Landlords Obligations

In a recent court case (Edwards v Kumarasamy) Landlord’s repairing obligations were considered in particular to where only part of a building is let.

In 2010 Mr Edwards tripped over an uneven paving stone in the pathway between the front door and the communal bins and injured his knee. The path is twelve feet long and an essential means of access. The Tenant was awarded £3750.00 from the County Court Judge, who held that the path formed part of the structure of the property. The Appeal Court overturned that decision but at the hearing the Tenant argued that the Landlord’s liability to maintain the path fell under Section 11 of The Landlord and Tenant Act. The path was owned, essentially, by the freeholder, and the primary question was whether the Landlord had “an estate of interest” in the pathway and, if he did, was that enough to bring into play Section 11(1A) and require the Landlord to repair.

The Judge referred to the paving as an extension of the front hall, and Mr Kumarasamy had a right to use the front hall to gain access to the bins area, parking area and access. The Judge upheld the Appeal as Mr Kumarasamy had the right to enter the common areas without the permission of Mr Edwards.
This has far reaching implications for people who own properties with common areas. Even though they are not the freeholder they can be held responsible for any defect.

This then raises the question. If you own a house with a pathway at the back or front that leads to other properties, and there is a defect in that pathway, are you liable for any defects? It may be advisable to check your Landlord’s Building Insurance {Policy.