Your rights as a social housing tenant
The law on water and gas leaks in the UK
A gas or water leak, electrical fault and/or poor sanitation installation can end in devastating consequences, so it is important that it is dealt with quickly. Not only can they be immediately harmful, but these types of problems can also lead to other disrepair issues such as:
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Housing Act 2004, and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 all state that landlords have a duty to ensure that gas appliances, electrical appliances and plumbing works are safe and functional.
Your landlord must make sure that the gas supply and any gas appliances, the electricity supply and any electric installations/appliances and sanitation installations they provide are in a safe condition. They must also be fitted by a registered engineer, appropriately qualified electrician or plumber and have a gas safety check every twelve months. All plumbing, electrics and water works must be safe for human use, so must not leak or cause you harm.
We understand how stressful and worrying it is to live in a property that is unsafe, and what an impact it can have on your life. If your housing association or local authority has failed to make sure that gas and/or water leaks in your home are resolved quickly and effectively and you have suffered as a result, we may be able to help you claim for the repairs and compensation.
As we mentioned above, your landlord is responsible for arranging annual gas safety checks in your home if they have provided gas appliances for you. This might include cookers, boilers, fires, pipework and water heaters.
If you haven’t had a check done in the last year, contact your landlord and ask for one to be arranged. If they refuse you can contact the Health and Safety Executive, who can force them to arrange one.
After the inspection the engineer will give your landlord a gas safety record. If there have been any issues raised it’s your landlord’s responsibility to get them fixed.
Your landlord is also responsible for making sure your home has running water, functional plumbing and pipes, has safe electricity supply, installations and appliances and that all sanitation installations are in good condition. If they fail to do so and it results in problems which cause damage to your property and belongings, you could make a claim for compensation.
If your social landlord refuses to get gas checks, adequately fix broken appliances or plumbing, and generally ignores the harm they are causing you, we can help you.
Like landlords, tenants in social and council homes have responsibilities to prevent gas and water leaks, electrical faults or sanitation issues too. It will more than likely outline in your tenancy agreement that you must maintain a good level of repair whilst you are living in the property.
This means that you must not damage any of the property or appliances and furniture that came with it. If you do, you have to arrange for it to be fixed or replaced.
For example, if you cause damage to a water pipe which leads to a leak, your landlord does not have to pay for this to be fixed. Likewise if you damage a gas cooker and it results in a leak, you are responsible for fixing or replacing it, unless the cooker was faulty to begin with.
Housing disrepair issues
Gas leaks in any property can be highly dangerous. They can lead to fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning. This is why it is so important that your landlord takes immediate action to repair faulty gas appliances that they have provided.
Some signs of there being a gas leak in your home are:
- Hissing or whistling coming from gas appliances such as hobs or ovens
- Dead houseplants
- A smell similar to rotten eggs
- A white dusty-looking cloud near a gas line, like a gas heater
- Visible damage in a gas pipe
- Bubbles in water
- Much higher gas bills than usual
You might not notice these signs straight away, so it’s a good idea to be aware of how a gas leak can physically affect you. For example, you might experience:
- Headaches, lightheadedness and dizziness
- Breathing difficulties and chest pains
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Irritated eyes and throat
- Nausea and reduced appetite
- Ringing your ears
It is your landlord’s responsibility to make sure all gas appliances that they have provided are working and are safe, so if you suspect they are not you must take action. Alert your landlord or if more urgent, the emergency services, and request that a gas safety check is carried out.
If your social landlord refuses to arrange an inspection, it might be time to take legal action. We may be able to help you make a claim for compensation and repairs depending on the circumstances. We understand that a landlord’s refusal to carry out essential repairs is not only frustrating but also a danger to your health, so we want to help you get the result you need and deserve.
Water leaks and sanitation problems can occur inside and outside of your home. The plumbing or internal pipes can be faulty or burst, or the roof and external pipes can cause water to leak into the property.
Leaks from sanitation installations and/or bathrooms can cause damage to your property and any surrounding plasterwork/flooring/subfloor. Water leaks can cause problems with localised electrical supply/installations/appliances. If leaks do occur around electrics then the issue should be reported to the landlord and checks should be undertaken to ensure safety of ongoing use of the electricity supply.
Leaks can cause water damage which can lead to other disrepair issues that may significantly affect your life. For instance, a leaking roof may cause structural damage like rotten woodwork, which can make your home dangerous to live in. Leaks can also cause damp and mould to develop, which can attract pests and make you ill.
We often meet with clients who have suffered from breathing issues and even developed asthma as a result of living in a home affected by damp and mould.
Damp and mould can seriously increase your risk of developing respiratory problems and infections. You might notice symptoms like:
- A painful cough
- Skin rashes
- Breathing difficulties
- Flu symptoms
- Red, watery eyes
If you have any of the above symptoms, and can see damp and/or mould which has developed from a water leak in your home, it is important that you inform your social landlord straight away.
Faults can occur in the electrical supply at your home and can prove to be very dangerous and a risk to safety. Faulty electrical installations and appliances can pose a risk of fire if left unchecked.
You must all electrical faults to your landlord immediately and ask them to check the electrical safety at your property as a matter of urgency. You should also report any water leaks at the property that may have impacted upon the electrical supply/installations/appliances in the same way.
The landlord should deal with such repair/checks immediately as the matters is deemed urgent. If the landlord fails to do works within a day or so we may be able to help you.
Some of the signs of there being an electrical fault that requires repair in your home are:
- Socket/switch failure
- Tripping fuses
- Sparking/flashes/charred appliances
- Water dripping from electrical installations
- Burning smells/smoking/smouldering
If you suspect that you that there are electrical problems you should alert your landlord immediately or if more urgent, the emergency services.
If the landlord refuses to take action, our housing disrepair specialists are likely able to help you. You don’t have to suffer any longer. We want to help you get the repairs you need done as soon as possible so that you can get back to full health and live in a safe home.
Get started with your housing disrepair claim
Expert support and guidance
If you live in a council or housing association owned property and you have experienced water or gas leaks, faulty electrics and poor sanitation in your home, our housing disrepair specialists can offer you advice tailored to your situation.
Our team have years of experience helping people who have been seriously affected by disrepair, gas and water leaks, faulty electrics and poor sanitation installation and all associated damage. We can help you by assessing your circumstances and getting you compensated for your suffering.
All our housing disrepair cases are handled on a no win, no fee basis.
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