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Disrepair

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Disrepair claims

Beware of claims management companies encouraging you to make disrepair claims.

We’re aware that some of our customers are being approached by claims management companies, encouraging them to make a claim against SLH for disrepair.

As your landlord, we’re here to help you look after your home, protect you from financial risk and let you know how to report disrepair the right way – directly to us.

Read our FAQs below to find out more about the risks of making a disrepair claim with a claims management company.

What is disrepair?

If we don’t meet our regulatory obligations to keep your home in good repair – including completing repairs in reasonable time and keeping your sanitation, electricity, gas and water supplies in working order – your home could be said to be in disrepair.

What are claims management companies?

Claims management companies target tenants, particularly tenants of social housing landlords, to encourage you to make a disrepair claim.

They are profit-making businesses that usually make up to £500 per referral (whether the claim is genuine or not). They will tell you that your home is in need of repairs and will encourage you to put in a claim against your landlord to get compensation.

They then sell your claim to a solicitor who acts as an intermediary between you and SLH, to represent you and handle the claim on your behalf, for a cost.

Our customers have reported that claims management companies have been pushy, encouraging tenants to sign documents to enter into legal contracts. We suggest that you do not allow these callers into your home or sign anything they ask you to sign.

Entering into any agreement with these companies can put you at significant financial risk.

What are the risks?

Hidden costs

Companies will often tell you they operate on a “no win, no fee” basis. However, we’ve seen examples where our customers have faced thousands of pounds of debt as a result of signing agreements.

They usually also charge a fixed lump sum up front to take out an insurance policy to cover the cost of your claim. This lump sum can be a significant amount.

Any compensation you may receive is likely to be reduced to cover solicitor fees or legal costs (ours and yours, if the claim is unsuccessful).

Fees if you change your mind or court costs if you lose the case

When you have made a claim and signed documentation from a solicitor, you will not usually be allowed you to change your mind and stop the claim. If you do, you may be liable for:

  • Charges of up to £1,000 for the survey they have arranged.
  • Credit agreement charges (often over £500) for “no win, no fee” to cover legal cost insurance.
  • Legal costs if your case goes to court and is dismissed. These could amount to thousands of pounds.

Time and inconvenience

Claims may take years to resolve and you may have to attend court in person to give evidence as part of the process.

You could be in breach of your tenancy

Claims management companies may advise you to not allow SLH to access your home to do any repairs while the claim is in process. This will put you in breach of your tenancy agreement.

It’s our responsibility to make sure your home is safe and well-maintained so we’ll attempt to visit your home to carry out essential safety checks. If there’s a health and safety risk, we may request a court injunction to gain urgent access to do the work.

It affects other services we provide

Defending disrepair cases is expensive. Any money we spend on these claims takes away from funding and resources for repairs, planned investment and support services like our benefits advice and tenancy support services.

What happens if I make a disrepair claim with a claims management company?

If you make a claim, SLH will arrange a survey in your home. We will make a note of any repairs your home needs and check if any of these are repairs you are responsible for, or us as your landlord.

If the survey identifies repairs that are our responsibility, we’ll arrange to visit your home and do the work. We will also check to see if you have reported any of the repairs to us before, in line with your tenancy agreement.

If claims are found to be bogus or dishonest, we will rigorously defend them.

Report disrepair directly to us

If you think your home is in a state of disrepair, don’t deal with a claims management company. Report the issue directly to us.

To report a repair call us on 0330 303 3000 option 1, via mySLH or WebChat on our website or via our social media channels.

If you’re not happy with the repairs service that you have received from us, our feedback process is there to allow you to make a complaint or make a suggestion about how we can improve our services in the future.

You can find full details of our feedback process, including making a complaint on our give your feedback page

Protect yourself from bogus callers

Claims management companies are just one type of bogus caller that may call at your home, posing as South Liverpool Homes or Avela Home Service staff.

Don’t let anyone into your home you are not comfortable with. Never be afraid to ask to see the ID of unknown visitors to your home. All SLH and Avela Home Service staff will carry photo ID with them. If you’re unsure, call us on 0330 303 3000 to check if they are who they say they are.

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South Liverpool Homes Limited is a charitable Community Benefit Society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority No.31210R and registered with the Regulator of Social Housing L4230. Registered office as above.

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