Leeds City Council has had to pay an estimated £1.94m over four years in compensation settlements to its tenants whose homes were found to be in a state of disrepair.
A report drafted to update the council’s Housing Advisory Board (HAB), which met last night, reveals that more than 90 per cent of claims since April 2013 were related to complaints over damp.
Pre-war terraces and purpose built flats were shown to be most at risk of disrepair – with a high number of claims recorded in Armley.
When the average compensation cost of £1,886.75 between 2013/14 and 2016/17 is multiplied by the 1,031 settlements over that period, the figure of around £1.94m is revealed to have been spent.
A spokesman for Leeds City Council said that in 2015/16 the council resolved 440 claims for disrepair, equating to less than one per cent of the total stock.
He said: “The age and character of the council’s homes does make it difficult to avoid damp but we have invested more than £76m over the last five years in measures specifically designed to tackle the issue, including £53m on heating and energy efficiency, £13m on roofing and £10m on improving insulation, windows and doors. However, from time to time there are instances of damp disrepair and when this does occur, the council endeavours to respond effectively and efficiently to repair requests from its tenants.”
He added that when people pursue these claims they may not be aware that solicitor firms typically make twice as much in legal costs as tenants will receive in compensation.
The average cost of claimants’ solicitor’s fees has been between £3, 181 in 13/14 to £2,800 in 15/16, the report states.
HAB members noted the report, which served mainly as an update.