A housing disrepair protocol is a systematic procedure that is followed in cases where a tenant believes that a landlord has neglected his housing repair responsibilities. Homes must be maintained in proper working condition. Tenants have the right to live in a comfortable environment. The law has clearly defined both tenants’ and landlords’ responsibilities towards property maintenance. Responsibilities of tenants are usually minor. It is the landlords who must account for major repairs in the house. Neglect of property maintenance forces tenants to live in dilapidated environments. These tenants have the right to sue their landlords.
Use of Housing disrepair protocol
The purpose of the housing disrepair protocol is to guide tenants and landlords in solving cases of house disrepair without engaging the law. Intervention of the courts can only be sought when all procedures in the protocol have been followed in vain. It is the tenant who usually initiates housing disrepair disputes. This is because they usually have lesser house repair obligation than landlords. Nevertheless, they cannot seek help of the court before following the procedures of the housing disrepair protocol to the latter.
The reason why the protocol is given first priority over the court is the long and expensive litigation procedures that are associated with court cases. A tenant who approaches the court for help in disputes of house disrepair may have to pay more for the litigation process than the cost of repairing the house. This is also true for landlords. It is more economical for the two to solve the disputed between themselves. Court cases may also take long because evidences must be collected and witnesses questioned. All these litigation process are inconvenient and should be a last option.
How to start Housing disrepair protocol
First in the dispute resolution procedure for cases of house disrepair is involvement of a mediator. Landlords and their tenants are encouraged to seek the help of a mediator before presenting their case to court. The protocol gives examples of mediators that landlords and tenants can engage in dispute resolution. Each of these mediators are suited for every type of tenancy that in the UK. Council tenants can seek mediation from their local authorities. The local authorities have procedures, rules and regulations for settling out disrepair disputes. However, disputes that are solved by the Local Authorities are limited to house repair costs not exceeding £250.
You can get information about how the Local Authority settles disputes from the Department of Communities and Local Government, Eland House and Bressenden Place. Housing Association tenants can present their complaints to the Housing Ombudsman Service.
Other claims within Housing disrepair protocol
There is much more to the housing disrepair protocol. Each stage of the protocol is meant to prevent the dispute from escalating beyond unmanageable level. It is also important to note that the nature of disrepair claims are never similar. The cost of disrepair is different from one claim to the other. These are treated differently. Disrepair may also involve personal injury claims. This may call for involvement of a General Practitioner or even a more specialised medic. Every situation is dealt with differently. Parties involved in disrepair claims must go keenly go through the housing disrepair protocol so that they know the procedures that they are expected to follow.