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Can a tenant become liable due to their job?

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310 views 1 replies latest reply: 18 May 2015

After renting a property for 2 years, a 70kg patio door came away from the frame and fell on my leg.  I could not work for 11 months and 2 years later still have problems. The door was heavy but never stopped operating. At court the landlord admitted he knew the patio doors were at least 25 years old and had never been maintained and an engineer confirmed there were 2 faults on the doors. Part of the judge’s summing up included “the fact that you had worked as a Lettings Management Agent for a letting agency for several years before the accident. Accordingly in the course of your employment you gained knowledge of  property inspections prior to and during the tenancy which an ordinary person would not have. Despite your experience, you did not think it necessary or appropriate to raise the issue with the landlord”.

I had no issue to report as the doors were heavy but opened, closed and locked.  Does this judgment mean if there is an accident involving the roof, if the tenant is a builder/roofer will he be liable because he is in that trade and should have anticipated the problem?


Hi Linda

As far as I can tell it’s about being held to a higher standard as a result of the knowledge that you have. So, someone who wasn’t a letting agent might have knowledge of the door issue but not realise that it was something they should tell the landlord about, whereas you would. Plus, it’s based on the condition that most tenancies have that requires a tenant to notify of a problem.

So, on that basis, if it could be proven that a builder noticed building conditions that – to the average builder – would indicate there was a serious issue they might be expected to notify the landlord, whereas a normal person would not.

From what the judge says, it seems like there was proof that there was an issue with the doors and that you had noticed it – but not said anything. Which would explain why they felt your actions contributed to the end result.

I’m not a lawyer but it does seem like a bit of a stretch to me, especially if there wasn’t actually an issue that you had noticed – you’re not a doors specialist and the condition of the building is ultimately the landlord’s responsibility after all.


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