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How to resolve repairs concerns and avoid costly legal cases

06 December 2023

There has been a rise in the number of legal claim companies or ‘claims-farmers’ currently operating across London and Hertfordshire. These claim companies encourage tenants to make legal disrepair claims against their housing providers, often drawing people in with ‘no win, no fee’ offers. While these firms do not charge upfront fees for their services, there could be a financial catch, including hidden costs and if the claim is unsuccessful, tenants making the claim are often liable to pay court costs ordered by the judge. We encourage customers to report and resolve any issues with repairs or concerns they have with us directly to avoid being both caught out and out of pocket.  

It's important to protect yourself from these cold callers or visitors and costly legal cases, and we want to work together with you to ensure your concerns are resolved. You can find out more about how to avoid legal ‘claims-farmers’, the risks involved and how we can help below. 

What is a ‘claims-farmer’?  

A ‘claims-farmer’ is a middleman who encourages tenants to pursue a claim against their landlord in court for potential compensation for disrepair.  These claim companies may knock on your door, post leaflets through your letterbox, call or contact you via social media. Some suggest that they are working for the housing association or council when they are not. 

Cashing in at your expense 

The claims company sells these claims along with your details on to a lawyer for their own gain. In a very small number of cases, compensation may get paid to you, but after sizeable fees are taken by the law firms. Claims companies will ask you to sign a "no win, no fee" contract, but this often includes hidden financial penalties.   

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. When you have put forward a claim and signed documentation from a solicitor, they usually will not allow you to stop the claim if you 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 are advised to take out. 

What if your claim is unsuccessful? 

You could be liable for expensive court costs. In a very recent ‘no win, no fee’ case against York City Council, the tenant was unsuccessful in their claim and was ordered to pay court costs of £10,409.72 out of their own pocket 

Protect yourself and your money 

These companies will often say that they are from the housing association or working on behalf of SNG to get into your home. They aren’t working for us, so to protect yourself against these cold callers or visitors, we suggest: 

  • you ask them for ID and if you are unsure, please contact us to check  
  • you don’t allow these people into your home or sign anything they ask you to sign 
  • if someone contacts you by phone claiming to be from SNG, but you are not sure, please take their details and contact us to check 
  • call Trading Standards on 0808 223 1133 if these workers at the doorstep claim to be from SNG.  

How can we help? 

We are committed to providing a good quality repairs service to customers. If you live in a home managed by us and if you have any concerns about your home, or an unresolved repair issue, please do get in touch with us so we can get this resolved as soon as possible. We also have a complaints policy for if you are unhappy with the service provided. We recommend going through our complaints process to resolved your concerns, as legal claims may mean it takes longer to complete the repairs and the issue may be left unresolved whilst the case is open. 

To find out more and to access independent help and advice from other organisations, visit: 

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