Claiming compensation for disrepair if you have a private landlord

  • Disrepair in your home could make you ill, cause you inconvenience and stress or cause damage to your belongings  
  • You might be able to claim compensation in court even after you move out 
  • Court action can be complicated and costly, so it is best to try other options first 

How do I claim compensation? 

A claim for compensation against your landlord should be brought in the county court.  

Click here for details of what is involved in taking court action and what steps you must take before starting your claim. 

See Citizen’s Advice for details of how to start a claim. 

Claiming for damage to your belongings 

If items belonging to you or anyone in your household are damaged or destroyed because of your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs, you may be able to claim compensation. This includes clothing, bedding and curtains that have been spoilt by damp and mould, or carpets and furniture damaged by water leaking from burst pipes your landlord hasn’t fixed. Sometimes contents insurance taken out by you or your landlord may cover these items. 

You could also claim compensation for items damaged or broken while repair work was being carried out. 

How much can I claim? 

You can claim the amount of money it will cost you to replace the damaged or destroyed items. This may only be the secondhand value of the goods, unless it would not be possible to buy second hand replacements. 

How do I support my claim?

Collect as much evidence of the damage as you can. If possible, don’t throw away the spoilt items – they may be helpful if you can produce them in court. You should also take photographs of any damaged goods, and keep receipts to prove that you’ve had to replace things. If you still have the original receipts for things that have been damaged, it will help to prove their worth. Use our Schedule of Special Damages to record the items. 

Claiming for damage to your health 

You can also claim compensation if you or anyone in your household has been injured or made ill (or their health has got worse) as a result of your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs. The health problems may be physical (eg chest infections caused or worsened by damp, or injuries caused by unsafe stairs) or mental (eg. distress). 

How much can I claim?

The amount of damages you can claim will depend on the severity of the illness. For example, if you’ve been unable to work as a result, you may be able to claim for loss of earnings and for any extra care you’ve needed. 

How do I support my claim? 

You’ll have to prove to the court that the disrepair and your health problem are linked. The disrepair doesn’t have to be the only cause of the health problems, but it must have been a contributing factor. 

For example, if your child has asthma which is made worse by the damp conditions in your home caused by your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs, this would count as a contributing factor to your child’s illness. You may have to produce a surveyor’s report to prove the extent of the disrepair, as well as a medical report from your doctor. 

Contact one of our advisers if you need help with getting these reports. 

Claiming for inconvenience 

You are also entitled to claim compensation if you’ve suffered inconvenience or have not been able to use your home in the normal way as a result of your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs to your home. The amount of compensation awarded by the court will depend on the level of disrepair and the effect that it has had on you.

Claiming back some of your rent 

If you haven’t been able to use your home, or part of it, because of the disrepair, you may be entitled to an abatement (a reduction or refund) of rent. How much you can claim will depend on how much of your home is uninhabitable. If no part of the house can be used, 100% of the rent may be abated. If only part of the house is unusable then the rent will be reduced proportionally. 

Abatement of rent is sometimes claimed under the heading of ‘inconvenience’, but you may be able to claim both, if the inconvenience is something other than the fact that you haven’t been able to use part of the property.  

Alternatives to going to court 

Court action can be complicated and costly, so it might be best to try other options first.  

If your landlord uses a lettings agent to manage your occupation contract, the law says they must be a member of an approved redress scheme.  

Letting agent redress schemes may not be able to award financial compensation. If they do it probably won’t be as much compensation that a court awards you if your court claim is successful. However, they are free to use and there is likely to be less risk and stress. Click here to find out more.

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: June 24, 2024

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.