Wallace and others v Manchester City Council: CA 23 Jul 1998

Damages payable to a tenant for a landlord’s failure to repair whilst the tenant remained in the property were not separate damages for discomfort and diminution in rental value since these amounted to the same thing: ‘for periods when the tenant remains in occupation of the property, notwithstanding the breach of the obligation to repair, the loss to him requiring compensation is a loss of comfort and convenience that results from living in a property that was not in the state of repair it ought to have been in if the landlord had performed his obligation’ and ‘Thus the question to be answered is what sum is required to compensate the tenant for the distress and inconvenience experienced because of the landlord’s failure to perform his obligation to repair? Such sum may be ascertained in a number of different ways, including, but not limited to a notional reduction in the rent. Some Judges may prefer to use that method alone (McCoy v Clarke), some may prefer a global award for discomfort and inconvenience (Calabar and Chiodi), and others prefer a mixture of the two (Sturoloson v Mauroux and Brent LBC v Carmel). But in my judgment they are not bound to assess damages separately under heads of both diminution in value and discomfort. Whilst in cases within the third proposition these heads are alternative ways of expressing the same concept.’
The essence of calculating of quantum is that it is a contractual claim, not one in tort. The court sets out to quantify the difference in value between the disprepaired property and the property as it would be if the landlord had fulfilled the repairing obligation. Discomfort and inconvenience for the tenant are a part of this head, not a separate, tortious, head of damages.


Morritt LJ


Times 23-Jul-1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 1166, [1998] 3 EGLR 38, [1998] 30 HLR 1111




England and Wales


CitedCalabar Properties Ltd v Stitcher CA 1983
The landlord had failed in his duty to repair. One tenant’s health suffered because of the damp, and they had to rent other premises.
Held: The landlord has only a reasonable time to effect repairs once he has been given notice of the need for . .

Cited by:

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 . .
CitedEnglish Churches Housing Group v Shine CA 7-Apr-2004
The claimant was a secure tenant of English Churches Housing Group. He was unemployed and lived on benefits. He claimed damages against his landlord for breaches of the repairing covenants implied by section 11. The court considerd the appropriate . .
CitedRegus (UK) Ltd v Epcot Solutions Ltd CA 15-Apr-2008
The appellant had contracted to provide office accomodation to the defendant. The air conditioning did not work and there were other defects. The appellant now challenged a finding of liability and that its contract terms which were said to totally . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant, Damages

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.90262