The Expert Witness
JAC LTD has compiled over 250 'undisputed' Expert Witness Reports (EWR) and continues to do so on a daily basis for some of the countries largest social housing associations and private claims consultants in the South East Of England.
JAC LTD has the professional (EWR) knowledge and is pleased to act impartially for both sides, be it the Claimant (Tenant) or Defendant (Landlord) who wishes to pursue a disrepair claim for damages via their legal representative or solicitor under the current Landlord and Tenant Act (LTA) 1985.
Section 11 of the Landlord and
Tenant Act 1985 places an obligation on the landlord to maintain the structure
and exterior of the property, including installations for the supply of water,
gas and electricity, heating systems, drainage and sanitary appliances.
There are a number of
statutory implied terms which dictate your repair obligations as landlord. The
most important of these is Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
(which replaced s32 of the Housing Act 1961) which states that the
landlord shall keep in repair:
The structure and exterior of the dwelling.
The installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity and sanitation.
The installations for the supply of space heating and water heating.
The communal areas and installations associated with the dwelling.
The required repair will vary depending on the age, character, and prospective life of the property and its' location.
This means the landlord need not maintain a run-down property in an inner city area to the same high standards expected in an expensive central London apartment.
Landlords or people authorised by them, also have the right to view the condition and state of repair of the property on giving the tenant 24 hours notice [in writing and at a reasonable time of day].
If a tenant refuses to allow the landlord access to carry out the repairs then they:
Reduce their entitlement to claim for damages for disrepair or for personal injury caused by the disrepair.
Expose themselves to a potential claim for loss suffered by the landlord as a consequence of the landlord being unable to prevent further deterioration or damage to the property.
This may result in monies being deducted from the damage deposit.
Does the landlord have the
right of entry?
There is an implied term in tenancy agreements under the Rent Act 1977 and the Housing Act 1988 that the tenant will let the landlord have access to the property,
and all reasonable facilities, to carry out repairs which he or she is entitled to do.
Landlord and Tenant Act (LTA) 1985 requires specific performance by the landlord where there has been a breach, i.e. the payment of compensation will not act as sufficient remedy. This means that the County Court can make an order requiring the landlord to fulfil the express or implied repairing terms of the tenancy agreement.
Section 20 Notice (Disrepair Surveyor)
Section 20 of the Landlord &
Tenant Act (LTA) 1985 (as amended by the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002)
sets out the three-stage consultation procedure with which to follow when
carrying out qualifying works to your building.
For qualifying works, under Section 20
you would be required to serve a “Notice of Intention to Carry Out Works” upon all
lessees. The Notice must generally describe the proposed works, state the
reasons for considering the proposed works, and invite leaseholders to make
written observations within 30 days. The correspondence address for
observations should be stated within the Notice as well. The importance of the
Notice of Intention is that it offers lessees with the opportunity to provide
the name of a contractor from whom the Landlord/RMC should try to obtain an
estimate for the proposed works.
At the expiration of the 30 day
consultation period, at least two estimates should be obtained: one of these
estimates must be from a person completely independent of the Landlord/RMC. If
nominations were made within the consultation period, then estimates should
have been obtained from at least one of these nominations. The Landlord/RMC
must then provide a “Statement of Estimates” which sets out the details of
estimates that have been obtained and a summary of observations received within
the consultation period. Any estimates that have been obtained must be
available for inspection by the lessees, including estimates obtained from
nominated contractors. A “Notice to Accompany the Statement of Estimates” must
also be served in conjunction with the Statement of Estimates, which sets out
the hours and place where details of the estimates may be inspected, inviting
lessees to make written observations on the estimates within 30 days,
specifying the address to which those observations should be sent.
If, at the expiration of the
consultation period, the chosen contractor did not provide the lowest estimate,
then a “Notice of Reasons” must be served upon all lessees. This essentially
states the Landlord’s/RMC’s reasons for awarding the contract. It is worth
noting that if a nominee is chosen to carry out the works, and they didn’t
provide the lowest estimate, then although the requirements of Section 20 have
been fulfilled, it would be prudent to serve a Notice of Reasons because that
estimate could be tested for reasonableness by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
(LVT) under Section 19 of the 1985 Landlord & Tenant Act.
For long-term agreements, the
procedure is essentially the same, however Stage 2 is referred to as a Notice
of Proposals. For instance, an agreement such as an intercom maintenance
contract isn’t just about the cost of the maintenance, but the number of visits
per year, frequency of visits, number of staff per visit, inclusions/exclusions
of service etc.
In the event that the consultation procedure
is not followed correctly and the Landlord/RMC is successfully challenged at
the LVT, then the maximum amount recoverable from lessees under the service
charge is £250 for major works and £100 for long-term agreements.
