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Landlord taken to court for harassment of their tenant and property disrepair - Landlord and Tenant Law

Gran v Gill

 

Court of Appeal, 19 May 2011, [2011] EWCCA Civ 554

(Ref Letting update July 2011, Issue 2, volume 19, p29)

Case background

Ms Grand had rented the property on a periodic assured shorthold tenancy with her daughter and made a claim against the landlord for harassment, personal injury, breach of the quiet enjoyment covenant and disrepair. The main concern was with the disrepair of the property. Ms Grand’s daughter had started sleeping in the lounge due to the damp and mould in her bedroom. This seems to have been caused by water due to poor guttering and a damaged roof, although these issues were not the landlords property and were caused by the property next door. The final complaint was about a gas-fired boiler which broke down frequently and worked inefficiently. Grand claimed damages for disrepair of £5,250 and damages for the breach of quiet enjoyment due to the harassment of the landlord of £350.

In court

Grant’s lawyer argued that the award for damp failed to take into account the fact that the landlord was not just in breach of their obligations in relation to the heating problems which contributed to the damp, but also the omission to repair damaged plaster. An expert report identified that the damaged plasterwork in the lounge was due to penetrating damp. The report suggested the corrective work of removing the damaged plaster and replacing it, this was not carried out by the landlord. The judge determined that plaster forms part of the structure of a property and according to Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the landlord was obliged to repair. Consequently, the landlord was found to be liable and the court increased the damages for disrepair by a further £1,275.

The verdict

The tenant WON the case and received £6525 for disrepair and £350 for the harassment from the landlord.



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