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Landlords - Are Your Inspections Good Enough?

on Tuesday, 12 March 2019.

As a landlord, you have a number of obligations towards your tenants. Some of them are included in your tenancy agreement as "landlord covenants", others are specified by law.

One of these obligations relates to the state and condition of your property, including items you may not even own.

In a recent legal case, Ms Rogerson was the tenant. Whilst mowing the lawn, she stepped on a manhole cover that gave way and fell into a sewer. The cover and underlying equipment were owned by a water company, and it was more than 40 years old and corroded.

The landlord had inspected the property prior to the grant of the lease and again a few months before the accident. However, he had failed to take reasonable care when carrying out those inspections. The defect would have been revealed by simply applying a moderate amount of lateral force to the cover to ensure that it was not dislodged and did not move when stepped on.

Under section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972, a landlord does not have to carry out regular inspection. However, landlords have a duty of care and must see that tenants are reasonably safe from personal injury caused by a "relevant defect".

The court held that the landlord was liable for injury caused by a defective inspection cover in the tenant's garden, and the landlord had to repair the structure and exterior of the demised premises.

It is good practice for landlords to carry out regular inspections of their properties and these inspections should be more than just cursory visits.


For more information, please contact David Marsden in our Commercial Property team on 01923 919 303.

 

This article first appeared in the Watford Observer.

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