How long does a disrepair claim take?
How long does a disrepair claim take? If you’re a tenant planning to take legal action over housing disrepair, you may be wondering – how long does a disrepair compensation claim take from start to finish? Resolving severe property defects through the courts can be a lengthy process. In this blog, we’ll break down the typical timeline for disrepair claims in England and Wales.
Before beginning court proceedings, you must:
- Notify your landlord in writing about the disrepair and allow reasonable time for repairs (usually 28 days minimum)
- Get reports from contractors, Environmental Health, etc. evidencing the defects
- Have a solicitor send a formal “letter before action” to the landlord demanding compensation
These steps can take 2-6 months to complete. This pre-action process is mandatory before filing a claim.
Filing the Claim:
Once the landlord has rejected or ignored the letter before action, your solicitor can file the disrepair claim to the County Court. It will take 2-6 weeks for the court to serve the claim paperwork on the landlord.
The landlord then has 14 days to respond, either admitting fault and proposing a settlement, or defending the claim. If you cannot agree on compensation, the claim proceeds further.
Case Management and Trial:
The court will set out a timetable for exchanging evidence between both parties over 1-3 months. This leads up to a 1-2 day trial where a judge hears arguments and decides on compensation. Waiting times for a hearing date depend on court backlogs, but can take 6-12 months.
The judge can then take up to 6 weeks to hand down their final judgement. If repairs are still required, the judgement can include an injunction forcing the landlord to fix defects within a set timeframe.
On average, expect a straightforward disrepair claim to take around 12-18 months from initial notification through to final judgement. Complex cases with appeals may take closer to 2 years.
While lengthy, following formal legal process allows tenants to rightfully claim compensation when landlords fail to provide habitable housing. With patience and persistence, justice can be achieved.
Housing Disrepair Advice: https://housingdisrepairadvice.org/contact
Housing Ombudsman: https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/