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Are you safe in your own home?

According to property analysts, Hometrack, house prices are expected to increase by 6% to 7% over the course of 2017. With more and more people struggling to buy their own property (especially in London), the only real alternative is to rent. With this current boom in renting in mind and with demand exceeding supply, the importance of landlords being held to account for their part in ensuring properties are safe for tenants is as important as ever.

Landlords’ Duties

Whether you are living in a council property, or living in a privately rented property, your landlord or housing association owes you a duty of care and have a responsibility for your safety. This not only means ensuring the property is of a habitable standard but ensuring communal spaces such as staircases, lifts and reception areas are also safe and danger-free. Landlords could be in breach of their duties if they fail to maintain or repair a part of the property or fail to respond to a complaint or issue such as a leaking pipe which then causes you to slip on a wet floor or mould which causes you to fall ill.

I have clients who live in rented properties and have been a victim to ceilings collapsing on them while they sleep, worn-out carpets constituting a tripping hazard and leaking pipes causing slips. Everyone has the right to be and feel safe in their own home and no tenant should have to live in fear of slipping on wet floor due to leaking pipes or be at risk of electrocution from exposed wiring. With this is mind it is therefore important that as soon as any issues are noticed or develop they are reported to your landlord immediately so that appropriate action can be taken. You should also document the problems by taking photographs and keeping copies of any correspondence as well as cooperating with your landlord/maintenance team if they attempt to resolve any problems.

Please see the linked blog for more information on the legislation and common law principles which place duties on landlords.

It is also worth noting that, despite the legal duties of landlords and the variety of accidents that can potentially occur in a home, there is no legal obligation for a landlord to have landlord insurance. It is therefore advisable to check whether your landlord possesses such insurance to ensure that they can pay out for any legal claim and/or that the policy covers any rehousing costs if you can no longer stay in your property due to an insured event such as a fire or flood.

If you have been injured as a result of your landlord’s negligence and are wondering whether you have the right to bring a personal injury claim then consider the following:

  1. Has your landlord failed to carry our repairs of maintenance on your property?
  2. Was the issue something which your landlord was aware of or ought to have reasonably been aware off?
  3. Have you suffered injury as a consequence of the above failure?