Disrepair and the importance of a good post inspection  

As Registered Providers of Social Housing see an increase in the number of disrepair claims they are receiving from tenants, now more than ever, they need to understand the importance, not only of getting the works done, but of ensuring that there is an effective and accurately recorded post inspection.   

Landlords spend a significant amount of time and money dealing with legal disrepair claims. There are often issues around which repairs the Landlord actually has to undertake, access difficulties with the tenant and the usual arguments in connection with notice. This often preoccupies the parties from ensuring that when works are done, it is accurately recorded and that the tenant agrees all works are done.    

If the repairs are done quickly and effectively, Landlords will inevitably reduce the amount of money spent on a disrepair claim.    

All too often the repairs are done, but we do not get sufficient evidence to prove that fact should the matter end up in Court.   

Some organisations will ask the tenant to sign a letter which confirms that all works are complete, and others simply get their verbal agreement.   

With this in mind, here we share some best practice guidance to assist Landlords. 

Here is our best practice post inspection advice: 

  1. An in-house surveyor and/or operative should post inspect at the end of the final day of works. 
  2. If that is not possible then a post inspection appointment should be arranged within seven days of the works being completed.  
  3. An appointment letter should be sent to the tenant setting the date and time of the post inspection at least three days beforehand. 
  4. At the post inspection the in-house Surveyor and/or operative should do the following: 

(a) Check off each item on their expert’s Scott Schedule to ensure the works have been done to an adequate standard.   

(b) Take a picture of each item so that they can prove that the repair has been completed.   

(c) Ask the tenant to sign and to tick each item on the expert Scott Schedule to confirm they agree it has been done. This also needs to be dated.  

If there are any snagging and/or outstanding works, these should be raised as a matter of urgency, and if there are any additional works which fall outside the disrepair claim these should be clearly recorded and raised.   

Alongside the Scott Schedule which the tenant has signed it may also be good practice to ensure the tenant signs a letter to confirm they agree that all of the works in accordance with the Scott Schedule are complete.   

If your organisation follows this best practice procedure at the end of a disrepair claim, it will have the following benefits: 

  • If you are liable for the disrepair the Landlord will have to pay the tenant’s solicitors costs. 

The tenant’s solicitor’s hourly rate costs are payable when the repairs are outstanding. Once repairs are complete it is arguable they should only be awarded fixed fee costs. 

This means if we can prove that repairs are complete then the clock effectively stops on the hourly rate of tenant’s solicitor costs.   

This will in effect will save Landlords money.  

  • If the works have not been done to an adequate standard by a contractor, the issues will be picked up quickly and you can liaise with the tenant and the contractor to ensure that they are resolved as a matter of urgency, thus reducing the risk of the tenant going through their Solicitor, which inevitably will only increase costs long term.   
  • It would provide the Landlord with solid admissible evidence that repairs are done should the matter be litigated at Court, which will aid in a Landlord’s Defence.   
  • If the matter has already settled, then it will allow you to prove at that point that the Landlord had complied with settlement and avoid any breach settlement proceedings.   
  • If the Landlord has denied liability, it will enable you to evidence the position at that date and time should any further second claim be received.   

Contact us, we are here to help

Should you or your organisation have any disrepair claims which you would like to discuss with the MSB Social Housing and Regeneration Team please do not hesitate to contact the Head of the team, Louise Murphy.