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Liability

Topics dealt with on this page include:
  • Common parts - Southwark LBC v Long

  • Compromise of earlier possession claim - not an abuse of process to bring disrepair claim - Henley v Bloom

  • Condensation and damp - Lee v Leeds; Southwark LBC v McIntosh

  • Defective Premises Act - Sykes v Harry; Wadsworth v Nagle; Alker v Collingwood Housing Association

  • Installations - O'Connor v Old Etonian; Niazi Services v Van der Loo

  • Structure - defective plaster - s11 of 1985 Act

Common parts

Southwark LBC v Long
[2002] EWCA Civ 403

Facts

Secure tenancy of a flat in a block of council flats. The landlord (Southwark) covenanted:
  • To take reasonable steps to keep the estate and common parts tidy.

  • That facilities for collection of refuse shall be kept in proper working order.
The flat was situated next to a large bin into which a chute ran from the upper floors. The bin was often overflowing; tenants used the chute at times that were not permitted and smelly bags accumulated next to the bin. An arbitration tribunal required Southwark to take steps to prevent the problem. However, the problem persisted.

First instance

The judge at first instance found that in failing to take the steps required by the arbitration they were in breach of covenant, that there had been a nuisance in which they had acquiesced and that there was a breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment. Southwark appealed. They sought to rely upon the fact that they had employed contractors to do the job.

Held

The appeal was dismissed. Southwark's duty to take reasonable steps to keep the common parts clean and tidy was not, in the absence of any adequate monitoring system, satisfied by employing contractors. There was also sufficient evidence of a nuisance.

Comment

However, it is worth noting that the covenant to keep in proper working order did not require Southwark to install new facilities, nor to modify them. The chute was still capable of disposing of rubbish and fulfilled the function that could reasonably have been foreseen at the beginning of the tenancy. (O'Connor v Old Etonian Housing Association Ltd ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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