Court of Appeal holds Landlord liable for injury caused by defective inspection cover

March 12, 2019

Residential Property

Court of Appeal holds Landlord liable for injury caused by defective inspection cover

So; you rent a property and the terms of the lease dictate that the landlord is obliged to repair the structure and exterior of the premises.

While mowing the lawn you fall through a badly corroded inspection cover injuring yourself. Is the landlord liable for your injury and associated losses? Equally as a landlord are you liable for injury or loss incurred as a result?

Well, the short answer to both questions may be yes. The issue was explored in Rogerson v Bolsover District Council*.

The Court of Appeal held that, while under section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1973 (the Act) the landlord is under no obligation to implement a regular inspection system, the landlord’s likely knowledge regarding any likely or known risks or problems in the property would be relevant.

In Rogerson v Bolsover the landlord had inspected the property prior to granting the lease and again a few months before the accident as part of a ten-yearly stocktaking exercise.

The Court held that the landlord had, during those two inspections, failed to take reasonable care as the defect could have been discovered by the application of moderate force to the inspection cover.

While imposing no new obligations, this decision helps to clarify landlord’s duties where they have repairing obligations or rights to enter to repair or maintain. In some circumstances a visual inspection will suffice but in other circumstances something more will be necessary.

*Rogerson v Bolsover District Council [2019] EWCA Civ 226 (26 February 2019)

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posted by Kate Garrow | March 12 2019