A helpful article in Inside Housing last week from Riverside's CEO about the cost of disrepair claims.
Of course, there are valid claims and difficult issues in funding repairs backlogs.
It is right though to highlight the fact that "bad practice" claims are not rare. Cases, where damages agreed at £500 to £3,000, are routinely followed by exorbitant and disproportionate costs bills of £30-£50k. Where cases are pursued that the tenant does not know about and is not giving active instructions on. Where contested trials are aborted with wasted costs orders as the tenant has not been provided with the trial bundle by their own solicitor, wasting costs for all and court time.
If/when a fixed costs regime lands limiting the costs that can be claimed, will the claims farmers move on?
The proliferation of so-called ‘claims farms’ targeting social housing tenants was raised in parliament last month and with the government planning to extend fixed costs to include housing disrepair, Carol Matthews discusses whether the reforms go far enough. I want to be clear from the outset: we stand alongside our customers in wanting to speed up the resolution of cases of disrepair – all tenants have a right to live in a decent, well-maintained home, and hold their landlord to account when they fail to deliver an acceptable service. And that includes Riverside. ..... also in need of legal reform, and I’m not afraid to say so. We need to root out malpractice involving the targeting of tenants, particularly those with a range of vulnerabilities, and the profiteering that some unscrupulous claims management companies (CMCs) and legal firms are promoting.....