Disrepair frequently asked questions

Will I get financial compensation if I make a disrepair complaint to the council or the Housing Ombudsman?

Yes, if your complaint is upheld:

How do I get disrepair in my home fixed by the council?

If you have reported disrepair and we have not fixed it within a reasonable time, you can make a complaint online.

We will investigate and if your complaint is upheld, put things right. In line with our policy (PDF, 176.93 KB), we will also pay any compensation you are entitled to receive.

If you are not happy with our response to your complaint, you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman who can investigate on your behalf. They can order us to make repairs and compensate you if your complaint is upheld.

Where can I get independent advice for free?

Visit Housing Ombudsman, Shelter and Citizens Advice.

What is housing disrepair?

As your landlord, we are generally responsible for maintaining the structure of your home, the services and fittings we have installed. See our Housing repairs, maintenance and planned works policy (PDF, 531.3 KB) for more information on our repairs responsibilities and yours. If we do not meet our obligation to carry out a repair you have reported to us in a reasonable time, you could have a housing conditions claim. This is often called housing disrepair.

What is a claims management company?

Claims management companies approach tenants and encourage them to make a legal compensation claim against their landlord for disrepair. They assess your claim and then sell it on to ‘no win, no claim’ solicitors who represent you and manage your claim.

The companies’ representatives are not legally trained and do not know if you have a claim. We understand that they target tenants via phone calls, text messages, leaflets and doorstep visits and urge tenants to sign agreements.

On occasion, they may misrepresent who they work for and claim to work for the council or the Ministry of Justice which may not be correct. They then sell these agreements on to legal firms – whether they think you have a claim or not. The legal firms incur costs which you may be asked to pay, especially if you have not notified us of the repair issues first.

Please get advice from the council before signing any documents by emailing housingrepairs@enfield.gov.uk or calling 020 8379 1000 (option 4, option 2) Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

What are the potential financial risks involved in making a legal disrepair claim?

As part of your tenancy agreement, you must let the council know as quickly as possible if any repairs are needed in your home. You can do this online or by phone on 020 8379 1000.

Increasingly, the council is receiving claims from legal firms about repair issues tenants have not reported to us. If this happens, or if you change your mind about making a claim, you may still be liable to pay the cost of any work already undertaken on your case (such as solicitor’s fees or the cost of any survey undertaken). The legal firm may take out an insurance premium on your behalf to pay our costs if your claim is unsuccessful. If you do not win your claim, you may also be liable to pay this premium.

If your claim is successful, any compensation you receive could be reduced to cover legal fees and any other associated costs.

If your claim is unsuccessful, you may also be liable for the cost of our legal fees.

If I take out a ‘no win, no fee’ legal claim will I get my disrepair fixed more quickly?

A claim may delay the repairs because the legal firm may insist on a surveyor’s report. It could take over a month for the surveyor to be available and then further delays as the surveyor prepares the report. It will be quicker to approach the council directly.

What happens if I make a disrepair claim using a ‘no win, no fee’ company?

We will check our records to see whether you have reported the repairs needed to us before you made a legal disrepair claim, in line with your tenancy agreement.

The legal firm and the council will arrange for a surveyor to carry out a survey in your home. During the survey, they will make a note of any repairs your home needs. If the survey identifies repairs that are our responsibility, we will arrange to visit your home and do the work.

Please note that you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement if you do not allow us to access your home to carry out any repairs. If there is a health and safety risk, we may request a court injunction to gain urgent access to do the work.

We will rigorously defend any meritless disrepair claim.

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