Accidents in the Home - What to do if you are living in defective premises
According to the English Housing Survey, over the last 20 years, the proportion of people renting properties has doubled, and one fifth of the UK population are now living in privately rented accommodation.
More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else, with 6000 deaths and more than two million children under the age of 15 experiencing accidents in and around the home each year. Therefore it is important that homeowners and those occupying property (including both landlords and tenants) do all they can to spot, and then where appropriate, repair any defect that could be a potential hazard, and could lead to injury and loss.
So what are the most common types of accident that take place in the home?
- Slips trips or falls as a result of uneven, defective or inadequate flooring
- Injuries as a result of falling objects
- Illnesses caused by a leak inside the property
- Faulty equipment inside the property leading to injury or illness
- Illness caused by disrepair / poor maintenance of the property
- Injury as a result of poorly undertaken works to the property
So as a tenant of a rented property, what are the landlord’s obligations to ensure that the rented property is free from such potential hazards / defects?
The short answer is that there is a general duty on homeowners (including landlords) to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of visitors, including the tenants.
Landlords should therefore have the following in place:
- procedures to assess their premises at appropriate intervals – inspections of the property and a record of those inspections having taken place; and
- a good system of repair and maintenance; and
- following reports of a defect or hazard on the property being raised, by either a tenant or visitor to the property, a quick response to rectify any potential issue.
So as a tenant or visitor to a property, what should I do if I notice a hazard or defect?
Notify the property owner immediately or certainly as soon as reasonably practicable. That property owner could include the following:
- Public Authorities
- Estate / Managing agents of that property
- Public or private property owners
Cases against landlords and homeowners are notoriously complex - it is often difficult for the injured person to prove that a landlord / homeowner knew of a defect or hazard, and that they did nothing about it which then resulted in an accident, injury and loss.
At Prettys, we have experience of dealing with claims as a result of defective premises, including claims against landlords and property owners for their failure to keep a property in a state of good repair, which could result in personal injury to you either as a tenant or visitor to that property.
If you therefore have suffered injury or illness as a result of being a tenant / visiting a property, please contact us on 01473 23 21 21 or email Louise Plant on firstname.lastname@example.org.