Warren v Keen: CA 1954

The landlord in a weekly tenancy sought to recover from his tenant, the sums expanded by him on repairs to the demised premises. The landlord alleged that it was an implied term of the tenancy that the tenant would use the premises in a tenant-like manner, and would keep them wind and watertight, and would affect fair and tenant-like repairs to them, in particular, the alleged defects in the premises which included damp and stained paster on the internal walls, a cracked and broken external wall, window sills leaking weather-proof joints, and with decayed paintwork and a leak in the hot water boiler.
Held: The defects particularised were due to fair wear and tear for which a weekly tenant was not liable. His only obligation is to use the premises in a tenant-like manner and therefore, the landlord was not entitled to recover.
Lord Denning said: ‘The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, where necessary, and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house, wilfully or negligently; and he must see his family and guests do not damage it: and if they do, he must repair it.’ and ‘if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time, or for any reason not caused by him, the tenant is not liable to repair it.’

Lord Denning
[1953] 2 All ER 1118, [1954] 1 QB 15, [1953] 3 WLR 702, 97 Sol Jo 742
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedWycombe 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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.221963