Can I claim personal injury damages from my landlord if an accident occurred at home?
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have reported that each year 2.7 million people seek medical attention at A&E as a result of accidents in the home. It is also estimated that every year in the UK more than 6,000 people die following accidents at home. With this in mind, the importance of landlords being held to account in fulfilling their obligations and ensuring their properties are safe and of a habitable standard is crucial.
Duties of Landlords
Whether you are renting from a private landlord, housing association, letting agency, local council or a university, they owe you a duty of care and have a responsibility for your safety. The entire property should be of a habitable standard and this should also include communal areas such as stairwells.
Landlords have specific duties under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which they must carry out. Section 11 of the Act implies a term into your tenancy agreement that your landlord must carry out basic repairs. This includes keeping in repair the following:
- The structure and exterior of your home such as the walls, windows, drains and gutters.
- The installations in your home for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation such as basins, sinks, baths and toilets.
- The installations which heat your home and water such as boilers and radiators.
These repair responsibilities cannot be cancelled out by anything in your tenancy agreement and they are arguably the most important of your landlord’s obligations.
In addition to the above duties landlords also have a duty under Section 4(1) of the Defective Premises Act 1972. This states that a landlord is obligated to maintain or repair the property. It goes on to state that this is owed to anyone who may reasonably be expected to be affected by defects in the state of the property and that a landlord should ensure that they are reasonably safe from personal injury. This duty is owed if your landlord knows or should have reasonably known about the problem. It is therefore important that you report any issues to them as soon as they are noticed.
If you can prove that you have suffered an injury as a result of your landlord’s failure to fulfil their obligations and complete the necessary repairs/maintenance work then you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against them.
Types of Landlord Negligence Claims
If you are unsure whether you may have a claim for injury sustained as a result of your landlord’s failings then see the below list for types of claims which we may be able to assist you with:
- Slips, trips and falls. These could be caused by poorly fitted carpets, loose/missing floorboards or uneven paving slabs/tiled flooring. They may also occur if you have a leak in your property which causes you to slip.
- General poor maintenance of the property or failure to address ongoing problems. This may include a badly maintained ceiling which later collapses.
- Exposed wiring leaving you at risk of electrocution.
- Poor or faulty lighting in the property which subsequently results in an accident.
- Carbon Monoxide poisoning claims may be made against your landlord if it can be proven that they did not take adequate steps to prevent such a danger. They are responsible for making sure any gas appliances are safe and they must arrange a gas safety check with suitably qualified engineers every 12 months.
- Poor conditions such as leaks or lack of ventilation which result in damp or mould. Breathing in damp air or mould can cause respiratory problems and therefore if you’ve reported this to your landlord they should have taken steps to address the problem.
What to do if you think you may have a claim
It is important that as soon as any issues are noticed or begin to develop they are reported to your landlord so that they are able to take appropriate action. It is also important that you cooperate with your landlord/maintenance team if they attempt to take steps to resolve the problem. If you are unfortunately injured as a result of these issues then you should consider/do the following:
- Consider whether your landlord has failed to carry out repairs or maintenance to your property. Also consider whether the issue was something which your landlord was aware of or ought to have reasonably been aware of.
- Take photographs of the damage or poor maintenance which caused your accident.
- Ensure that you make a note of when the issue was first reported to your landlord, how many times it was reported and what their response was. You should also document the problem as much as possible and keep a copy of any correspondence with your landlord.
- As soon as you are injured contact your landlord to report your injury and what caused it.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of your landlord’s negligence and would like to speak to our specialist personal injury solicitors, please call us on 0808 271 9413 or request a call back online.