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Need Advice Urgently Please

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402 views 1 replies latest reply: 16 November 2014

My girlfriend rented a house from a couple about a month ago. Before moving in she was told that all the walls would be re-plastered and that all repairs would be done. However, the plaster has started falling off the walls, some minor repairs are still to be done and the couple have gone away to Pakistan for 3 months! But, this isn’t the worst part…

On Monday night my girlfriend was changing a lightbulb in the bathroom when a floorboard gave way. She fell off the ladder and hit both the bath and the toilet (they are situated close together) she was rushed to hospital and had to have surgery as her chest cavity was filling with blood from the injury.

I know I may sound a wee bit clueless but does anybody know what my rights are regarding this accident and the lack or repairs on their part?

Thanks in advance.


I hope your girlfriend is recovering well from her injuries. What a dreadful and frightening experience.


The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the landlord has a duty to ensure their property is ‘fit for human habitation’ at the start of the tenancy, and that it will be kept so during the tenancy. This means that private landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure their rental properties are kept in a liveable and safe condition.


Landlord’s have responsibility for:

·       Ensuring a boiler is safe and working properly

·       Carrying out building repairs to plasterwork, roofs and other areas

·       Repairing gas and water leaks

·       Tackling problems with mould and damp


They could also have responsibility for:

   Maintaining the garden

   Maintaining white goods in the home (washing machines, dishwashers etc.)


When a tenant slips and falls or suffers any kind of injury due to poor maintenance of a building, the injured person may be entitled to compensation.


Landlord liability arises if the landlord fails to carry out a repair that she or he was obliged to do, or had the right to do, where s/he knew of the defect in question or ought to have known about it. Thus, there can be a liability in negligence even though the landlord did not know of this defect but should have done.


To succeed in bringing a claim against a landlord it must be shown that:

·       a duty of care existed (as outlined above, a landlord owes a duty of care to their tenant under the Act)

·       that duty was breached, for example by failing to maintain or repair an appliance

·       loss and damage was suffered as a result of that breach


If your girlfriend wishes to make a claim for public liability, it is important to seek legal advice quickly. There may be evidence that could be used to support your case that should be collected before the landlord is able to correct the problem.


The Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Shelter will be able to offer free advice.  There are many solicitors that operate on a ‘no win no fee’ basis if your girlfriend decides to go down this route.


With regard to repairs promised, always get these put in writing and keep a copy for your own records. Be sure that each item is listed including when it will take place as well as the date and signature from the landlord.


I wish your girlfriend a speedy recovery and all the best for a safe and satisfactory resolution to put this experience behind her. 


Disclaimer: This information is derived from personal experience and should not be relied upon as a difinitive or accurate interpretation of the law.



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