- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 20 Jul 2017
Property disrepair and landlord liabilities
In July 2016, in a decision of importance to landlords and tenants, the Supreme Court ruled that property owners cannot be held liable for the consequences of disrepair of which they have not been notified.
The case - Edwards v Kumarasamy - concerned an accident in which the sub tenant of a flat was injured when he tripped over an uneven paving stone on the pathway leading up to the front door of the block where the flat was located. The sub tenancy conferred on him a right to use common parts of the block and he launched a compensation claim against the long leaseholder of the flat.
He was awarded £3,750 in damages by a judge, whose decision was later approved by the Court of Appeal. However, in unanimously upholding the leaseholder’s challenge to that ruling, the Supreme Court found that he had wrongly been held responsible for a defect in the pathway of which he had no notice.
The leaseholder was not in possession of the pathway and any obligation to repair it would only have been triggered once he had notice of the disrepair. By entering into the sub tenancy, he had effectively lost the right to use the common parts and the subtenant was in any event in the best position to spot the uneven paving stone due to his frequent use of the pathway.
The subtenant had also argued that the leaseholder was, by operation of Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, under an implied duty to maintain the structure and exterior of the block. However, the Court found that, as a matter of ordinary language, the pathway could not be viewed as part of the exterior of the front hall of the building.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Calculating compensation for property damage.
- Cost recovery clauses.
- Defective premises and freeholder liabilities.
- Energy efficiency regulations: The challenges for landlords.
- Failure to mention asbestos.
- Failure to notify tenant.
- Licence to alter.
- Material non-disclosure.
- Misrepresentation and insurance.
- Repairs and optional improvements.
- Schedule of condition.
- Tree root subsidence.
- When is a commercial lease surrendered?
Featured articles and news
BSRIA report suggest the European market will double to 415 million Euros by 2023.
Do you understand the different types of stone and which ones you should use where?
Why a wellbeing strategy is vital for property managers.
An ECA briefing for members about the commercial implications of leaving the EU.
A crucial moment on any project - and fraught with danger.
The performance gap from a Northern Ireland perspective.
Book review: Buildings of protestant nonconformity.
Design and testing for health and wellbeing - free download from BRE.
Retention in construction contracts.
Campaign for the reform of cash retentions.
The key points for the construction industry and BSRIA's response.