Be wary of disrepair claims companies

Disrepair Claims


We’re aware that some of our tenants are being approached by Claims Management Companies about making a claim against us for disrepair.

These companies are not always what they seem. They may not give you all the information you need before you agree to work with them, and they could put you at serious financial risk.

As your landlord, we’re here to help and look after you and your home. We want to protect you from these companies and explain the factors and risks you need to consider if you’re thinking of making a claim.

We remind you that should you wish to report a disrepair, the contact number is 01229 876578.

If you are dissatisfied with our response, we have a complaints procedure on our Feedback & Complaints page.

If you are still dissatisfied with our findings on your complaint then you can refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service, to which the Council is a signatory Make a complaint - Housing Ombudsman (

What is disrepair?

If we don’t meet our obligations to keep your home in repair – including completing repairs we’re responsible for in reasonable time, and keeping installations for sanitation, electricity, gas and water supplies in working order – your home could be said to be in disrepair.

What are Claims Management Companies?

They are companies that approach tenants and, often, tenants of social housing landlords, with marketing tactics to encourage you to make a claim for disrepair. They then sell your claim to solicitors who act as intermediaries between you and your landlord (in this case us) and represent you and handle the claim on your behalf.

Any agreement with these companies can potentially put you at financial risk.

We are aware of incidents where representatives of these companies pose as surveyors purporting to be from the Council. They are not. All of our teams carry Westmorland and Furness Council identification badges, so make sure you ask to see their ID before letting them into your home.

If you’re unsure who someone is, we recommend that you do not let them into your home.

What are the Risks Involved?

Hidden costs

These companies will usually tell you that they operate on a “no win, no fee” basis. But we’ve seen examples of where tenants have failed in their claims and have faced thousands of pounds in costs orders resulting in a County Court Judgement against them.

They can charge a fixed lump sum up front to take out an insurance policy to cover the costs of your claim. This lump sum can be a significant amount. Any potential compensation you receive from a claim may be reduced to cover solicitor’s fees and/or legal costs (ours and yours if your claim is unsuccessful).

Fees if you change your mind

When you have put forward a claim and signed documentation from a solicitor, they may not allow you to stop the claim if you later change your mind. If you want to stop the process, you may be liable for fees for any surveys of your home, or the fixed premium for any insurance policy you were advised to take out.

If your case goes to court and is dismissed, you could be ordered to pay our legal costs, which could be significant and will result in a County Court Judgement against you.

It takes a long time to resolve

Some claims can take years to resolve, and you may have to appear in court to give evidence as part of the process, which can be distressing.

You could be in breach of your tenancy agreement

As your landlord, it’s our responsibility to ensure your home is safe and kept in good repair, so we’ll attempt to visit your home anyway having given you notice of our visit. If there’s a health and safety risk, we may request urgent access to do the work.

It affects other services we provide.

Dealing with disrepair claims is extremely expensive for us. Any money we spend on these claims takes away from funding and resources for repairs, planned investment and essential support services. This can have a detrimental impact on our neighbourhoods.

What happens if I make a claim?

We’ll arrange for a surveyor to carry out a survey in your home.

During the survey, they’ll make a note of any repairs your home needs and check if we need to charge you for any damage.

If the survey identifies repairs that are our responsibility, we’ll arrange to visit your home and do the work.

We’ll also check our records to see whether you have reported any of the repairs to us before, in line with your tenancy agreement. The Council will defend any claims that are brought without merit.

We’re here to help

It is really important to us that you’re happy with the services we provide for you. We’ll do everything we can to support you and look after your home, so that you don’t end up feeling like you have to make a claim against us. But if you are unhappy with any part of our repairs service, please get in touch – the contact number is 01229 876365.

Other support

You can also access independent help and advice from other organisations, including: