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Living the dream or the waking nightmare that can be renting !

It’s no secret that more and more young people are struggling to realise their dream of one day owning their own property. With London’s average house price up a third since 2007, at £498,000, renting has become the norm in London. In fact across the UK, the number of people renting has almost doubled from 2.5 million a decade ago to 4.8 million today. A further 1.1 million are expected to join the rental sector during the next five years.

With the current boom in the renting market, and demand outstripping supply, it can often be forgotten that Landlords have duties and that accommodation must be safe to live in. I am not suggesting that all Landlords are rogues and that they charge extortionate rent and then provide sub standard accommodation, but at times, household appliances are not maintained and this can lead to potentially dangerous or hazardous environments, which can lead to accidents within the home.

Think about that tap or boiler that’s been leaking for a while. Have you reported it? Are there electrical cables lying flat in the water? If the answer is yes, then you could be exposing yourself to the risk of being electrocuted. Do you often find a pool of water on the floor near to the leaking tap? If the answer is yes, then you are at risk of slipping over and injuring yourself. Everyone has the right to be safe in their own homes. You should not be afraid of reporting these issues to your Landlord. In particular, your Landlords have duties in relation to gas, electrical and fire safety. https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/your-landlords-safety-responsibilities .

Don’t forget that Landlords do not only have a duty to maintain the interior of your home but also the exterior, so make sure that that broken step leading to your front door is repaired or those loose roof tiles are secured because in a state of disrepair they also represent a hazard. So, the next time you notice a problem within your home, don’t leave it unattended. Ensure that you report it immediately and make sure that your Landlord complies with their duties.

Through my work as a PI solicitor, I have met people who are living in appalling conditions and paying extortionate rents. I have represented people threatened with eviction by their Landlord if they did not settle their claim. This situation and others have led me to the opinion that currently it is very much a ‘Landlords market’ and, the knock-on effect of some landlords believing they can get away with providing poor accommodation particularly where people are so keen to live in London.

If you have recently been involved in an accident then consider the following:-

1. Has your landlord been negligent in maintaining your property?
2. Has that negligence caused your injury?

All of the following must be proven for your landlord to be held liable:

  • It was your landlord’s responsibility to maintain the portion of premises that caused your accident.
  • Your landlord failed to take reasonable steps to avoid the accident.
  • Rectifying the problem (or at least giving adequate warnings) would not have been unreasonably expensive or difficult.
  • It was reasonably foreseeable that failure to fix the problem could lead to a serious injury.
  • Your landlord’s failure caused your accident.
  • You were genuinely hurt.