Housing Disrepair Claims for Structural and Exterior Damages

Landlords are responsible for the repair and maintenance of your property’s structure exterior and interior. This is defined in the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 and the Housing Act of 2004.

In general, the landlord is always obliged to keep the exterior in repair. There are two common exceptions to the rule. If the tenant or their guests damage the exterior in any way, willingly or not, they are required to cover the costs of repair. If the tenancy contract exceeds seven years the rule is invalidated.

Our housing disrepair team help you to claim for structural damages and the necessary repairs to be carried out on a no-win no fee basis. We may be able to help you claim compensation for your suffering too.

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What is Structural Damage?

Structural damage refers to any type of damage that affects the integrity or stability of a building. This can include damage to the foundation, load bearing walls, roof, beams, and other load-bearing components of the structure. Structural damage can be serious and even life-threatening, and it’s important that it is identified and repaired as soon as possible to ensure the safety of tenants living in the building.

Causes of Structural Damages

There are several causes of structural damage, including:

Natural Disasters:

Earthquakes, floods, storms, and other natural disasters can cause significant damage to buildings and other structures. High winds and heavy rain can cause roof damage and flooding, whilst earthquakes can cause damage to the foundation and load-bearing walls.

Water Damage:

Water leaks or flooding can cause serious damage to a building’s structure over time, particularly if the damage is not repaired quickly. Moisture can weaken the wood and other building materials, leading to rot and decay.


Termites and other wood-eating insects can cause significant damage to a building’s structural elements. They can consume the wood in walls, floor joists, and other load-bearing elements, weakening the structure and making it more susceptible to collapse.


Old buildings may have an outdated structural system that can’t handle the load. General wear and tear over time can also lead to structural damage.

Improper construction:

Building regulations are in place to ensure that structures are built to certain standards. If a building is constructed with inadequate materials or in an improper way, it may not be able to withstand the forces to which it is subjected, leading to structural damage.

Improper maintenance:

Regular inspection and maintenance is important for the safety and longevity of a building. Neglecting regular maintenance can cause structural elements to degrade and weaken over time, leading to serious damage.

Human-made causes:

Fire, explosion and human-made activities that cause vibrations in the ground, like blasting and construction work near the building can cause structural damage as well.
It’s important to note that structural damage can occur gradually and may not be immediately apparent, which is why regular inspections are recommended. Early identification and repair of structural damage can prevent more serious problems and potential collapse of the building.

What is included in the structure and exterior damages?

The structure and exterior of a building refer to the load-bearing elements of the building and the exterior finishes that protect the interior of the building from the elements. Damage to these elements can have serious implications for the safety and integrity of the building. Use our housing disrepair calculator to check how much compensation you will get for structural damages.

Structure Damage can include:

  • Foundation damage, such as cracks or shifting in the concrete or masonry.
  • Wall damage, including cracks in the brick or siding.
  • Roof damage, such as missing or damaged tiles.
    Beam and joist damage, including rot or warping.
  • Concrete damage, such as cracks in driveways or sidewalks.

Exterior Damage can include:

  • Damage to the building’s siding or cladding, such as peeling paint or missing or damaged siding or bricks.
  • Damage to windows or doors, such as broken or cracked glass or warped frames
  • Damage to the building’s roof, including missing or damaged tiles or shingles.
  • Damage to exterior decks, porches, or stairs, such as rotting wood or uneven surfaces.
  • Damage to gutters or downspouts, such as clogs or leaks.
  • Damage to exterior landscaping, such as overgrown plants or erosion

It’s essential to the tenants and the entire property that the roof is completely water tights. A leaking roof can quickly bring ruin to the entire property. Leaks can result from many different problems. The roof tiles or other roofing materials must be properly fit. Anything loose, broken, or missing can result in water through the insulation.

Obviously, leaking is the most visible indicator, but actual leaking results in very serious damage. More commonly, tenants can observe yellow to dark brown coloured patches on the ceiling, mould and stale air.The roofing is the most manageable repair. Tenants must look for deformation of the shape of the roof. If any is present, then the supports and joists should be checked for problems. Previous water leaks might have weakened the wood or caused it to rot. Weak supports and joists should be fixed with higher priority in order to prevent a potential collapse. It’s both dangerous and extremely costly for the landlord to renovate. Caution is advised.

