Landlords must ensure Freeholders carry out repairs

A recent case has served as a warning to landlords of leasehold rental properties. A tenant was injured when he fell on an uneven paving stone whilst going from his flat to the communal dustbin area for the block. Although the landlord did not own the path and responsibility for its repair lay with the block managing agents, the tenant successfully sued the landlord. Solicitor David Smith of Anthony Gold says this will have “serious consequences for the way all landlords manage their properties”. Smith warns that any landlord can now be sued for disrepair to areas serving their properties regardless of ownership. Further, there is no obligation on the tenant to report repair, so it is up to the landlord or their agent to identify it and ensure the block agents resolve it.

Landlords should also note that the Court of Appeal did not consider the point that the tenant may have had a claim against the management company. This case means landlords should check the small print of their insurance to ensure they would be covered in the event of such a claim. Landlords should also check the areas beyond what they are renting out, including access paths, communal areas and gardens.

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