In construction law, if a property is not ‘fit for purpose,’ then you could be entitled to make a claim against the contractors, designers or landlords, depending on the circumstances. When professionals are hired to undertake a construction project, they have a duty of care to their clients to ensure it is functional and habitable. Failure to do this can result in possible danger inflicted upon the client. Luckily there are experienced, trained commercial property dispute lawyers able to advise on the best course of action when construction disputes arise.
Whether you’re concerned with the construction and engineering of a property, or you believe your landlord has left the building uninhabitable and not fit for purpose, we’re here to help. Our qualified solicitors here at Van Eaton can implement effective property dispute resolution to help you get the result you require as efficiently as possible. With years of experience in dealing with construction law in London, we can analyse your case and advise clients on the most appropriate course of action.
Are you worried about your health and safety, and want to know whether your property is fit for purpose? Read our article below.
Defects in Construction
One way that your property might not be fit for purpose is by apparent defects in construction. Although small defects are a common occurrence, larger issues may cause damage to people in the property or the building itself. Typically, defects aren’t discovered until long after the construction has been completed. Construction defects usually appear in one of three areas in the building process; workmanship, materials or design. A defect is considered a serious issue if it:
- Is a result of poor design, workmanship, or material
Leads to the failure of the structure
Causes damage to a person or property
A design defect appears in the initial planning of the building, such as if a designer fails to produce properly organised documents. For instance, if a designer fails to include a key component in the design, the building may not be safe after construction. Material defects apply to the components used in the project, and whether they’re safe to incorporate or not. These defects usually don’t appear until after they’ve been used in the construction of the property. Workmanship defects refer to any problems with the building of the structure by a contractor. Defects can range from aesthetic issues to structural problems.
Deciding what exactly has gone wrong and who is to blame can be a challenge. Our commercial property dispute lawyers here at Van Eaton can assess the damage to your property and will determine exactly who is at fault for you to make a claim. Our legal advice comes from years of experience in dealing with construction law in London, and enables us to effectively provide you with the result you need to help you feel more at ease.
Homes (Fit For Human Habitation) Act 2018
If you’re a tenant renting a residential property, the landlord must adhere to the Homes (Fit for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and ensure that the premises are kept in a state of fitness for living in. The act is an amendment of the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985. Your property needs to be safe and free from substances that could cause serious harm. For instance, if your rented accommodation is too cold, contains mould or vermin, or has any kind of gas leak, you can take your landlord to court if it is not fixed. The act applies to anyone with a rent agreement of less than 7 years and can only be referred to by tenants in England.
Your landlord is responsible for fixing almost all problems in your home. However, there are circumstances where exceptions are granted. For example, if the problems were caused by tenant behaviour, ‘acts of God’ such as bad weather, or there has been damage to your possessions, then a landlord does not have to act under the Act. They can provide guidance, but if it is out of their control, you should contact your local council.
If the issue is so bad that your home is unfit to live in, you should inform your landlord primarily to try and secure temporary accommodation. If your landlord refuses to act, you may need some legal advice, so it’s worth contacting someone who specialises in commercial property litigation. You can read more about your rights as a tenant here.
Our commercial property dispute lawyers here at Van Eaton can assess your claim and will attempt to make the process as smooth as possible for your peace of mind. We will always strive to keep the dispute out of court, but if that is the most appropriate course of action, we will support you throughout your claim to present you with the result you require. If you would like a consultation with one of our esteemed solicitors, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form.
Van Eaton solicitors, Streatham