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Why do the walls of my home have cracks?
It could be for any of the following reasons:
- Because of subsidence (which is the movement that occurs in the ground under or near the building, causing it to move).
- Because of a weakness or failure in the building and its structure.
- Due to a flaw in the design of the building.
Having cracks can be a huge fire safety issue. Between one floor and another, there must be a total sealing called “compartmentalization”. This prevents the fire from moving from one dwelling to another in a block of apartments when a fire breaks out.
This means that air is not able to pass from one floor to another, between yours and your neighbor’s, because if the compartmentation is broken, it could pose a serious fire risk.
If you see any cracks in your building, big or small, don’t hesitate and call a professional to take a look at them. Next, we will tell you what the law says about it.
What does the Law say?
The law to be taken into account in this situation is the “Landlord and Tenant Act 1985”which states that the landlord is responsible for maintaining the property in good condition. If the reason for the crack was due to the design of the building, this would not apply.
In addition, if the cracks cause the house to be unfit for habitation, the rights established by the Homes Act may also apply in this case
On the other hand, the person responsible for the good condition of their home must also minimize the fire risk oftheir own building, as presented in the fire safety “Regulatory Reform Order”.
What measures can be taken?
The first thing to do if you are a tenant is to contact your landlord and ask him to look at the cracks.
In the event that the landlord decides not to take any action, or to ignore the situation, if you are concerned about the cracks you can do the following:
- contact legal representatives.
- propose or join an action with the residents of your building.
- initiate a media campaign in order to raise awareness of this type of situation.
Some more in-depth information
The “Homes Act” amended the law that was already established in the “Landlord and Tenant Act 1985”, so it may be necessary to examine sections 9A to 10 of the 1985 Act, to know the basic details on which the current rules are based.
If poor housing conditions make your home dangerous (which could cause an accident), it is worth knowing that the local housing authority must keep all housing conditions in your area under review.
If a lack of repairs (or any other problem) makes your home dangerous, you can ask Environmental Health to assess your home, as they have the power, in some circumstances, to take enforcement action.
If the owner of a rented neighbor’s property is the president of the neighborhood community, Environmental Health cannot take enforcement action against you, but they still have a duty to assess the housing conditions in your building and their assessment may make it possible for you to take action under the provisions of the Homes Act.
If the landlord is not the president of the community, Environmental Health could compel you to take action to remedy the problem
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also recommend you take a look at this video to identify the crack in your home and know how to identify if it could be something serious: