Categorized | Residential

Knowing what to do if you’re landlord is responsible for a dangerous environment

Living in a home where there are health hazards present is not only dangerous but also stressful, especially if you have a landlord who refuses to make the appropriate repairs. Many times, renters feel powerless to fix the situation and stuck in a home that is detrimental to their health. However, there are actions you can take against your landlord to get him or her to act in accordance with the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985, which guarantees your right to live in a safe environment. Here’s how to take your home–and your life–back.

Know what qualifies as a dangerous environment. Many times, things that make up unsafe living conditions are parts of your home that you can’t see easily. For example, you may not be aware the the electrical wiring is faulty when you move in; likewise, it’s hard to see right away when roof tiles are loose or when your insulation contains asbestos. These situations can either lead to serious injuries or serious health complications, therefore it is the responsibility of the owner of the property to fix them.

Read your lease agreement before signing. It’s often a tedious task to read all the fine print of a lease agreement, but it could save you from surprises should your rental go awry. Know what the landlord has agreed to fix upfront so that you can ask questions about the condition of the property before signing on the dotted line.

Keep a diligent record. In your attempts to get your landlord to address a pressing repair issue, it’s important to document all of your communication with him or her. A good idea is to handle all of your correspondence through email so that you have not only a record of what was said but also a timestamp.

File a claim. If you have already experienced a deterioration in health from living in your home, you can is to hire a solicitor that can act on your behalf. There are firms, such as Irwin Mitchell, that specialise in negligence from landlords that can help you win personal injury compensation for the damage already caused by conditions like asbestos.

Reach out to the local council. If your landlord is still slow to respond, reluctant to make repairs or insisting on insufficient repairs, your last and most effective recourse is to find out who to contact from your local council. This will most likely be an environmental health officer who has dealt with this kind of situation before and can use the influence of the council to get your landlord to act in a reasonable time frame and with repairs that actually address the danger of your living environment. And in extreme cases, the environmental health officer can also take your landlord to court.

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