Compensation claims for subsidence in council or social housing

Living in a house or flat with subsidence can lead to many problems which could create health and safety issues. Has your social landlord left you living in a property which is unsafe due to subsidence?

Our housing disrepair team may be able to help you make a claim for repairs and compensation. We could help you claim for repair work to be carried out and get you compensated for the affect that the disrepair issues caused by the subsidence may have had upon you.

Subsidence occurs when either all or just part of your home begins to slowly sink into the ground. It can be caused by a range of things, including extreme weather, soil type and local industrial activity and localised tree roots. If nothing is done about subsidence it could end up causing serious structural defects and many other problems, so your social landlord should act to prevent this happening. If they haven’t and you are suffering as a result, we can help you.

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Our housing specialists can help you

Here at AWH we believe that no one should be made to live in an unsafe home, so want to help you if your property has been so damaged by subsidence that you have suffered inconvenience and upset and  health and general wellbeing are at risk. Subsidence may in some cases seem like a small problem, but it can actually lead to other problems developing, such as damp, mould, structural issues, and broken windows and doors that leave your home exposed to the elements.

These issues could affect one or several rooms in your house, and may leave you unable to use them. If subsidence has caused another problem such as damp and/or mould, some of your personal possessions might have been damaged too.

If you think that you are experiencing problems as a result of subsidence in your home, our housing specialists might be able to help you make a claim. With our help, you can claim for any associated repairs to be carried out and could be awarded compensation for how your health and wellbeing has been affected.

Please note that we are currently unable to help those living in privately rented housing.

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What is subsidence?

Subsidence is where all or just a part of a property starts to sink into the ground. This puts strain on the building and often results in visible cracks forming. It can lead to visible structural damage to walls, ceiling and floors and can cause many other issues if nothing is done to prevent it getting worse.

Subsidence is often a result of multiple factors, such as:

  • Very wet or very dry weather
  • The type of soil the property is built on
  • Nearby activity such as mining
  • The age of the property
  • Large plants or trees growing nearby
  • Leaking or damaged drains

It may also be caused by serious or long term water leaks. Some common signs of subsidence you should be on the look-out for include:

  • Cracks in external and internal walls which are more than 3mm wide, wider at the top than the bottom, close to doors and windows, and/or diagonal
  • Doors and windows which stick because of warped frames
  • Crinkles in wallpaper where it meets the ceiling
  • Cracks where your extension joins your property

It is always worth knowing how to check for potentially serious issues like subsidence. If you have noticed any of the above signs, you should make your landlord aware of your concerns. If you have already told your social landlord and they haven’t taken action we might be able to help you claim for repairs to be carried out and get you compensated.

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Other problems caused by subsidence

Subsidence can be a very serious problem which can lead to other damage. These issues are often what you might notice first and are what will have a noticeable impact on your life. We find that subsidence which leads to the following issues developing often have good grounds for claims:

All of these issues can be caused by subsidence, and can affect one or multiple rooms in your home. They can also have a negative affect on your physical and mental health. Our experts will be able to assess how badly subsidence has impacted you and your home, which will enable us to help you make a claim for compensation.

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Landlord responsibilities

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Housing Act of 2004 and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, your landlord has a duty to maintain your property’s structure. This means that your landlord is highly likely responsible for repairing and preventing subsidence in your home.

By law, your landlord is responsible for keeping the following in a safe state of repair:

  • Windows and doors
  • External walls
  • The roof
  • Drains, exterior pipes, guttering and water collection
  • The foundation

Subsidence can cause the damage to the above and it can also develop as a result if any of these sections of your house are left damaged. For example, broken guttering can lead to excess moisture collecting in the foundations of your home, which can result in subsidence issues. That is why it is so important for your landlord to properly maintain your home and fix any issues to the exterior of the property when they arise.

If you are noticing any issues with your home you must make the landlord aware of this as soon as is possible.

If your social landlord has failed to carry out subsidence repairs and it has led to problems such as structural defects or damp and mould developing in your home, we may be able to help you make a claim.

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Tenant responsibilities

For the most part, it is your landlord’s responsibility to repair structural issues like subsidence. However, if you have caused the damage which has resulted in a problem developing it will be up to you to pay for the necessary repairs.

You are responsible to monitor and report on all issues that arise in your home to your landlord as soon as you notice them. This allows your landlord to carry out repairs when they are needed and limits the chance of the problem getting beyond repair.

Once you have reported the problem, it is up to your landlord to arrange for it to be resolved. If they fail to do so and it gets significantly worse, we may be able to help you make a claim. Subsidence claims can result in your landlord being instructed to conduct proper repairs. You could be compensated for financial losses, inconvenience and upset and/or any injury that may have been caused to you as a result. However, you won’t be able to make a claim if you haven’t notified your landlord of the issues. You must first speak to your landlord and give them the opportunity to carry out the repairs.

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How we can help you

Subsidence may not seem like a big problem in your home because it often affects properties slowly over time. However, it can often lead to other problems which have a more immediate impact, which is why we want to help you if your social landlord is neglecting their duty to keep your home safe.

If your home has been affected by subsidence or other disrepair issues, we might be able to help you make a claim.

One of our experts will visit your home and assess the damage, which will allow us to establish whether we can help. If we can, we will fight your corner to get the necessary repair work completed and to get you compensated for your suffering.

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