Public Liability – What risks am I taking as a landlord regarding public liability and injury claims from my tenants and visitors to the property?
Since the advent of no-win, no-fee legal practices there’s been a whole industry created around personal injury claims against employers and property owners, landlords included.
Landlords must make sure that their premises and the equipment they supply in them are in a safe condition.
You should ensure that you supply copies of all operating and safety instructions to tenants when they take up residence and you should carry out your own risk assessments between each tenancy.
You should also ensure that annual gas checks and regular electrical system inspects are carried out.
Inspection certificates and risk assessments provide excellent evidence that you have fulfilled your duty of care as a landlord, should there be an injury claim against you.
Having done that, the onus is on your tenants to tell you as landlord immediately if the premises become dangerous in any way.
If you do not make safe a defect that has been reported to you, or one you should know about, you may be sued for compensation if anyone suffers personal injury as a result of the defect.
Examples of accidents which can result in claims might include:
- falling on or over defective flooring and carpets, particularly stair carpets,
- loose or broken hand rails,
- scalds from defective plumbing,
- electrocution from unsafe appliances and wiring
- injuries by sharp objects or dangerous fixtures and fittings.
- glass doors have not had safety-glass fitted
- areas that have not been constructed, maintained, repaired to correct safety standards
- cupboards have fallen off the wall
- leaking pipes or roofs and falling ceilings
- illness or diseases cause by damp, condensation, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- any other type of hazard
It is very important that as a landlord you carry the correct public liability insurance. You should check with your insurers that this is the case with your landlord’s policy – remember, ordinary household insurance policies are not suitable for tenant properties.
By Tom Entwistle,
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©LandlordZONE All Rights Reserved – never rely totally on these general guidelines which apply primarily to England and Wales. They are not definitive statements of the law. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and/or seek professional advice with the full facts of your case and all documents to hand.©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law; always seek professional advice. Legislation changes, so check dates on these articles. If you have questions go to the LandlordZONE® Forums