The Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Explained

housing disrepair

The Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair is a process that helps tenants facing poor living conditions in their rented properties. This protocol guides both tenants and landlords on how to address issues of disrepair before any legal action is considered.

The housing disrepair protocol governs civil claims and counter-claims related to disrepair and human habitation in residential properties across England. It emphasises the importance of clear communication between the tenant and the landlord, aiming to resolve disputes over disrepair.

Recognising that tenants experiencing such conditions are going through a challenging period, the protocol serves as a structured path to seek remedy and ensure their homes are safe and habitable.


What is Housing Disrepair?

Housing disrepair occurs when a rented property is not kept in good condition by the landlord. This includes problems like:

  • a leaking roof
  • mould growth, broken heating
  • or any issue making the home unsafe.

For instance, if a tenant finds their windows won’t close, leading to security concerns and water damage, this is a clear disrepair case.


Understanding Pre-Action Protocol For Housing Disrepair

The Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair is a set of guidelines designed to help tenants and landlords resolve the issue of disrepair without needing to go to court. It encourages open communication and sharing of information between the two parties to find a solution to any problems that make a home unsafe or uncomfortable to live in.

Under this protocol, tenants are advised to inform their landlords in writing about the problems, giving clear and full details of the disrepair and its effects on their lives. This is meant to give landlords a fair chance to fix these issues.

If the landlord does not respond, or the response is unsatisfactory, the protocol outlines the steps that should be taken next, including the possibility of starting legal action.

This process is not just about making repairs; it’s about ensuring that tenants live in safe and healthy conditions. For anyone facing housing conditions, understanding and using the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair is a critical first step in seeking remedy and ensuring their rights are protected.


How To Use The Protocol To Initiate Housing Disrepair Claim

To initiate a claim for housing disrepair under the pre-action protocol for housing condition claims, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Disrepair: First, clearly identify all issues related to disrepair within your home. This could include problems such as leaks, mould, or heating failures.

  2. Gather Evidence: Provide evidence of disrepair. This could be photographs, emails, or letters showing attempts to have the issues resolved.

  3. Use the Protocol Sets: Follow the protocol sets outlined in the pre-action protocol. This includes sending a detailed notice to your landlord or local authority, describing the disrepair and the effect it has on you.

  4. Notify the Local Authority or Landlord: Send your evidence and a formal letter of complaint to the landlord or local authority. This letter of claim should detail the disrepair and request repairs within a reasonable timeframe.

Following these steps ensures you’ve adhered to the necessary protocol before considering further legal action, offering a clear path toward resolving housing disrepair issues.

Assess the Disrepair (Housing Conditions)

Identifying and documenting every instance of disrepair within a property is crucial. This step involves recording any issues that compromise the safety, security, and habitability of the living space.

These could range from minor problems like leaking taps to major concerns, such as structural damage or malfunctioning heating systems. Tenants are encouraged to take detailed notes and, if possible, capture photographic evidence of the disrepair.

This documentation not only serves as a record but also strengthens their position when seeking repairs or legal recourse. By consistently noting down each problem, individuals ensure that no aspect of the disrepair is overlooked. This thorough approach is essential for effectively communicating the extent of the issues to landlords, councils, or legal advisers, laying the groundwork for a swift and satisfactory resolution.

Notify Council

Tenants must inform their council in writing when they encounter any disrepair issues within their homes. This step is essential for several reasons.

Firstly, it officially records the problems, ensuring there’s a formal account of the condition and the tenant’s efforts to have it addressed. Providing clear details in the notification helps the council understand the severity and specifics of the disrepair, which can expedite the process of resolution.

Tenants should describe the problems accurately, including how they affect their living conditions, and, if possible, attach photographs or other evidence. This approach not only highlights the urgency of the repairs needed but also establishes a foundation for any further action, should the council not respond appropriately.

Engaging with the council in this manner is a responsible first step towards resolving housing disrepair issues, and safeguarding the tenant’s well-being and rights.


Are You a Victim of Social Housing Disrepair? We’re Here To Help

When a council or landlord does not address issues of disrepair within a property, social housing tenants have the right to seek professional legal advice. Sandstone Solicitors specialise in assisting individuals facing such challenges. They offer expert guidance on how to proceed with a claim for social housing disrepair, ensuring tenants understand their rights and the steps necessary to resolve their situation.

The team at Sandstone Legal works closely with clients, providing support throughout the legal process, whether for housing disrepair claims or other alternative dispute resolutions. They aim to secure a fair resolution, which may include necessary repairs being carried out or compensation for the tenant. With a focus on clear communication and a thorough understanding of social housing law, Sandstone Legal is a reliable partner for those struggling to live in adequate housing conditions. Call us now if you want to discuss more about how Sandstone Legal can help you regarding housing disrepair claims.


What to Expect

Once an individual has proceeded with the housing disrepair process, several key steps follow. These steps ensure that the issues are addressed adequately and that the tenant’s living conditions are improved.

Assessment and Response

Initially, the landlord or housing authority will assess the reported disrepairs. The house must be inspected within 20 working days of receiving the letter or claim. This period allows them to inspect the issues and propose solutions.

Repair Works

Following the assessment, the landlord should organise the necessary repair works. The timeline for these repairs should be communicated to the tenant, ensuring transparency and allowing the tenant to make any necessary arrangements.

Ongoing Communication

Effective communication between the tenant and the landlord is crucial during this phase. Tenants should receive updates on the progress of the repairs and any changes to the agreed timelines.

Legal Advice

If the landlord fails to undertake the agreed repairs within the specified period, the tenant may need to seek legal advice. Sandstone Legal can offer guidance on the next steps, which might include escalating the matter legally to ensure compliance and possibly compensation for the tenant, or to make a claim.


The ultimate goal of this process is to resolve the disrepair issues, ensuring the tenant has a safe and comfortable living environment. Once repairs are completed, tenants should confirm that the work meets the necessary standards and addresses the reported problems.

Taking these steps after initiating the housing disrepair process helps protect tenants’ rights and ensures that landlords fulfill their obligations.

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