Housing tenants across Barrow are being urged to be cautious if approached about no win no fee disrepair claims following a recent legal case.
Barrow Borough Council successfully defended a claim before the Barrow-in-Furness County Court in October 2020 that it had failed to carry out repairs in reasonable time to a property.
The judge in the case ordered the tenant who brought the claim, assisted by solicitors on a no win no fee contract, to pay the council’s legal costs summarily assessed in the sum of £9,159.26.
Speaking on behalf of Barrow Borough Council, Councillor Kevin Hamilton warned residents to be careful to check the terms of the agreement being offered if they are approached by law firms offering no win no fee agreements on housing disrepair claims.
Cllr Hamilton said: “In certain circumstances, no win no fee agreements carry a substantial risk to the claimant if their case is unsuccessful.
“If a claimant loses the claim at trial, the court may order the claimant to pay the defendant’s costs as well as their own.
“Unless the claimant has a policy of insurance or other indemnity in place to cover any costs made against them by the court, they are taking a risk if their case is not strong enough to succeed.
“Our concern is that this might not always be clear from the outset.
Cllr Hamilton added: “If tenants have a concern about a repair or an issue with a property, we would advise they get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can rectify it in good time.
“We take our responsibilities as a provider of social housing very seriously and we undertake repairs promptly.