The external walls must be well maintained to prevent water from going through. Usually, it takes time for the effects of water damage to show. Since the water has a long way to penetrate through the external wall and then build up in the space between it and the drywall. Black mould and coloration of the interior is a definite sign that water is coming through. The walls should be then thoroughly inspected for problematic areas. Sometimes, it can be caused by other faulty parts like the roof, gutters, or even an internal plumbing problem.

Any obvious damage like cracks and holes must be delegated quickly to the landlord. Cracked walls show signs of problems with the foundation or the soil underneath. Bad guttering and nearby trees can cause parts of the wall to subside and damage its integrity. This will also impact the joints between the given wall and the rest of the structure.

If the developer did not property build the house, walls can bulge or bow with time. This effect is most visible in the doors and windows. Often irregular walls inflict pressure on the window or door frame and cause them to not close and open properly. If you see any signs of this, contact your landlord immediately.

Another reason for a leaning wall can be a newly built extension. If the walls is not strong enough to support an expansion, it can start to deform over time. This usually doesn’t happen. Construction firms usually make thorough research if the structure can take the additional weight.

If floor and ceiling joist have rotten, walls can come loose from the other structure. This can also cause leaning and bowing.

Any problems with the foundation are likely to influence the walls as well.

Structural problems are hard and expensive to repair. Make sure to inspect the property on a regular monthly basis and report all problems – big or small – to the landlord.

One of the biggest factors for the heating bills is how weatherproof the property is. Indeed, leaking hot air outside the cold seasons can shoot your heating bill through the roof. Luckily for tenants, the law requires the landlord to proof the property from both wind and rain.

All external windows and doors need to be damp and draught-proof. Weatherproofing a window is fairly easy. Everybody can do it with some draught-proof strips. They are very cheap and easy to apply. Pro-active tenants should implement them as a solution from the start. The money can be then requested by the landlord or deducted by the rent.

If you DIY the problem, make absolutely sure to preserve the receipt for all materials or services that were needed to make the repair possible. Otherwise, you might be denied payment and have no way to prove your case.

As a best practice, tenants should check about draughts in the viewing, or ask the landlord about it. For maximum comfort and savings on the energy bills, you should deal with this issue as fast as possible. However, acknowledge that this repair is not essential and can take some time to fix.

The same would apply to the external doors.

Make sure the window and door glass should be fixated well in the respective frame. Any movement of the glass will indicate that there are draught and damp problems.

If the issues are severe, tenants might notice the room getting too cold, even if the heating is turned on.

Finally, and the most obvious (but also controversial) indicator is black mold along the sealant. It will tell you that moisture is somehow getting in between the window and the wall.

This factor can be controversial. Bad heating and ventilation (caused by the tenant) will result in high condensation on the window. Thus, a similar black mould would appear along the window sealant.

During heavy rains fo a longer period of time, the gutters can save or break a property. Faulty, loose, or blocked gutters can slush huge amounts of water along the exterior walls and can damage them severely over time. It takes considerably more money and effort to repair external and internal walls than to repair a loose gutter.

You must make average checks to your guttering from time to time. Try to take a look at the house during a rainy session. If you notice water running along the windows or walls, it’s time to check the gutters for issues.

If you have a garden, you need to clarify with the landlord who is responsible for the garden maintenance. In many cases, landlords include garden maintenance as part of the tenants’ responsibilities. This can be perfectly legal, and tenants should respect that chore as if demanded by the law. If you do not wish to maintain the garden of your rented property, you must delegate it to the landlord. Only if the landlord agrees, you can be amended by that responsibility.

Garden design, however, is something entirely different. If you want to change the design, layout, or features of your garden, you will also need your landlord’s written permission. Garden design is treated the same as interior design and any alteration must be approved by the landlord. Otherwise, you might be forced to return to the previous look of the garden. You might lose a lot of money, so always make sure you’re permitted to change the garden.

Otherwise, the garden fence, post, driveway, and patio are also up to the landlord to repair. The garden fence and post might be the property of another landlord, or joint property of your landlord and your neighbours. To find out who exactly owns the fence on either side of the property, you can purchase a plan from the Land Registry. If it belongs to the property of your neighbour’s landlord, you cannot hold your own responsibility. That said, seek their assistance for easier communication with the actual owner.

It’s the landlord’s job to provide you with a safe home and maintain an agreeable living standard on the property. This includes handling most of the vital repairs and improvements. However, this can only happen as a result of the tenant’s cooperation. Landlords don’t make inspections every day and it can take a while to find a flaw in their own property. Thus, tenants are responsible to monitor the property and report all problems to the landlord as they happen. At most, it’s possible to annoy your landlord with frequent requests for minor repairs. However, it’s also in their best financial interest to fix issues as soon as they appear.

