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 acknowledged that section 11 of the 1985 Act could not be set aside by the contract.
Held: The Landlord’s appeal was allowed: ‘although he had a sufficient ‘interest’ in the front hallway and paved area for the purposes of section 11(1A)(a), Mr Kumarasamy was not liable for the disrepair which caused Mr Edwards’s injury, as (i) he could only be liable if the paved area was ‘part of the exterior of the front hall’ and it was not, and (ii) he could only be liable if he had had notice of the disrepair before the accident and he did not.’
Lord Neuberger said: ‘the repairing covenant implied by section 11 is to be interpreted and applied in precisely the same way as a landlord’s contractual repairing covenant. As I have sought to explain, the rule in relation to such covenants is that, until he has notice of disrepair, a landlord should not normally be liable for disrepair of property in so far as it is in the possession of the tenant. I can see no basis as a matter of principle for departing from the rule when it comes to covenants implied by section 11, which is what Dowding and Reynolds suggest. And, as a matter of practicality, once one departs from the clear rule, there is a real risk of uncertainty and confusion – for instance, it could be difficult to resolve whether, on particular facts, it is more likely that the tenant or the landlord should have noticed the disrepair.’

Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath
[2016] UKSC 40, UKSC 2015/0095, [2016] WLR (D) 385, [2017] 1 P and CR 2, [2016] AC 1334, [2016] 3 WLR 310, [2016] HLR 32, [2016] L and TR 25
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary, SC Summary Video, SC Video am, SC Video pm, WLRD
Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 11, Law of Property Act 1925 1
England and Wales
CitedNiazi Services Ltd v Johannes Marinus Henricus Van Der Loo CA 10-Feb-2004
The tenant counterclaimed an action by the landlord for rent saying the property had not been repaired under the landlord’s covenant. The water supply had for 33 months been weak, leading to only a trickle of water being available, and there had . .
Appeal fromEdwards v Kumarasamy CA 28-Jan-2015
The claimant was tenant of the defendant under an assured shorthold tenancy. He had tripped injuring himself on a pathway between the front doorway of the block of flats and the rubbish bins. The defendant held the flat himself as a tenant under a . .
Wrongly decidedBrown v Liverpool Corpn CA 1969
The premises at issue consisted of a terraced house to which access was obtained from the street through a gate, down some steps and along a two metre path which led to the front door of the house.
Held: The steps were part of the exterior of . .
CitedCampden Hill Towers v Gardner CA 1977
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 . .
ApprovedHopwood v Cannock Chase District Council CA 1975
. .
CitedMoore v Clark 5-Jul-1813
If the Plaintiff declares on a general covenant to repair a messuage, and assigns a breach, per quod he was put to expence, it is sufficient for a tenant to plead performance as to all except as to the repairs of a party-wall, and that those repairs . .
CitedMakin v Watkinson 1870
The court considered the extent of a Landlord’s duty of repair where he had entered into an express covenant for the purpose. . .
CitedLiverpool City Council v Irwin HL 31-Mar-1976
The House found it to be an implied term of a tenancy agreement that the lessor was to be responsible for repairing and lighting the common parts of the building of which the premises formed part. In analysing the different types of contract case in . .
CitedMurphy v Hurly HL 1922
Consequences of a defect in the repair of a sea wall possession of which had been retained by the landlord. The House considered the rule that a landlord is not liable under a covenant with his tenant to repair premises which are in the possession . .
CitedTredway v Machin CA 1922
. .
CitedBritish Telecommunications Plc v Sun Life Assurance Society Plc CA 3-Aug-1995
A landlord became in breach of his duty of repair under his covenant immediately the repairable defect occurred, not after a reasonable time had been given to make the repair. Nourse LJ summarised the earlier authorities: ‘It is now established by a . .
CitedVyse v Wakefield 1840
The declaration stated, that, by indenture, the defendant covenanted that he would, at any time or times thereafter, appear at an office or offices for the insurance of lives within London, or the bills of mortality, and answer such questions as . .
CitedMorgan v Liverpool Corporation CA 1927
The tenant claimed that he had been injured when as the upper portion of a window was being opened one of the cords of the window sash broke and the top part of the window slipped down and caught and injured his hand. The plaintiff admitted that the . .
CitedMcCarrick v Liverpool Corporation HL 1947
Premises’ Defect – No Notice Liability on L
The tenant’s wife was injured falling from defective stone steps leading from the kitchen to the back kitchen of the house. Under section the 1936 Act, the judge found the house not to have been kept in the state required. No notice of want of . .
CitedO’Brien v Robinson HL 19-Feb-1973
The plaintiffs sought damages after being injured when the ceiling of their bedroom fell on them. They were tenants of the defendants.
Held: The 1961 Act implied a duty on L to keep in repair the structure. What was meant by ‘keep in repair.’ . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 19 January 2022; Ref: scu.566879