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Short answer:

A landlord is under a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent a tenant from suffering personal injury or illness resulting from disrepair in a property. If a landlord allows a property to fall into a state of disrepair, they may be liable for any injury or illness suffered by a tenant, occupant or visitor to the property (e.g. family members and friends of the tenant) resulting from the disrepair.

Long answer:

“There’s no place like home” is a common phrase most of us can relate to; with the feeling of warmth and safety we experience when we close the front door and relax in the comfort of our own environment. It is the last place we expect either ourselves or our family to come to any harm.

Whether a home is rented from a private landlord or a local authority, it is only fair that the property owner should keep the property in a reasonable state of repair and ensure it is free from any defects which may pose a risk to the health and safety of a tenant or visitor to the property.

Common examples of injuries or illness caused by defects in a property are as follows:

  • Respiratory problems caused by damp and mould.
  • Electric shock caused by exposed or faulty wiring.
  • Scalds or burns caused by defects in the properties plumbing system.
  • Sprains and fractures caused by tripping hazards such as uneven or damaged surfaces.
  • Any Injury caused by defects in the internal or external structure of the property (e.g. a ceiling falling through)
  • Psychological injury either caused directly by poor housing conditions or resulting from a physical injury.

In any of these circumstances, it will be possible to claim compensation if it can be established that there was a breach of duty on the part of the landlord. Establishing a breach of duty involves certain key considerations:

1) The landlords repair obligations

It must be established that the tenancy agreement places the landlord under a duty to maintain and repair the property. This involves looking at the tenancy agreement to see what duties are expressly imposed on the landlord. Even if the tenancy agreement is silent as to the landlords’ repair obligations, the Landlord and Tenants Act 1972 implies repair obligations on all landlords where the rental term is for no more than 7 years. As this applies to most tenancies, it is often not difficult to establish basic repair obligations on the part of the landlord.

2) The defect leading to injury/illness

Once it has been established that the landlord was under a duty to maintain and repair the property, it must be shown that the defect which led to the injury/illness fell within the
landlord’s repair obligations. In other words, the defect in question must be a ‘relevant defect’.

If the defect does not fall within the landlord’s repair obligations it will not be possible to establish that the presence of the defect (and therefore the resulting injury) represents a breach of duty on the part of the landlord.

For example, a tenant may be entitled to claim compensation if they slip on a wet surface caused by a leaking roof because the repair of the roof falls within the landlord’s repair
obligations. On the other hand, a tenant who cuts their lip on a broken mug would not be able to claim compensation because the repair of the mug does not fall within the landlord’s obligations.

3) The landlords knowledge of the defect

A landlord will only be liable for injury or illness caused by a relevant defect if the landlord was made aware of the defect prior to the injury/illness occurring or the landlord ought to
have known about the defect prior to the injury/illness occurring.

In other words, a landlord will not be liable in respect of defects they did not know about and could not reasonably have found out about prior to the incident occurring. Therefore,
it is important for a tenant to notify a landlord of any disrepair or defects within a property as soon as they arise.

Whether a landlord ‘ought’ to have known about a defect (in the absence of being expressly notified by the tenant), will depend upon the facts of the case. For example, if the tenancy
agreement places the landlord under a duty to carry out regular inspections of the property and they fail to do so, the landlord may be liable for any injury/illness caused by a defect which would have been discovered by them had they carried out such inspections.

4) Landlords failure to repair the defect

A landlord will be in breach of their duty of care if, upon becoming aware of the defect, they fail to take reasonable steps to fix the defect to a standard which ensures the tenant and/or any visitor to the property are kept reasonably safe from personal injury.

  • Case Study

    £36,000 for injured tenant provided with negative advice

    Ms. K suffered shoulder and knee injuries after slipping on a wet log outside her rented home. Initially, she engaged a national personal injury firm for representation. After a period of investigation, the firm informed her that they could not identify the correct defendant to pursue.

    Ms. K then sought assistance from Aston Knight Solicitors, who took over the case and promptly identified the landlord as the responsible party. Subsequently, a claim was made to the landlord’s insurers, who admitted liability. Aston Knight then gathered expert opinions from a knee specialist, a shoulder specialist, and a psychological expert to support the claim, leading to a settlement of £36,000.

    View all success stories

Why Aston Knight?

We understand how upsetting it can be when either yourself, a family member or a friend suffers personal injury due to disrepair within your home. This is especially so when you have been asking the landlord to address the disrepair for some time but you have been ignored and not taken seriously.

We are a specialist personal injury firm and aim to make the claim process as simple and stress free as possible. We understand the key components to bringing a successful claim against a landlord and we ensure all necessary evidence is gathered and presented in a way which improves claim prosects and ensures the best possible settlement is achieved for our clients.

We pride ourselves on our excellent success record and client care standards. If you have suffered an injury (either physical or psychological) as a result of a defect or disrepair in your rental property and you would like a free consultation to discuss your options, please call

Aston Knight Solicitors today on 0161 399 1231 or click the ‘Contact’ button above to submit an online enquiry and one of our dedicated Solicitors will contact you to discuss your claim further.

Andrew Thompson (Senior Solicitor)

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