The roof or plumbing leaks in a block of flats, making multiple flats damp. A communal heating system fails. A newbuild flat block is poorly built and every flat suffers from multiple similar or identical issues. In each case many tenants or leaseholders, or a mixture, could have a claim against their landlord or freeholder. They could bring separate claims but there are advantages to them either bringing one claim together, or bringing separate claims which are brought together for one trial:
- The documentary evidence in relation to all the flats will be provided by the landlord to your solicitor and considered together, strengthening the claim. A single person litigating alone is less likely to get to see relevant details about their neighbours’ flats.
- Each neighbour can give oral evidence that supports the other at trial. It is more difficult to get neighbours to give evidence for you when they have no interest in the claim.
- The high value of all the claims together can justify the costs of more in-depth legal work and investigation.
- If you have to pay for legal representation, because legal aid or a Conditional Fee Agreement is not available, you can share the legal costs.
- Lower value claims, which might have been small claims alone, will be justified when grouped together with other claims.
If you bring a claim along with your neighbours then certain details which would otherwise be confidential will be shared with them, such as the history of repair problems inside your flat. However other details, such as personal details relating to your health, your financial circumstances and details of any settlement you reach with your landlord will remain confidential.