basement apartment

Our client was the secure tenant of a Local Authority property (“LA”). His property suffered from structural movement, and serious disrepair including severe cracks in the walls and ceilings, damp and mould. He suffered from anxiety and asthma, and the conditions at the property were affecting his health.

Our client had been complaining to the LA about the state of repair at the property from 2013. The LA had carried out some cosmetic repairs, but had not resolved the larger disrepair issues.

We were instructed in July 2020, following which, we set out the details of the disrepair claim to the LA.  The parties agreed to the instruction of a single joint expert surveyor to inspect the property. The surveyor confirmed structural movement and disrepair at the property and confirmed that the property was not fit for habitation. The expert’s report advised on a proposed schedule which included investigations by a structural engineer and works of repair.  The LA agreed to do repairs but did not confirm that they would carry out investigations into the structural movement as advised by the single joint expert. By November 2021, the LA had made no progress. We therefore sent a Letter Before Claim threating court proceedings if investigations and works were not carried out. The LA still failed to carry out what was required.

We then issued a claim for disrepair against the LA. Despite overwhelming evidence of disrepair and delay by the LA the case proceeded to trial. On the day of the trial, the parties agreed a settlement order ratified by the court. The order set out a strict and detailed programme for investigation and instruction of a structural engineer to report, and advise further on, the structural movement.  The Order also set out a timetable of works and repairs to be done. Our client received £20,000 damages for the time he spent living with the disrepair.

The conducting solicitor was Susan Gronbach from the Housing Team. Counsel was Marina Sergides from Garden Court Chambers.