Repairs and maintenance
If you’ve been approached by a company about making a disrepair claim against us here’s some information you should know.
Thinking of making a claim against us? We’re here to help.
Our customers are being approached by companies who encourage them to make a compensation claim against us for disrepair.
While you are entitled to do this, in many cases these companies are not what they seem. They may not give you all the information you need before you agree to work with them, and they could put you at serious financial risk.
On this page you’ll find more information about these companies, the risks involved in pursuing claims and how we can help to avoid you needing to make a claim.
Disrepair is when we don’t meet our commitments to keep your home in a good state of repair. For example, this could mean not completing repairs we’re responsible for in reasonable time or making sure your electricity, gas, and water supply is in working order.
Claims management companies target tenants of social housing landlords to encourage them to make a claim for disrepair. They sell your claim to legal representatives who act as intermediaries between you and your landlord and represent you and handle the claim on your behalf for a fee.
Sometimes people from these companies visit homes and try to gain access by claiming they are working on behalf of GreenSquareAccord and that they are there to complete a survey on your home.
For your safety, you shouldn’t let anyone in to your home unless they show you the correct identification – all our colleagues carry GreenSquareAccord identification.
If you’re unsure who someone is, do not let them in. If you feel unsafe, call the police and let us know.
An agreement with these companies can put you at significant financial risk.
They usually say they operate on a no win, no fee basis, but there are examples where customers have faced thousands of pounds of debt.
They often charge a large, fixed sum up front to take out an insurance policy to cover the cost of your claim. Any compensation you receive may reduce to cover solicitor fees or legal costs.
Once you have started a claim and signed the documentation, very rarely will you be allowed to change your mind and stop the claim. In most cases if you want to stop the claim, you will be liable to pay up to £1,000 for the cost of the survey.
If your case goes to court and is dismissed, you could also be ordered to pay our legal costs, which could be thousands of pounds.
Even if your claim is successful, it is extremely unlikely you will receive a significant amount of damages. While the company might say they claim half of any damages, they will pursue costs separately, which make up the bulk of any payment. They will normally receive around 80-90% of any award.
There is a protocol that the courts expect you to follow before making a disrepair claim.
The protocol says:
- You should make a formal complaint and follow our complaints procedure before taking legal action.
- If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you should escalate it to the Housing Ombudsman Service.
- Legal action should be a last resort – you might be asked to provide evidence that you have tried to resolve your dispute out of court.
If you have not followed our complaints procedure before making a disrepair claim, it is likely to be rejected or delayed.
Disrepair claims can take years to resolve - you will need to spend time completing forms and other administration associated with the claim and you may also be asked to attend court to give evidence.
Claims affect our services – defending these claims is extremely costly for us. We are a not-for-profit organisation and the more we spend doing this the less we have to invest in repairs, improvements, and other services.
You could breach your tenancy agreement – sometimes companies managing these claims will advise you not to allow access to your home. This is a breach of your tenancy agreement. If you refuse access to complete important safety checks, we will request a court injunction to gain access.
A surveyor from GreenSquareAccord will visit your home to do a survey. If the survey identifies repairs that are our responsibility, we’ll arrange to visit your home and do the work.
You will need to give us access to your home to complete a survey if you make a claim against us.
The courts view our surveyors as expert witnesses, and this means they also have a duty to the court.
Our surveyor will check if we need to charge you for any property damage during your tenancy. We’ll also check our records to see whether you have reported any of the repairs to us previously, in line with your tenancy agreement.
If you are found to have made a bogus claim the legal costs will fall on you and these can be significant.
How we can help
We know that repairs are one of the most important services you receive, and we want to make sure we meet your expectations.
If you are not happy with our repairs service, please contact us and we will do everything we can to resolve this.
You can read more about repairs service, including our responsibilities, on our repairs and maintenance page.
If you’re not happy with our service, you can make a complaint. For more information on how to do this visit our complaints and compliments page.