Can I Claim For Injuries Due To An Unsafe Building?
Here at Goodge Law we deal with many claims as a result of personal injuries due to unsafe or defective buildings. So what does the law say about this?
What is the general law under the Defensive Premises Act 1972?
Under Section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972, all developers and trades carrying out work on a new dwelling must do the work in a workmanlike, professional manner with proper materials to ensure that the dwelling is fit for habitation. This applies to work carried out on or after 1st January 1974 and extends to anyone connected with the work including landlords, builders, architects, surveyors and any subcontractors.
What if i am renting an unsafe property?
Under section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 a landlord has a duty to:-
- the tenant
- members of the tenant’s household, and
- visitors to the property
This duty applies if the landlord knew or ought to have known of the defect regardless of whether the occupier had informed him of the defect.
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 also imposes a duty on the landlord to keep the structure and exterior of the dwelling house in repair and the installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and heating water in proper working order. However, he is not liable to carry out any repair until he has been given notice of the need for repair and given a reasonable time to carry it out.
What is meant by a “dwelling”?
This extends to newly built properties, conversions and enlargement of existing buildings if a new dwelling is provided.
What is meant by the term “fit for habitation”?
This means that it must be safe for occupation, have sufficient water supply, be free from infestation by pests, have adequate drainage and be free from infection. Each case will be fact sensitive and be based on its individual circumstances.
Do landlords have any defences?
The person who carried out the work must ensure the work has been done properly. A landlord cannot argue that it was reasonable to believe that the work was adequate.
What is the extent of the duty?
The duty is owed to:-
- The person for whom the property was provided
- Subsequent tenants and owners
- Anyone else who has a legal interest in the property
Are extension works or refurbishment covered?
The Defective Premises Act 1972 only applies to new dwellings. For the duty to apply to extension works or refurbishment carried out on an existing building, the work must be so substantial as to constitute the “provision of a new dwelling”.
What is the Building Safety Act 2022?
The Building Safety Act came into force on 28th June 2022. This new legislation has extended the right to hold to account anyone connected with the building of new premises.
The Building Safety Act has also inserted a new section 2A into the Defective Premises Act 1972 which extends potential liability to refurbishment or extension works, whereas previously it had applied only to new dwellings.
What are the limitations of the Defective Premises Act?
The Defective Premises Act 1972 was problematic as the limitation period was previously 6 years. However, the Building Safety Act 2022 has extended the limitation period to bring claims under the Defective Premises Act and thus provided additional protection.
The limitation period for claims after the Building Safety Act 2022 became law have been extended from 6 to 15 years. The limitation period for claims before the Building Safety Act 2022 became law have been extended from 6 to 30 years.