Landlords urged to have adequate liability insurance

22nd August 2013

With demand for rented homes soaring, a recent court case serves as a reminder of a landlord’s responsibility when their tenant sustains an injury on the premises, says Neille Ryan, a personal injury specialist at Kent law firm Furley Page.

In Alexander v Fresh Water Properties at the Court of Appeal, the landlord was held personally liable for his contractors’ negligence when they removed the handle from a heavy self-closing door, but then failed to install a temporary handle.

Neille says: “The claimant, a tenant living at the property, faced with a door with no handle had to grasp the edge of the door and suffered a partial amputation when it slammed shut on her finger.

“The court did not suggest that the contractor was incompetent, or that the landlord had failed to check the builder’s credentials. But the landlord’s duty to take reasonable care for the safety of his resident was not one which the landlord could pass on to the builder.

“For landlords this highlights the importance of having adequate liability insurance. Cases which get all the way to the Court of Appeal are expensive!”

Neille says that for tenants the decision is a reminder that there are some responsibilities which their landlord cannot avoid by passing tasks onto others. 

He also points out that accidents in rented properties are likely to grow as the letting market continues to expand, driven by the rising price of buying a home, bank reluctance to lend to first time buyers without a hefty deposit and soaring demand, especially in university towns where large numbers of students inflate the market.

Neille Ryan is a specialist in industrial disease and personal injury compensation claims, and has acted for both claimants and defendants. He handles road traffic accidents, slips and trips, work accidents and diseases, injuries involving animals, product liability, occupier’s liability and accidents at sea. His cases range in value from a few thousand pounds to multi-million-pound catastrophic injury claims.

For further advice about personal injury liability and claims, contact Neille Ryan on 01277 763939.


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