We are aware that many of our residents have recently been contacted by various disrepair claim companies promising to win them compensation by making a disrepair claim against Warrington Housing Association.
The goal of these companies is to make money by generating referrals to solicitors who will pay hundreds of pounds for each case that is sent to them, whether there is a genuine claim or not.
We want you to understand your rights and know how to resolve any disrepair issues directly with us.
What’s the issue?
Disrepair claims companies have been targeting housing association tenants with the promise of compensation on a no win, no fee basis.
They will try to persuade you that your home requires repair and will often use tactics such as claiming they work on behalf of Warrington Housing Association to try and gain access to your property.
We are told they can be very forceful and will expect you to sign a contract straight away.
What’s the reality?
If you agree to go ahead with the claim, the disrepair claim company will send your details to a solicitor, who will pay them a referral fee.
Disrepair claims can take a long time to resolve, in some cases up to two years. Solicitors often advise residents not to allow us (Warrington Housing Association) access to your property to carry out repairs. This means it can take longer for the repairs to be completed and you could also be in breach of your tenancy agreement if you followed this advice.
Contracts with solicitors usually set out charges that you would be liable for if you decided to withdraw the claim, for example survey and credit agreement charges. Additionally, you could be liable for Court costs if the claim is unsuccessful.
Disrepair claims can be very costly, both financially and in terms of the time spent dealing with the claim. As a small Housing Association with few colleagues, these claims have a big impact meaning there are less funds and colleague time available to complete repairs, deliver planned maintenance and provide services.
The only winners in these cases are the disrepair claims companies and the solicitors whose fees and costs often far exceed any compensation that is awarded.
Some residents even end up losing money – take a look at the recent news from another local housing provider: https://www.torus.co.uk/news/meritless-disrepair-claim-costs-torus-tenant-3622/
What are your rights?
You do not have to let claim company representatives into your home. If anyone comes to your home saying they are from Warrington Housing Association, always ask to see their ID as all WHA colleagues & contractors carry a photo ID card. WHA and its contractors will always arrange appointments in advance so you should be suspicious of any unscheduled visits. You could also contact us on 01925 246810 to check before speaking with the visitor.
You do not have to sign a contract immediately. Always read through any documents including all the small print before signing them. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. If you don’t understand anything, ask for clarification.
You can change your mind. If you sign a contract during a home visit or even afterwards by post, you have a legal right to cancel the contract within 14 days without any consequences. This cooling off period is a legal requirement for all contracts that are entered into remotely, even if this is not set out in writing.
What can you do if you have genuine disrepair in your home?
WHA is committed to keeping its properties in a good state of repair. If you have any outstanding repairs or feel you have a case of disrepair in your home, we would urge you to report it to us so we can investigate the situation and put things right.
The easiest way to report a repair is by visiting https://www.wha.org.uk/im-a-resident/report-a-repair/
If you are unhappy with any aspect of our service, please speak to us first so we can try to reach a solution. Further information can be found at https://www.wha.org.uk/im-a-resident/complaints-comments-questions/
Alternatively you can telephone our customer service team on 01925 246810