A flat was let by an underlease for seven years. The lease excluded the outside walls of the flat, but the tenant covenanted to pay for repairs to the building through a service charge. The tenant refused to pay the service charge which included the costs of repairing a neighbouring block also (included within the definition of the premises by the underlease).
Held: The court will ask whether, in the ordinary use of words, the part of the house at issue would be regarded as structure and exterior. In this case that included the outside walls, the outside of interior party walls, the outer sides of the horizontal divisions between the flat and the flats above and below, and the structural framework and beams directly supporting the floors, ceilings and walls. The landlord could only recover for those items which it was obliged to repair, namely the external parts of the flat within the underlease, and could not recover the cost of repairing those parts it was obliged to repair in any event under the section.
Megaw LJ said: ‘[a]nything which, in the ordinary use of words, would be regarded as a part of the structure, or of the exterior, of the particular ‘dwelling house’ [sc the third floor flat], regarded as a separate part of the building, would be within the scope of paragraph (a).’, although ‘other parts of the outside walls and other parts of the structure of the block’ are ‘not ‘of the dwelling house’, and the paragraph expressly and deliberately uses the limiting words, as defined in the section itself, relating the paragraph to ‘the dwelling house”.
 2 WLR 159,  QB 823
England and Wales
Applied – Irvine v Moran 1991
The tenant took a lease for under 7 years, accepting repairing and other obligations. The question was how those obligations fitted the landlord’s implied obligations under section 32, and the effect of the section on decorating covenants. The . .
Cited – Wycombe Health Authority v Barnett CA 1982
A student tenant left the property for a few days. Whilst she was away, the pipes froze, cracked, and then burst. The landlord complained that he had neither turned off the water, nor lagged the pipes.
Held: The tenant had no such obligation . .
Cited – Edwards v Kumarasamy SC 13-Jul-2016
The claimant sub-tenant had been injured entering the block of apartments. He said that the freeholder was responsible despite no report of the disrepair having been made. The lease excused the landlord from unnotified liability. The parties . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Housing, Landlord and Tenant
Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.187656