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As your landlord, we’re here to help and look after you and your home. We want to protect you from these companies and explain the factors and risks you need to consider if you’re thinking of making a claim.
Torus wants to make you aware of these companies, how to make a disrepair claim or complaint direct to us, how you can keep safe, protect yourself from bogus callers and most importantly protect yourself from putting yourself at financial risk.
If we don’t meet our obligations to keep your home in repair – including completing repairs we’re responsible for in reasonable time, and keeping installations for sanitation, electricity, gas and water supplies in working order – your home could be said to be in disrepair.
Claims Management Companies are companies that target tenants, particularly tenants of social housing landlords, with marketing tactics to encourage you to make a claim for disrepair.
Their aim is to make money, usually up to £500 per referral (whether the claim is a genuine disrepair claim or not). They will tell you that your home needs repairs and will encourage you to put in a claim against Torus to try to get you compensation.
They then sell your claim to Solicitors who act as intermediaries between you and your landlord (in this case, Torus), represent you and handle the claim on your behalf, for a cost.
The ‘callers’ have been reported to be quite pushy and are asking tenants to sign documents to enter into a legal contract. We suggest that you do not allow these callers into your home or sign anything they ask you to sign. To gain access to your property, they will often say that they are from ‘the housing’ or working on behalf of Torus (Helena Homes, Golden Gates Housing Trust or Liverpool Mutual Homes) or HMS and that they are there to complete a survey on the property.
Any agreement with these companies can put you at significant financial risk.
Disrepair claim companies use a legal scheme that was introduced to protect tenants from poor landlords.
These companies want to make money from you and your home and you need to know the facts in case they approach you. They will tell you that they have recently won numerous claims against Torus.
These companies will usually tell you that they operate on a “no win, no fee” basis. But we’ve seen examples of where our customers have faced thousands of pounds of debt as a result of signing up to their agreements.
They usually also charge a fixed lump sum up front to take out an insurance policy to cover the cost of your claim. This lump sum can be a significant amount.
Any potential compensation you receive from a claim may reduce to cover solicitor fees or legal costs (ours and yours, if the claim is unsuccessful).
Fees if you change your mind or court costs if you lose the case
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’re advised to take out.
They may advise you that, if you want to stop the claim, you could be liable for:
These companies may not explain that if your case goes to court and is dismissed, you could be ordered to pay our legal costs, which could be thousands of pounds.
It takes a long time to resolve
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.
You could be in breach of your tenancy
During this time, most companies acting on your behalf will advise you not to allow access to us to visit your home to do any repairs. This will put you in breach of your tenancy agreement with us.
As your landlord, it’s our responsibility to ensure your home is safe and kept in repair, so we’ll attempt to visit your home anyway having given you notice of our visit. If there’s a health and safety risk, we may request a court injunction to gain urgent access to do the work.
It affects other services we provide
Defending disrepair cases is extremely expensive for us. Any money we spend on these claims takes away from funding and resources for repairs, planned investment and essential support services. This can have a detrimental impact on our neighbourhoods.
We have a very good track record of successfully defending disrepair claims.
In July 2022, a St Helens tenant was landed with £3,262 in court costs to pay after being encouraged by an unscrupulous legal firm to pursue a claim of disrepair against Torus, a claim that failed once the courts decided it had no merit.
This is not a one-off, a Warrington Tenant faced a bill of £1,800 after their disrepair claim was thrown out of court, as the evidence presented was poor and their account did not match the version of events presented by the solicitor. The Liverpool-based solicitors also admitted they had knocked on the tenant’s door pretending to be a Housing Officer, which did not go in their favour with the Judge.
And a tenant in St Helens faced a shocking £3,800 bill after losing her disrepair case, only finding out after the case had closed that she was responsible to arrange the payment as the solicitors working on her behalf had not taken out insurance to protect their client.
Torus will arrange for a surveyor to carry out a survey in your home.
During the survey, they’ll make a note of any repairs your home needs and check if we need to charge you for any damage.
If the survey identifies repairs that are our responsibility, we’ll arrange to visit your home and do the work.
We will also check our records to see whether you have reported any of the repairs to us before, in line with your tenancy agreement.
Torus will rigorously defend any dishonest or bogus claims.
It’s really important to us that you’re happy with the services we provide for you. We’ll do everything we can to support you and look after your home so that you don’t end up feeling like you have to make a claim against us.
But if you are unhappy with any part of our repairs service, please report to us in the first instance, either using your online account, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting us on 0800 678 1894.
By doing this, we can look to reach a solution as quickly as possible.
To find out more about our commitment to keeping your home safe and well-maintained, read about our repairs service.
Sometimes, these bogus callers may even pose as surveyors and say they’re from Torus (Helena Homes, Golden Gates Housing Trust or Liverpool Mutual Homes) or HMS.
If you’re unsure who someone is, do not let them into your home. If you feel unsafe, please call the police and let us know.
We are committed to reducing door-step crime, including bogus callers, claim farmers and rogue traders.
You should not let anyone into your home you are not comfortable with. To help safeguard against these types of callers, please observe the following tips:
If you’re dissatisfied with any aspect of our service, please find out how you can make a complaint.
If you need to log a new repair, have any concerns or require further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The different ways you can report a repair.
Find out about the different category of repairs.
Find out which repairs you are responsible for.