The government has launched an online checker in a bid to avoid disputes between landlords and tenants over the entitlement for repairs.
A joint exercise by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Ministry of Justice, the tool will take individuals through a guided pathway to establish what the issue is and offer them tailored information, guidance and signposting.
The government says this aims to help both sides of the issue understand their rights and responsibilities, and identify an appropriate next step when trying to resolve issues before their problems escalate.
At a key stage in the checker, it tells anyone who has admitted that they have stopped paying rent: “You should continue to pay rent even if your landlord has not carried out repairs. Otherwise you may be at risk of eviction.”
Depending on the answers to questions during the process, the online checker also asks the user: “Are you concerned you will be evicted for asking for repairs?” And: “Is your landlord or letting agent entering your home without notice.”
Again depending on answers, the checker may guide the user to contact the local council, or organisations such as Shelter or Citizens’ Advice.
Justice Minister Lord Wolfson says: “We are committed to ensuring that people have access to early legal support as it is vital that problems are resolved before they escalate. This pilot will help us understand the role of early legal support and how this can be designed around what works for people who need it.
“I am delighted that we are able to deliver this work with support from MHCLG and advice sector organisations.”
You can see the checker here.