The Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Condition Claims – What you need to know  

Disrepair Claims must usually follow the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Condition Claims (“the Protocol”).  

This means it is vital that all Social Housing Registered Providers are aware of what the Protocol says as it sets the parameters of how to deal with a claim.  

The aims of the Protocol are to avoid unnecessary litigation, promote the speedy and appropriate carrying out of any remedial works that are the landlord’s responsibility, ensure that tenants receive any compensation to which they are entitled as speedily as possible, promote good pre-litigation practice, including the early exchange of information, give guidance about the instruction of experts,  and keep the costs of resolving disputes down. 

The Protocol states that a Letter of Claim should be sent to the landlord at the earliest reasonable opportunity. Upon receiving the Letter of Claim, a landlord must, within 20 working days of receipt (receipt being two working days after posting), provide a response enclosing any disclosure documents and a position on expert instruction.  


Relevant disclosure documents include but are not limited to:  

  1. Tenancy agreement/deeds of assignment/succession papers  
  2. Rent statements  
  3. Certificates i.e. gas, electrical, EPC, asbestos etc 
  4. Contact and repair records  


If your organisation holds any other material relevant to the claim, this should also be provided. If disclosure is not given within the relevant timescale, a tenant should apply to the Court for disclosure.  

The next step is either an expert inspection or a landlord inspection. An expert inspection can either be a single joint instruction meaning one expert will compile a report on behalf of both parties or each party can instruct their own expert and they produce a joint report.  

Once a finalised report is received, a landlord has 20 working days to provide their response which must cover the following: 


(a) Whether liability is admitted and, if so, in respect of which defects 

(b) If liability is disputed in respect of some or all of the defects, the reasons for this 

(c) Any point which the landlord wishes to make regarding lack of notice of the defects or any difficulty in gaining access 

(d) A full schedule of intended works, including anticipated start and completion dates and a timetable for the works 

(e) Any offer of compensation 

(f) Any offer in respect of costs 


Once the landlord’s response has been sent, both parties should take stock to see if they can narrow the issues and avoid litigation. 

It is vital that the time limits within the protocol are met. The timescales given are long stops and the parties are encouraged to comply as soon as possible.   

Once the tenant has complied with all the steps set out in the Protocol, the tenant may issue a claim at Court. It is important to note though that both parties should consider whether some form of alternative dispute resolution would be more suitable than litigation. 

In our experience, good communication prevents unnecessary litigation. It is therefore good practice to inform all parties of appointments in writing and for landlords to discuss the repairs with the tenant when they are being planned. 

A copy of the Protocol can be found here: 

If you or your organisation has any questions surrounding disrepair claims, please contact Beth McKeown from our Disrepair Team via 

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