Court Success: more welcome news for landlords

  • Zurich Municipal welcomes the court success of Perry Masters Anthoni v Coast & Country Housing (Middlesborough County Court - Appeal)
  • This claim in negligence was brought under the Defective Premises Act 1972
  • The result is welcomed by landlords, which usefully clarifies the extent of their duties under the Defective Premises Act 1972

Zurich Municipal welcomes the court success of Perry Masters Anthoni v Coast & Country Housing (Middlesborough County Court -Appeal).

On 30th June 2013, the claimant was injured after being struck by falling paving slabs within the garden of a property which she rented from the defendant. She was moving items in the garden when this occurred.

The Law

A claim in negligence was brought under the Defective Premises Act 1972. The claimant argued that contrary to Section 4, the defendant failed to take such care as was reasonable in all the circumstances to see that she was reasonably safe from injury caused by the relevant defect. It was also argued that contrary to Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, the defendant failed to keep the exterior of the house in repair.

Legal arguements

The defendant denied that removal of the paving slabs constituted a repair for purposes of section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act, and that non-removal constituted a relevant defect for the purposes of the Defective Premises Act 1972.

The Court’s decision

The defendant applied for an order to strike the claim out under CPR 3.4(2)(a). This section of the Civil Procedure Rule gives the Court the power to strike a case out where the statement of case discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending the claim.

District Judge Read considered the case and rejected the defendant’s argument, on the basis that the case could be distinguished from the settled law on the Defective Premises Act 1972. However, in the decision, the Judge did agree that there was no case to be answered under Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act.

The defendant appealed the decision. Judge Hargan held that for the purposes of the Defective Premises Act 1972, a relevant defect must arise out of a failure to maintain or repair a dwelling. The presence of paving slabs in a garden which was in an otherwise safe condition did not constitute a failure under the Act. A failure arises only where the continued existence of a defect is due to the landlord’s failure to carry out his obligation for the maintenance or repair of the premises.

This is a welcome result for landlords, which usefully clarifies the extent of their duties under the Defective Premises Act 1972.

This claim was handled by Catherine Luke, a Claims Handler from our Newcastle office.