Hussain and Another v Lancaster City Council: CA 14 May 1998

It was suggested that a landlord, or at least a local authority landlord, who knows or ought to know of a nuisance being committed in the neighbourhood of the demised premises, but who fails to take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances and within a reasonable time to prevent or control the nuisance, may thereby be held to have caused, continued or adopted that nuisance.
Held: Hirst LJ rejected that proposition, saying (amongst other things) that Smith v Scott was decisive authority against it: ‘Two main questions arise in connection with the claim in nuisance, using that word in its technical tortious sense, first as to its scope, and secondly as to the ambit of responsibility of landlords for their tenants’ acts of nuisance.’ The essence of the tort of nuisance was that: ‘the Defendant’s use of the Defendant’s land interferes with the Plaintiff’s enjoyment of the Plaintiff’s land.’
A local Authority, as landlord of tenants committing gross racist acts, was not liable in nuisance or negligence to neighbours for its failure to control their behaviour even though it set out to attempt to do so.


Hirst LJ


Times 27-May-1998, Gazette 10-Jun-1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 834, [2000] QB 1, [1999] 4 All ER 125




England and Wales


CitedHarris v James 1876
A landlord can be responsible for the acts of nuisance of his tenant if he has authorised the tenant to do the acts. . .
CitedSmith v Scott ChD 1973
It is not open to the court to reshape the law relating to the rights and liabilities of landowners by applying the principle of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 and thus saying that a landowner owed a duty of care to his neighbour when selecting . .

Cited by:

CitedMowan v London Borough of Wandsworth and Another CA 21-Dec-2000
The claimant tenant sought damages from the landlord and neighbour and fellow tenant for nuisance caused by the neighbour’s aberrant behaviour.
Sir Christopher Staughton said: ‘there is a strong trend in the cases in favour of the landlord who . .
CitedMitchell and Another v Glasgow City Council HL 18-Feb-2009
(Scotland) The pursuers were the widow and daughter of a tenant of the respondent who had been violently killed by his neighbour. They said that the respondent, knowing of the neighbour’s violent behaviours had a duty of care to the deceased and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant, Nuisance, Negligence

Updated: 30 May 2022; Ref: scu.144312