Polite and effective communication between you and your landlord is vital to a positive rental experience. Should you have to move on and require a reference, the care you have demonstrated as a tenant will reflect in the reference your landlord gives you.

If you have caused damage to the exterior of the building, you should take photos of the damage and send them in an email or letter to your landlord. Ensure the date is included in the letter and keep a copy for your own records. Let your landlord know that you will take the necessary steps to repair or replace what has been damaged. Ask if they have any preferred tradesmen or companies, they would like you to work with.

If you do not carry out these repairs or they are carried out to a poor standard you could face eviction and deductions from your deposit.

If you find anything wrong with the exterior write a formal letter to the landlord and request repairs.

If you cannot get in touch with the landlord at all, you need to seek help from the Environmental Health Department at your Local Council. They have the authority to serve an improvement notice to your landlord. If they ignore the improvement notice as well, they will be punishable. For severe problems, the property can be taken out of circulation, as it’s unfit for human habitation to the standard required by law.

In all types of disrepair, you will need to allow a ‘reasonable’ amount of time for the landlord to arrange an inspection and implement repairs. If you feel that the landlord is taking more than a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to act, contact them again by all available means. Always include a formal letter, as it can be legitimately used as evidence in court.

Depending on the severity of disrepair, vulnerability, risk of hazard, and the potential effect on health vulnerability reasonable time could be 1 week to 2 months.

If unsure contact us free for housing disrepair advice on 0161 697 5959

How to make a housing disrepair claim for Structural Damage?

If you believe that your landlord is responsible for structural damage to your rental home, you may be able to make a housing disrepair claim. Here are the general steps you can take to make a claim:

Inspect the damage:

Carefully inspect the property and document the damage, including taking photos and writing down a description of the issue. Be specific about what is damaged, where it is located and how it affects your use of the property.

Notify your landlord:

Contact your landlord in writing and inform them of the damage. It is important to note that your notification and complaints are done in writing (letter, e-mail or even text messages) to prove that the notification or complaint was made. Explain the problem, including when and how it started, and provide them with the evidence you have collected. Give your landlord a reasonable time to repair the damage.
Give an opportunity to repair: Landlords are responsible for ensuring that their properties are safe and in a good state of repair. The first step is to give them an opportunity to repair the damage if they are willing to do so.

Escalate the claim:

If the landlord fails to take action or the repair is unsatisfactory, you may need to escalate the claim. You can contact the housing department of your local council, who can inspect the property and order the landlord to make repairs if necessary.

Seek legal advice:

If the landlord continues to fail to carry out repairs or is simply ignoring your complaints, then you may want to seek legal advice. A lawyer can advise you on your rights and options, and help you take legal action against your landlord if necessary.

Keep records of correspondence and expenses:

Keep a record of any correspondence with the landlord and any expenses you incur as a result of the disrepair, such as the cost of temporary accommodation if you are forced to move out, it could help your case if you decide to pursue a housing disrepair claim against them go to court.

It’s important to keep in mind that this process may vary depending on the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction you are in, and it’s always recommended to seek legal advice from our housing disrepair solicitors before proceeding with the claim.

How our solicitors help you in your structural damages case

Our solicitors can provide you with legal advice, representation, and guidance throughout the process of making a housing disrepair claim for structural damage. This will be done on a no win no fee basis. They can help you by:

Advising you on your rights and responsibilities:

one of our solicitors can advise you on your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant, as well as the rights and responsibilities of your landlord.
Gathering evidence: They can help you gather and organize the evidence you have collected, such as photographs and written descriptions of the damage, to strengthen your case.

Communicating with your landlord:

Our solicitors can communicate with your landlord on your behalf and ensure that they understand your concerns and the evidence you have presented.
Preparing and issuing a claim:

If necessary, your solicitor can help you prepare and issue a claim against your landlord in court. They can help you to make the case that your landlord is responsible for the structural damage and that you are entitled to compensation for any losses you have incurred, as a result of the disrepair.

Representing you in court:

A solicitor or a barrister they instruct can represent you in court, advocating on your behalf and making sure that your rights are protected.
Negotiating a settlement:

If appropriate, they can negotiate a settlement with your landlord or their representative, to avoid the case going to court.

Advising you on your options:

They will keep you updated on the case, giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your claim.

Having our solicitors on your side, who are experts in housing law and housing disrepair claims, maximises the chances of a positive outcome in your claim.