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There is damage to our building that needs to be repaired. What can I do to get it fixed?

You should check your lease to see who is responsible. If it is the freeholder, then they should aim to fix the issue straight away.  

Write to the freeholder as soon as there is a problem – you can use our template repair letter. 

If the freeholder does not respond, these are the things you can do: 

  1. An action for damages
    If the freeholder fails to carry out a repair, you can take them to court to get compensation for the damage you or your neighbours have suffered.For example, if the freeholder failed to fix a burst water pipe and you had to move out of your flat for a month, compensation could be equivalent to a month’s rent on a similar flatplus the cost of repairing any damage to your flat and possessions.You should get advice from a solicitor before taking legal action.
  2. An order for specific performance
    You can take the freeholder to court to get them to fix the problem with a court order. You can do this as well as taking action for damages.  You should get advice from a solicitor before doing this.
  3. Selfhelp
    If you have asked your freeholder to fix a problem and they did not comply , you have the right to arrange for it to be fixed, and to claim the money back from the freeholder. You can only use this right if your lease does not have a clause that says rent must be paid in full without any deduction or set off. Get advice if you are not sure.You will need to take the following steps: 
    1. Tell the freeholder of your intention to take this action if the repairs are not carried out. 
    2. Allow the freeholder a reasonable time to do the repair. 
    3. Get 3 estimates for the cost of carrying out the repair. Send copies to the freeholder with a final warning that if they fail to act then you will be arranging for the repairs to be carried out. 
    4. Engage the contractor with the lowest price and have the work carried out. You will need to pay the contractor yourself. 
    5. Send a copy of the contractor’s invoice to the freeholder, asking for the cost to be paid back to you. If the freeholder does not pay you back, you should take the amount owed from future service charge payments.  
    6. For example, if you did selfhelp to repair the roof of your building, and it cost you £500, then you could take that out of the next service charge bill. If the service charge bill was £800 then you would pay just £300.

    It is important that you check your lease to see if there are any clauses that state that the rent must be paid in full, without any deductions or set off. If the lease contain a provision in this respect, you will be unable to apply the self help remedy.

  1. Apply to the Tribunal for the appointment of a managerThe Tribunal can appoint a manager to take over the running of the building and direct them to carry out repairs. The new manager will be expected to follow professional codes of best practice to manage the building in the interests of all. If you want to apply to appoint a manager, you can start by sending a preliminary notice to the freeholder, which sets out your reasons and gives them an opportunity to fix the problems.  

Template documents 

More information you might find useful:

Still not found the answer?

Contact LEASE to have your enquiry dealt with by one of our experienced advisers

LEASE is governed by a board, appointed as individuals by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.