Council tenants are being reminded to report repairs to their local authority rather than make legal claims, after a judge ordered an unsuccessful claimant to pay over £10,000 in costs.

The advice comes after a rise in legal claims by ‘claims farmers’ and ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors on behalf of housing tenants.

In the recent ‘no win, no fee’ case against York City Council, the tenant was unsuccessful and was ordered to pay court costs of £10,409.72.

The council is now warning that ‘no win no fee’ legal firms have been targeting tenants to make claims against it, while ‘claims farm’ workers have been reported going door to door in York. The local authority is urging tenants to always talk to it first about any repairs needed, or about delays or dissatisfaction.

York City Council says that ‘claims farmers’ encourage people to make compensation claims against their landlord. They then sell this information on to legal firms for their own gain. Some suggest they are working for the council, but they are not.

Councillor Michael Pavlovic, Executive Member for Housing, Planning and Safer Communities, said: “Providing decent affordable homes is a priority. We’re carrying out a significant housing repair programme to upgrade and modernise homes, while also installing energy efficiency measures to make them more affordable to run. We’re committed to supporting council tenants and making good any repairs for which we are responsible.

“The recent and rising number of claims against the council have seen everyone lose out – except for the claims farmers. It has left tenants liable to court costs, and the time and money spent by the council to defend these claims could be better spent on investing in homes.”