A guide to making a No Win No Fee housing association accident claim
When renting properties to tenants, public bodies such as housing associations must abide by certain rules to ensure that the property is maintained in a sanitary condition, and that residents are not put in danger due to poor maintenance.
Failure to perform regular checks and implement a program of repairs could result in tenants sustaining injuries or illnesses ranging from cuts and lacerations to burn and scald injuries, to serious respiratory problems, such as asthma.
To make a successful claim, it must be shown that the party responsible for the property, in these cases the Housing Association, knew about the problem and failed to take the necessary steps to fix in a reasonable timeframe.
What are the responsibilities of the housing association?
Housing association landlords must ensure that the properties they lease to tenants are kept in a liveable and sanitary condition. By law, they are responsible for:
- Keeping the boiler, plumbing systems and electrical heating equipment in good repair
- Keeping the roof, walls and plasterwork in good repair and watertight
- Fixing any leaking pipes, guttering and other signs of water ingress
- Tackling problems with damp and mould.
Depending on the terms of the lease or rental agreement, the housing association may also be responsible for maintaining other facilities such as the garden or the kitchen appliances.
A solicitor will assist with the identification of who is responsible for your injuries, and therefore who the claim should be made against, when you start your claim.
What are the risks arising from poorly-maintained properties?
Living in a property that does not meet basic sanitation and safety standards can pose a risk to human health. Some of the common problems experienced by tenants and their families include:
- Leaks and damp conditions that, if not tackled in timely manner, could cause mould-related illnesses such as asthma, especially in young or vulnerable residents
- Poorly maintained premises that can cause slip, trip and fall accidents or other injuries from collapsing ceilings, broken handrails and defective balconies
- Faulty wiring that poses a greater-than-average fire risk
- Poorly maintained and lit common areas such as stairwells, which can cause slip, trip and fall accidents
- Problems with windows and doors, which can cause condensation to build up leading to damp or mould growth, and may prevent escape in the event of fire
- Poor quality or incorrectly fitted boilers that can emit toxic fumes such as carbon monoxide, which can be fatal in some circumstances.
Making a Housing Association accident claim
Housing associations do not live in the properties they own and are not in a position to know about every defect that may arise in each individual unit.
To make a successful claim, it must therefore be established that:
- The housing association was notified of the hazard before the injury; and
- The housing association had a reasonable amount of time to make the necessary repairs, before the injury occurred.
Housing Association have a legal duty to respond to complaints as soon as reasonably possible.
The response time is usually interpreted as within 20 working days, but what is considered a "reasonable" amount of time will depend on the nature of the complaint.
If the complaint relates to an extremely serious, even life-threatening defect, the association may be expected to respond much sooner.
If the Housing Association is responsible for repairing the defect and they fail to do so within a reasonable time, then it may be possible to pursue a claim for compensation for the illness or injury a tenant or member of the public sustains as a result.
No Win, No Fee housing association compensation claims
No Win, No Fee housing association claims effectively begin once a Claimant signs, with their preferred solicitor, a Conditional Fee Agreement, or CFA,.
The CFA is essentially the contract or "terms and conditions" between you and your personal injury solicitor. The document details the work executed by the solicitor handling your case and a "success fee" to be taken from the compensation after your case is successful.
By selecting a Quittance personal injury lawyer, you will have complete peace of mind with the knowledge that that you will never be out of pocket.
What should happen next?
Find answers to questions asked by people seeking claims advice in the FAQ section.
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