SSB Law: Bradford father left with £46,000 bill after collapse of no-win-no-fee firm

A father-of-four who took legal action over his mouldy home was left with a £46,000 bill when the no-win-no-fee firm representing him collapsed.

Waqas, who asked not to be identified in full, appointed SSB Law after his house in Bradford developed a damp problem thought to be linked to cavity wall insulation.

But when the firm went bust in January, he was unexpectedly landed with the legal costs relating to the case. 

He said the stress of the situation caused his father to have a heart attack.

"I had to sell my wife’s jewellery, get rid of my car, sell off my kids’ jewellery, my father had to dip into his pension pot," he said.

"I had to gather money from family members and friends to pay off that £46,000." 

Waqas had used money borrowed from his father to buy his property.

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Cavity wall insulation was fitted as part of a government scheme in 2014, but the house quickly developed damp and mould. On occasion Waqas said it was so bad his children's bedding was left wet.

"It was embarrassing," he said. "One of my kids' beds is next to the window and the whole bed used to go [damp]. You’d wake up in the morning to get clothes to wear and you couldn’t wear it. The whole house would smell."

He was among around 1,500 property owners using Sheffield-based SSB to make a no-win-no-fee claim.

Following the firm's collapse, ex-clients are facing legal bills of £35,000 on average.

Waqas's house developed mould shortly after work was carried out in 2014. Credit: ITV News

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, hosted a meeting for affected constituents.

She said: "I think it’s a national crisis - I think it’s national scandal.

"The stories we’ve heard from constituents were so horrific. I didn’t realise the depth of it."

The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority is now investigating.

FRP, the administrators for SSB Law, said: "While SSB is no longer trading, we’ve secured the transition of all live case work to new providers and have notified clients. We’ll be managing that process over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition."

A government spokesperson said: "The UK has one of the strongest consumer protection regimes in the world including serious penalties for those who fail to comply."

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