What is the Housing Disrepair Protocol?
Updated: Nov 20, 2020
The Housing Disrepair Protocol applies to residential properties situated in England and Wales. It relates to claims by tenants in respect of housing disrepair.
It seems like an obvious point but tenants should ensure that their landlord and or managing agent is aware of the disrepair in their property. This is because many tenants issue a case without actually having informed their landlord of the problem. It is surprising how many cases are brought to the court where the landlord is unaware of the state of his let-out property.
"The Protocol is intended for those cases where, despite the landlord’s knowledge of the disrepair, the matter remains unresolved."
The Protocol is intended to encourage the exchange of information between the tenant and landlord at an early stage and to provide guidance within which parties in a housing disrepair claim can attempt to achieve an early resolution of their disrepair. In the event the parties fail to reach a resolution and a claim proceeds to litigation, then the court will expect all parties to have complied with the Protocol as far as possible or face the penalty of paying costs.
What do you have to do under the protocol?
Under the protocol, you have to send your landlord a letter called a Letter of Claim, warning them of possible court action.
The Letter of Claim should contain the following details:–
(i) tenant’s name, the address of the property, tenant’s address if different, the tenant’s telephone number and when access is available;
(ii) details of the defects, including any defects outstanding, in the form of a schedule, if appropriate;
(iii) history of the defects, including attempts to rectify them;
(iv) details of any notification previously given to the landlord of the need for repair or information as to why the tenant believes that the landlord has knowledge of the need for repair;
(v) the effect of the defects on the tenant (personal injury claims);
(vi) details of any special damages;
(vii) proposed expert;
(viii) proposed letter of instruction to the expert
(ix) tenant’s disclosure of relevant documents.
All relevant records or documents including:–
(i) copy of tenancy agreement including tenancy conditions
(ii) tenancy file
(iii) documents relating to notice given, disrepair reported, inspection reports or requirements to the property
(iv) computerised records.
The letters may be suitably adapted as appropriate.
Time limits for taking court action
In most cases, the tenant has to take court action within six years. The six years begin when you tell your landlord about the disrepair and they don't do anything about it in a reasonable time.