We are aware that a number of our customers are receiving home visits or calls from Disrepair Claim Companies. To gain access to your property, they will often say that they are from ‘the housing’ and that they are there to complete a survey on the property. We have had reports that some are wearing identification badges that are very similar to the badges that Halton Housing staff wear.
These people represent claim handlers or solicitors, and their aim is to make money, usually up to £500 per referral (whether or not the claim is real). They will tell you that your home in need of repair and will encourage you to put in a claim against us.
Claims handling companies are required to register with the Ministry of Justice. Many of the companies cold calling in our area are operating illegally.
We want you to be aware of them, let you know what happens if you claim and how that claim affects us.
Disrepair Claim Companies use a legal scheme that was introduced to protect tenants from bad landlords.
These companies want to make money from you and your home and you need to know the facts in case they approach you. They will tell you that they have recently won numerous claims against us.
Please be aware we defend ALL cases against us and we have not paid out a penny in compensation for disrepair claims in last two years.
These claims can take up to two years to resolve and this is very likely to cause further inconvenience to you, as the solicitor ‘acting’ on your behalf will advise you not to allow us to carry out any repairs while the claim is on-going. Any improvements scheduled for your property, such as new front doors, kitchens, bathroom, etc, will also be put on hold until the claim is resolved.
Once you have initiated a claim and signed the solicitor’s documentation, very rarely will the solicitor allow you to change your mind and stop the claim. They will advise you that, if you want to stop the claim, you will be liable for:
- Charges for the survey they have arranged, often up to £1000
- Credit agreement charges of over £500 for “no win, no fee” to cover legal cost insurance
Please be careful before you commit to any agreements with these companies, as they could put you at financial risk.
What happens if you claim for disrepair?
One of our surveyors will visit your home to do a survey, this will check for disrepair and point out what needs to be done.
Courts view our surveyors as expert witnesses; this means that they also have a duty to the court.
Our surveyor will also check if we need to charge you for any property damage during your tenancy.
Please note that you could be in breach of your tenancy agreement if you don’t keep your home clean and in a good state.
How disrepair claims affect us
As you can imagine, it is extremely costly for us to go to court and defend cases. We don’t have insurance against these claims, therefore the more that we spend to defend cases, the less we have for repairs, improvements and other services for our customers.
We have a team to deal with cases and to help protect us against claims; the work they do avoids costs to ensure we have more to spend on your homes and estates.
Our service to you
- We’re committed to giving you a good service.
- We’ll listen to your complaints and work with you to fix any problems.
- We want to avoid legal action but we’ll defend ourselves if necessary.
- Please report any repairs to your home through our Customer App, Online Portal or Live Chat.