If you are the owner/tenant of a property which you believe has severe building defects rendering it inhabitable, you may be able to make a claim under the Defective Premises Act 1972. If you believe that the work undertaken by the developers of your property is defective, you could be entitled to make a claim under the Defective Premises Act 1972. Such defects can render a property uninhabitable, unsaleable or without the prospect of a mortgagor lending against the same. So, it’s important to understand construction law in London.
Van Eaton Solicitors has years of experience dealing with claims of defective workmanship in London and the surrounding areas, in handling dispute resolution and in achieving excellent outcomes for the client. Do you believe that your property has been built unsafely, or conversely are you a builder/landlord/developer, who believes their work was completed to the safest of standards and would like to mount a defence in a claim made against you? Read our article below to see if we can help you.
Definition For Construction Law in London
By its very definition, the Defective Premise Act 1972 imposes duties on builders and developers to conduct work safely and in accordance with strict criteria governing the same. It imposes a duty on landlords, developers, and owners to work closely with local authorities and in accordance with building regulations and standards. Failure to comply with these guidelines is a ‘breach of statutory duty’, which is a tort. This can lead to the owner/developer/builder paying damages to the innocent party.
The Act does not operate alone, as it can be used to support claims of negligence and for claims of breach of contract between a tenant and a landlord, or a builder and a homeowner, where appropriate.
Who Can Claim?
It must be noted that the defect was present when the building was completed, and it was built after 1974.
All individuals who carry out work on a construction project or relate to the work (landlords, builders, architects etc.) can be liable for claims to be brought against them. They must ensure that the property was completed in a professional manner, proper materials were used in its making and that it was fit for habitation when it was completed.
Under section three of the Defective Premises Act 1972, a duty of care is expected of those who carry out any construction, demolition, or repair of a property. If damage was inflicted upon a property before 1974, landlords and builders automatically have immunity, as the Act was not in force before this time.
When it comes to construction and engineering, it can be confusing figuring out who is liable for damages. Van Eaton are experienced construction law solicitors in London who know exactly what to look for and will get you the result you want as efficiently as possible.
When is a Property ‘Unfit for Habitation’?
If a property is “unfit for habitation,” it simply means that it is impossible to live there. These can be instances where your health may be seriously affected or if you may be at risk of physical injury or harm. Examples of an uninhabitable property include:
- Gas safety risks, such as carbon monoxide leaks
- Electrical risks, such as the risk of fire due to exposed wires
- Damp or black mould
- Pests, such as rats or bug infestations
- Structural issues
Health and safety should be paramount before, during and after the construction of a property. If you believe your property fails to live up to safety standards, or has issues involving one or more of the above examples, you may be entitled to a claim. Here at Van Eaton, our construction solicitors are experienced in all aspects of construction law in London and the surrounding areas. We can analyse construction contracts and ensure that your safety is paramount.
Extent of Duty
The extent of duty to a property lies with whoever worked on or worked closely on the building’s construction. They must ensure that the work is carried out accordingly, and they will not be able to argue that they had “reason” to believe that the work was carried out to satisfaction.
Duty is owed to you if you are the person to whom the property is provided, the tenants or anyone else that has a legal interest in the property. To have ‘interest’ you must, for example, have contributed to the financial purchase of a property. Licensees usually aren’t covered, as they normally only have the personal right to occupy.
The extent of duty is also applied when necessary materials have been missed (such as damp-proof work) or if the work was done badly. The occupier or tenant of a property doesn’t have to notify the person who carried out the work for them to be liable.
If you need legal advice when dealing with construction disputes, we’re here to help. Our specialist team of construction lawyers are equipped with the necessary knowledge needed to win your case effectively and efficiently.
How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim?
If you wish to make a claim, you have six years from when the building’s construction was completed to make it. If repair works take place on the property and are carried out by the original builders/parties involved in the construction and they weren’t successful, you then have six years from the date that the repairs were completed.
If you wish to make a claim for breach of contract, the six years start from the date of the breach and from the date the damage is suffered. Van Eaton has a team of specialist construction lawyers in London, on hand to assist you with your claim. We can help you draft your claim and achieve a good outcome, if your claim /defence has merit.
Construction Law in London
We hope that this article has made the Defective Premises Act 1972 a little easier to understand. We deal with construction law in London and the surrounding areas, and can assist you with your claim, providing you with top-quality legal advice and ensuring that you get the outcome you deserve.
If you would like to inquire about our construction law services, please fill out our online form.
Van Eaton Solicitors, Streatham, London