Kathleen Napier had to put up with different structural issues and cockroach infestation in the flat she was living in with her three children. She was provided a council home in Hornsey Estate, London but it was uninhabitable because of the awful damaged state of the property.
The mum of three reported the issues to the Islington council in February 2018 but no actions were taken to fix the dilapidated parts of the home. Although the flat had three bedrooms, one was rendered useless because of a huge hole on the floor. There was damp and mould in almost every area, which could have been due to the lack of ventilation in the hallway and in two of the bedrooms.
The fire alarm was not working, which is a complete violation of fire and electricity safety laws. In addition, there were cracks in the exterior walls, plus broken kitchen cabinets, floors, and a broken extraction fan.
Napier sought the help of a legal firm to help her make a claim for the infestation and disrepair in her home. Her solicitors were able to get a £2,500 compensation for her and got the council to vow to address all the structural issues.
Disrepair health and safety risks
Although Napier’s tenancy was not yet covered by the Homes Act of 2018, it is still worth mentioning that landlords are responsible for providing their tenants with a home that is secure and structurally sound.
One thing that might be overlooked by careless landlords is a working fire alarm. Such an apparatus is one of the bare necessities of a modern home. It might be a simple, innocuous thing but it can potentially save lives in the event of a fire.
In Napier’s case, if all of the required repairs were carried out at a reasonable time, the poor state of the property could have been properly and efficiently addressed and she could have avoided being stressed over the dilapidated state of the home she lived in.
Aside from the safety risks that disrepair in the home can cause, it can also result in certain health concerns, particularly diseases that are caused by vermin infestation and damp and mould growth.
Cockroaches and all other pests like rats thrive in an unclean or shabby environment. The insects can spread Salmonella and E. coli bacteria, which can cause potentially life-threatening illnesses.
If someone with asthma gets exposed to cockroach droppings, this could trigger their allergic reactions. Another major health risk that cockroach infestations can bring to tenants like Kathleen Napier and her children is food poisoning.
Damp and mould growth
Damp develops when moisture is trapped inside a home with limited or non-existent ventilation. If ventilation is not improved and damp is not immediately eliminated, hazardous black mould can develop in the affected area (or areas).
Black mould releases spores that cause severe allergic reactions to those with lung diseases like asthma and chronic pulmonary disease.
As mentioned earlier, it is the landlord’s obligation to provide the tenant with a home that is safe and secure. They should present their electric, fire, and gas safety certificates during viewing appointments so the tenant is ensured that proper maintenance is practiced and the property’s standards pass regulations.
A tenancy agreement is a strict requirement when renting out a property, in addition to the landlord’s Energy Performance Certificate. This certificate should have a rating of at least an E in order to pass the standards.
The landlord should likewise provide a “How to Rent” checklist for tenants and stipulate in the tenancy agreement that the tenancy deposit will be placed in a protected government-approved scheme.
Landlord and tenants act of 1985
In Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenants Act of 1985, landlords are obligated to maintain the condition of the property before it is turned over to the tenant. The structure of the building from the roof down to the pipes need to be in good condition, while installations in the kitchen, bathroom, boiler room, the electric wirings, and gas pipes must be working properly.
Don’t wait for the disrepair in your home to worsen. Report it to your landlord right away and request that everything be repaired promptly. Wait 21 days for their response. Be sure to communicate with your landlord through text or email message so you’ll have a paper trail to use as evidence.
If you are like Kathleen Napier, who was continuously being ignored by her Council Home landlord, you can demand for them to pay attention to your needs by writing to them one last time. Make a follow-up letter or call them to make a request one last time.
Gather all the evidence, including the photographs and videos you took of all the disrepair that need to be addressed. Find a solicitor that will help you claim for compensation and force your landlord to fix the issues in your flat. Contact the housing disrepair experts at DisrepairClaim.co.uk as they have experience handling even the most challenging disrepair cases.