Possession claim dismissed for disrepair and compensation paid
Miss B had been living in her housing association property with her two sons since May 2007. There was disrepair at the property. She has been maintaining payments of her rent through her part time work and housing benefits. She fell into rent arrears in April 2014 after travelling abroad for 10 days under the assumption that she would be paid holiday hours, not realising she was on a zero-hour contract.
The Housing Association issued possession proceedings in May 2015 asking for an outright possession order and for the client to pay arrears of approximately £1800. At the first hearing, the client asked for an adjournment and then sought our advice.
We began acting for the client in July 2015 under a legal aid certificate and we filed a defence on the grounds that she has been having issues with her housing benefits and had cash flow problems due to her part time job. We also filed a counterclaim against the Claimants on the grounds of the disrepair in the property including damp and mould in the kitchen, hallway, bathroom and bedrooms, and her heating system which did not properly function in the winter often leaving her with no heating. Our client suffers from arthritis which was not helped by the cold. We instructed an expert surveyor and served reports on the Claimant‘s solicitors.
We provided medical evidence and photographic evidence of the property as well as witness statements from the client herself and a friend. Before the trial the Claimants made an offer to settle and Miss B agreed to compensation of over £7,000 to carry out the works, clear her rent arrears and also cover her legal costs.
All landlords, including Local Authorities and Housing Associations are required by law to keep their tenants property in good repair. The tenant must of course report any problems. Any tenant facing possession who has disrepair at the property should immediately seek legal advice. It can be an opportunity to force the landlord to comply with their legal obligations the advantages to the tenant are:
- Possession claim dismissed
- Arrears wiped out
- Payment of a substantial sum in compensation
- Repairs works carried out