When you discover a defect in your property, it can be a stressful experience. If the defect renders your property uninhabitable, or it causes injury, seeking legal advice is the best course of action. The Defective Premises Act 1972 is the legislation that solicitors can refer to; the document is split into different sections, with each one being applied to different circumstances. Section 4 outlines the duty of care that landlords owe to their tenants and their guests.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors in Streatham, we have years of experience in various areas of law, including claims originating from defective premises. We can find relevant evidence to help build your case, implementing effective dispute resolution to help you get the results you need. If you live in rented property and you discover a defect, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Section 4 Explained
Under section 4, a landlord has an “implied obligation to maintain or repair a property” and owes a duty of care to anyone who could be affected by the “relevant defects'” detailed therein. The Landlord must ensure that anyone living in or visiting the property is safe from “personal injury ” and/or does not suffer harm resulting from such defects. (Shelter UK). A ‘relevant defect’ does not apply to design defects, but the landlord’s failure to repair the defect.
Duty is owed to the tenants of the property, members of their household and any visitors. If the landlord knows of the defect, or ought to know, they could be held liable, especially if the defect renders the property not fit for habitation. This contrasts with section 11 of the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985, where the landlord would require notice of a defect to be liable. If you’re a tenant or landlord who requires assistance, our solicitors in London can help. If you would like to find out more about our services, please visit us here.
When Would a Landlord Be Liable?
Landlords have a duty to their tenants to ensure that they are safe from any defects that may arise. By conducting routine checks of the property, they can discover defects and help resolve them before anything more serious occurs. If a tenant discovers a defect, they should inform their landlord straight away. A landlord’s duty is to take care if it is reasonable; this means that if any personal injury or damages occur due to the defect, duty is not owed if the circumstances were unforeseeable and could not have been prevented.
For instance, if a tenant trips and falls due to a hole in the floor, the landlord would be liable whether the tenant informed them of the defect or not. This is because, if the landlord had maintained and checked the flooring properly, the injury would not have occurred. Conversely, if a tenant burns themselves on exposed pipes, the landlord would not be liable, as the accident was unforeseen, and the tenant has a duty of care as well as the landlord. All situations differ, but if a defect occurs due to disrepair, it is best to seek legal advice.
How We Can Help
Even if you are not sure whether the defect, or any injuries it may cause, are down to landlord negligence, you should still check to see if you have a claim. The Defective Premises Act 1972 applies to landlords, contractors, and builders alike. By turning to a professional legal service, you can identify who is liable and ensure that the correct person is held accountable.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors in Streatham, we can assess your claim and present relevant evidence to help you win your case. We will always aim to keep your case out of court wherever possible, implementing effective dispute resolution to find a desired result. If you would like to arrange a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form.