The Dealing with Disrepair Network for NHC members reconvened this week after a short hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The group, organised by the NHC and Ward Hadaway, was originally formed in response to the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act. Since March 2020 the Act has imposed upon landlords an implied contractual obligation that all properties must be ‘fit for human habitation’ at the start of a new tenancy and will remain so for the duration.
Providing decent quality housing is of course a core priority for the social housing sector, but there is a persisting worry that ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers will exploit the Act, targeting tenants to issue disrepair claims against social landlords seen as a ‘soft touch’.
To counteract this, the Dealing with Disrepair Network was set up to offer a forum for NHC members to share good practice around preventing, mitigating, and challenging unjustified claims. With colleagues from Ward Hadaway guiding and inputting into conversations, attendees have discussed market intelligence and shared technical information pertaining to disrepair, as well network on organisational strategies to deal with disrepair.
Following a meeting in July of last year it was decided that the group would go on a short hiatus, the feeling being that the most pressing concern for organisations was ensuring a continuity of service for repairs and maintenance works during lockdown and to prepare to address a backlog of repairs once lockdown had lifted. With disrepair claims back on the rise, the time felt right to reconvene the group. With around 50 NHC members in attendance, the meeting saw group discussion centre on recent and regional trends to disrepair claims, the continued effects of lockdown on planned maintenance, arranging disrepair inspections, and issues around access and tenant shielding.
The Dealing with Disrepair Network were also the first to hear of the Disrepair Conference being arranged by the NHC and Ward Hadaway. Taking place online on the 7th April, Handling Disrepair Claims: A Journey from Complaints to Costs will see leading practitioners and legal experts share good practice and aim to equip attendees with the confidence and knowledge to challenge spurious claims through asset management and legal approaches. With Disrepair Claims happening and on the rise, the NHC and Ward Hadaway hope the full-day agenda will provide attendees with the advice and tips help move challenging claims ‘in-house’ – upskilling staff, saving time, and offering value for money.
Handling Disrepair Claims: A Journey from Complaints to Costs takes place 7th April 2021, 10.00 – 16.15. Tickets are priced at £99 for NHC members and £129 for non-members. For more information on confirmed topics and speakers, and to book your place, click here:
The Dealing with Disrepair Network is an NHC member only group that meets quarterly. To add your name to the mailing list to be notified of future meetings, email firstname.lastname@example.org