Inside Housing – News – Social housing law firms forced to hire additional staff to deal with surge in dilapidation claims

One firm, Trowers & Hamlins, has more than tripled its housing litigation team to deal with the increase, while another sees 10-15 claims coming in every day.

Inside the housing previously revealed that councils are seeing an exponential increase in dilapidation claims from residents every year.

Of boards that provided data for each year between 2017-18 and 2020-21, 91% saw an increase in costs, while 93% saw an increase in cases.

The trend is considered general and includes housing associations.

Lawyers said the increase was due to more bad tenant cases, cuts to legal aid and claims management companies dropping personal injury claims after the introduction of recoverable fixed costs.

Trowers & Hamlins, which represents social landlords, has increased the size of its housing team by 175% since January 2021 to cope with the number of incoming cases.

Managing partner Dorota Pawlowski said that before the increase in dilapidation claims, the company‘s workload was around 20% dilapidation, but that has now reached 80% of all work.

“The vast majority of my files and those of my colleagues are taken up with claims for dilapidation…to the extent that we have hired more staff to deal with them – that’s all we have,” a- she explained.

Clarke Willmott has increased its housing litigation team by 20% in response to increased demand.

Lindsay Felstead, partner and head of housing management at the firm, said: “There is an increase in litigation in general, but noticeably an increase in dilapidation.

“And to make sure we’re able to deal with that, we’ve certainly made the squad bigger.”

Ms Felstead, who also co-leads Clarke Willmott’s social housing sector team, said many clients are ‘getting hammered at the complaints’.

“A lot of organizations try to process them internally because it cuts costs, but they just can’t keep up with the volume that’s coming in, so they have to send them out to companies like ours,” he said. she declared. .

She added: “It’s a really difficult area – for these claims that are genuine, so obviously it’s very difficult for these tenants.

“But for those who aren’t, it’s really difficult because the owners only have limited resources.”

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