03 AUG 2020

Housing Disrepair Claims Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be a problematic issue for landlords and tenants. Although the world is currently facing a large-scale healthcare issue, this doesn’t stop homeowners from encountering regular and seasonal problems with their homes’ repairs and renovations. This issue of the grounds for disrepair claims in today’s challenging times can be a confusing dilemma.

 

A landlord’s responsibility

Landlords need to make sure that their tenants are living within safe and stable residential premises. Their service must include an adequate supply of water, electricity, gas, and sanitation, especially with the threat of contracting coronavirus. Because of this, tenants have the responsibility and right to report any possible problem to their living situation’s condition. Unfortunately, landlords will find it challenging to request property repairs due to lockdown policies.

Many local authorities are making an initiative to prioritise emergency repairs. These are those that are prejudicial to one’s health or pose an immediate risk to it. Due to this ruling, many landlords are unable to follow up on routine repairs inside properties. Nevertheless, it’s still possible for building contractors to repair communal areas so long as it’s safe to do so.

 

Housing disrepair claim guidelines

The government recently released guidelines on what an urgent repair’s definition is for a tenant’s property. They classify these property damages as directly affecting a tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain their physical and mental health. Listed below are what checks out as urgent property repair concerns.

 

  • Leaks in roofs
  • Complications with heating or hot water
  • Interior attachments for disable persons
  • Security breaches (broken external doors, windows, etc.)

 

Disrepair claims In light of COVID-19

Since each property’s damages’ severity is on a case-by-case basis, landlords and tenants must perform practical considerations on whether they should request for urgent repairs. Listed below are some ways to help guide landlords on how they should handle their tenants’ requests for property repairs

A reported repair needs to undergo a risk assessment on whether the replacement is urgent. Not all tenants have the benefit of having self-isolation provisions in place and may be reluctant to grant access to contractors to their living spaces. Each property’s damage must receive the consent of the tenant if they believe that the urgency of the repair Is necessary.

As such, an interim repair policy needs to be in place to require the proper documentation of the repairs needed. It ensures that the tenant is aware of the Government’s guidance on what urgent renovations are.

Routine inspections are also part of landlords’ responsibilities. However, inviting a housing officer to a tenant’s property at this time can be a cause for risk in contracting the coronavirus.  The Government suggests alternative methods such as digital documentation and conversations to avoid face-to-face contact.

 

Projections on future housing disrepair claims

With the release of these guidelines, the Government anticipates that claims for repairs will see a decline. However, future requests will continue even if the lockdown will present challenges in the proper assessment of disrepair claims.

Claims submitted need to receive a response within 20 working days, which includes all copies of documents, such as tenancy agreements, house files, and repair histories. Failure to respond to these claims can lead to litigation. Thankfully enough, the transaction of these documents can go through electronic means. Regardless, the actual documentation and inspection in properties still prove to be a problematic dilemma.

 

Conclusion

During these trying times, both tenants and landlords must cooperate and maintain constant communication. Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, you need to be aware of what changes in residential guidelines and policies you should observe and be familiar with for your housing needs.

It can be a challenging feat to understand what can be considered mis-sold goods during this pandemic, which is why you need to be vigilant on what essential products you purchase during these trying times. At Consumer Reclaim, we specialise in helping our clients to identify mis-sold products in the UK. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve.

 

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