.
Additionally, you can expect the responsible party, such as your landlord to address the repair issues promptly. This can involve carrying out the necessary repairs and ensuring that the property is brought up to a safe and habitable standard.
Furthermore, filing a housing disrepair claim can help raise awareness about the issue and potentially prevent similar problems for other tenants in the future. It may lead to improved maintenance practices, increased accountability, and better overall living conditions within the property.