Council leaseholders, those who exercised the right to buy or those who bought from them, have been facing very hefty major works charges, perhaps particularly in London. When repairs have been carried out alongside Decent Homes programmes, or as large scale works of roof and window replacement have gone ahead, major works charges per household of £20,000 or more have not been uncommon, with some reaching £40,000 or £50,000. While there have been successful challenges to these on occasion, those challenges are the exception.
The DCLG is now proposing to cap charges for repairs recoverable by Councils. The proposed cap is £10,000 (or £15,000 in London) over a 5 year … Read the full post
Hunt & Ors v Optima (Cambridge) Ltd & Ors  EWHC 681 (TCC)
This is a brief note on what was a complex case arising out of what, by any measure, appears to have been a very poor construction and subsequent maintenance of a new build block of flats. As will become clear, I’m rather troubled by some of the Court’s findings
There were numerous defects pleaded by 8 Claimants:
1. The roof on each of the Phases has leaked at one point or another for many years. The roofs are flat and were laid with some (unidentified) flat roofing membrane overlying insulation with the membrane bonded to the decking
… Read the full post
Courtesy of Beatrice Prevatt’s disrepair update in the December 2012 Legal Action, here are a couple of County Court disrepair cases. Both proving the general rule which we have previously noted, that it is only the least competent of private landlords that let disrepair claims get to trial these days.
Woolf v North London Homes Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court 19 April 2012
Ms W was the assured shorthold tenant of NLH. She had a two bedroom attic flat from 28 November 2008. She left in January 2011. There was disrepair complained of from the start of the tenancy, including a leak to the bath, a leaking toilet, a burst … Read the full post
For long leases, outside the provisions of s.11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the repairing obligation of the landlord is limited to the exact terms set out in the lease, as is the extent to which the landlord can recover the costs of repairs from the leaseholder. As anyone who has dealt with repairs on housing association shared ownership schemes where the housing association is itself a lessee of part of the building will know, this can be an utter nightmare, where the immediate landlord can seem to escape any repairing obligations whatsoever. But what if the lease terms themselves contain an apparent error?
In Lucie Marie-Antoinette Campbell v Daejan Properties Ltd… Read the full post
Does the landlord’s repairing duty under Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 extend to damage by fire, flood or tempest?
LB Hammersmith and Fulham v Carty is a County Court judgment reported on Hardwicke Chamber’s site which raises some interesting issues on the interpretation of Section 11(2)(b) of LTA 1985. This provides:
(2) The covenant implied by subsection (1) (“the lessor’s repairing covenant”) shall not be construed as requiring the lessor—
(b) to rebuild or reinstate the premises in the case of destruction or damage by fire, or by tempest, flood or other inevitable accident, or
Ms C was a secure tenant of H&F (whose … Read the full post
Or Simmons v Castle round two
Simmons v Castle  EWCA Civ 1288
As you may know, the original Court of Appeal decision in Simmons v Castle on the 10% uplift in general damages (our report here) was revisited after representations by the ABI and APIL.
I’m not sure that the revised judgment has made things any more workable, but it has clarified some issues relevant to housing.
First, general damages for “four types of damage in relation to both tort and contract cases, namely “pain and suffering and loss of amenity”., “physical inconvenience and discomfort”, “social discredit”, and “mental distress”” are are to be given the 10% uplift. … Read the full post
Is the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 still relevant in a landlord & tenant relationship, or not?
Jasmine Alexander v (1) Freshwater Properties Limited (2) Christopher Place  EWCA Civ 1048
This was an appeal, decided within a few days of Drysdale v Fletcher in the High Court, but appearing to reach quite different conclusions on the applicability of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. I’ll give my view on the apparent differences at the end.
Ms Alexander was the occupier (whether tenant or leaseholder is not clear) of a flat in a block. Freshwater Properties was the landlord of the block and Christopher Place was a building contractor hired by Freshwater.… Read the full post