“From Inside Housing” ‘No win, no fee’ lawyers targeting tenants of ‘soft touch’ social landlords

Social housing tenants are being targeted by unscrupulous lawyers seeking to profit from new legislation intended to raise standards in rented homes, experts have warned.

Solicitors are knocking on front doors across social housing estates telling tenants not to allow their landlords to carry out repairs and then pursue a claim under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 on a “no win, no fee” basis.

Lord Best, chair of the Affordable Housing Commission, said councils and housing associations are seen as a “soft target” because they can be seen by these firms as “gullible” and “sometimes lazy”.

In contrast, he added, the legislation has had “very little impact” in the private rented sector because tenants fear retaliation from landlords, who also may not be able to afford compensation payouts.

“We’ve got to fight back and not allow unfair cases to proceed in the social housing sector, while in the private rented sector very little is happening at all,” said Lord Best.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 adds hazards listed in the government’s housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) to requirements set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, making it easier for renters to take legal action for a wider range of disrepair issues.

It came into force for new tenancies in March 2019 and for existing tenancies in March 2020.

This article was taken from the Inside Housing, click here to read the full article

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