- what are the landlord's responsibilities?
- Your landlord has to do anything your tenancy agreement says they have to do.
- Your landlord is also generally responsible for keeping in repair:
- the structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors, basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework, water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.
- These repair responsibilities can't be removed by anything your tenancy agreement says. Also, your landlord isn't allowed to pass on the cost of any repair work to you which is their responsibility.
- Your landlord only has to make repairs when they know there’s a problem - so make sure you tell them about any repairs that are needed.
For tenancies that began on or after 15
January 1989, these repair responsibilities extend to the common parts of a
building too, for example, entrance halls, stairs and lifts.
If your home isn’t safe for you to live in.
If your home isn’t safe to live in, it
might be ‘unfit for human habitation’ - this includes shared parts of the
building like entrance halls and stairs.
Your landlord usually has to make sure
your home is fit for human habitation if any of the following apply:
- You agreed or renewed your current tenancy on or after 20 March 2019.
- Your tenancy had a fixed term which ended on or after 20 March 2019 and you’re still in the property.
- You moved from a starter or introductory tenancy to another type of tenancy with the same landlord on or after 20 March
Your home might be unfit for human
habitation if for example:
- It has a serious problem with damp or mould.
- It gets much too hot or cold.
- There are too many people living in it.
- it’s infested with pests like rats or cockroaches.
- it doesn’t have a safe water supply.
It doesn’t matter if the problem was
there at the start of the tenancy or only appeared later.
Make sure to tell your landlord about
any repairs that are needed. Your landlord only has to do the repairs when they
know there’s a problem - unless it’s a problem with a part of the building your
landlord still controls, like the roof or the entrance hall.
Your landlord doesn’t have to make sure
your home’s fit for human habitation if you caused the problem by:
- Not looking after your home properly - for example not using the extractor fan after having a shower.
- Doing something unreasonable - for example leaving candles burning when you go out.
Negligence is generally about your
landlord causing you injury or damage as a result of their careless or
For example, your landlord may be negligent
if they didn’t do the repair work needed in your home after you told them about
it, and as a result you injured yourself or your belongings were damaged. They
could also be negligent if they did do the repair work, but did it carelessly
A private nuisance happens when
something in another property or in a common part of a building which is owned
by your landlord, affects the use and enjoyment of your home. For example, if
your landlord didn't maintain pipes in the roof space of your block of flats
and water leaked into your home causing damage. In this instance, you could
take action against the landlord based on nuisance.
Your landlord mustn't cause a statutory
nuisance. A statutory nuisance happens when your home is in such a state as to
be harmful to your health or is a nuisance.
Disrepair that's harmful to your health
could include dampness and mould growth.
Local authorities generally take action
against landlords where there's a statutory nuisance.
The Defective Premises Act 1972
Your landlord owes you certain duties of
care that are set out in this Act. They include a duty to prevent personal
injury or damage to property caused by defects in your home. This duty is owed
to you, members of your family, and also to visitors to your home.
The duty is owed where your landlord is
under an obligation to repair or maintain your home, or has a right to enter
the property to carry out maintenance or repairs.
The duty is owed if the landlord knows
or ought to have known about the repair, even if you haven't told your
Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
If you live in a HMO, your landlord has
extra legal responsibilities on fire and general safety, water supply and
drainage, gas and electricity, waste disposal, and general upkeep of the HMO.
A HMO generally covers houses divided
into bedsitting rooms with shared facilities, shared houses and flats, hostels
and bed and breakfast hotels that accommodate more than one household.
Some (HMOs) may also need a licence.
Safety in your home
Your landlord has specific responsibilities
for gas and electrical safety, furnishings and asbestos.
Making adjustments if you're disabled
If you're disabled, your landlord may have a duty
to make reasonable adjustments if you ask for them. However, your landlord
doesn’t have to do anything that would involve the removal or alteration of
Rest assured JAC LTD uses the latest specialist equipment including Flir Thermal Imaging cameras (TIC) producing high resolution infrared images and the latest non invasive Protimeter Surveymaster 2 moisture meters to identify condensation and penetration dampness plus Protimeter Hygrometers to detect for relative
humidity/ambient temperature and calculate the dew point, to first ascertain if
condensation was likely, which can be used legally to confirm for the courts, when required, factual and undisputable evidence of all (the LTA) defect/s identified by the inspecting EWR Surveyor.
Protimeter Surveymaster 2 Moisture Meter
FLIR E6 Thermal Imaging Camera
FLIR thermal imaging cameras (TIC), essential infrared image recording for the following;
Day to day maintenance
Fire damage reinstatement works
Hot works safety on site
Insurance assessments & claims
Planned & cyclical maintenance
Schedules of dilapidation
Section 11 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 Expert Witness Reports