Government has announced that it is to delay limiting the amount in legal costs that can be recovered for housing disrepair cases. The cap was originally introduced following intensive lobbying by housing associations – led by Riverside – as this group of landlords so often fail to make timely and effective repairs.
The cap was criticised by campaigners who feared it would deter legal firms from taking on housing cases.
SHAC exposed Riverside’s plans to restrict tenants’ access to justice in October 2021. Riverside and a number of other housing associations had formed a coalition to lobby government to introduce a cap on the level of compensation that could be paid for disrepair claims.
Riverside and its co-conspiritors claimed that this was to stop exploitative ‘no-win, no-fee’ (NWNF) lawyers taking advantage of tenants and residents. In fact, SHAC believes that it was intended to prevent disrepairs victims from gaining access to justice. This view was strengthened when government announced that it would extend the cap to cases represented by Legal Aid funded lawyers, not just NWNF.
The story was picked up by Inside Housing Magazine, which also revealed that Riverside and co-conspirators had hired a city lobbying firm to help them prevent tenants making disrepairs claims in court.
Although the lobbying was originally successful in getting government to agree that a cap would be introduced, The Law Society has revealed that government is delaying implementation of the cap for a further two years. This puts it back beyond the likely date of a general election.
Riverside and others should now be held to account for the waste of time and money spent on these disgraceful lobbying activities.
SHAC is continuing to campaigns for more investement in repairs, better access to justice, and stronger tenant empowerment. Join us.
13 February 2023
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