How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JimLawyer Your Own Question
JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 14785
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
97337639
Type Your Property Law Question Here...
JimLawyer is online now

I own and live in my own apartment at the top of a wooden

Customer Question

I own and live in my own apartment at the top of a wooden apartment block managed by a housing association. Both tenants on the two floors below smoke and l have second hand smoke rising from the apartments below filling my apartment with smoke. What can l do, as this is affecting my health.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I have contacted the housing association and their replay was that occupiers can do what they like in their own homes. I have also purchased an air purifier but this is if little help. I have not filed any paperwork.
JA: Where is the apartment located?
Customer: Runcorn, Cheshire
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

The Housing Association should take action, or the council - as this may be considered to be a health risk and an environmental health issue too.

You can avail of the Housing Ombudsman service - which is free to use, quicker than court action and their decision is binding on the Home company (as it is an arbitration scheme).

The Ombudsman will not accept the claim however until you have the Housing Association’s (HA) final response to your complaint.

You therefore need to make a complaint to them now and set out in simple terms which you feel discriminated against and to demand that you want to buy, etc.

The complaints details will be available on the HA's website if you take a look.

Once you have their final response and assuming it does not help, you can then go to the Ombudsman, who will investigate the facts and they will make a decision which if you accept, is binding. You can reach the Ombudsman by email here:***@******.*** or via their website : https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/residents/make-a-complaint/

If the Ombudsman does not uphold your complaint then you can consider court action - you can issue "Judicial Review" proceedings which is where you involve the court, and a senior judge or panel of judges looks at the legality of a housing association's decision. If the judge(s) find in your favour, they will make an order which is binding on the Association (e.g. they may say the decision was invalid or indeed, illegal) and they are then forced to act to sort the problem out. Further, if your human rights were breached then compensation may also be payable.

The issue with judicial review is that the cases are quite complex, but as a result of that, a law firm can usually recover their legal costs from the Association if they win the application. You should be able to have a no win no fee agreement with the law firm, to sue the HA. Or if you are in receipt of means tested benefits then legal aid may well be available to you.

Here are a few firms who specialise in this area :

I hope this helps - please feel free to ask me anything else.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim