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Hi Ben, Im really worried about all this.
As a landlord you will have certain responsibilities for the upkeep of your property and may have potential liability for injuries suffered on the premises. The relevant law is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which states that a landlord has an implied duty that a property will be 'fit for human habitation' and that it will be kept so during the term of the tenancy.
The issue in this case really is why the accident happened and if it was due to your failure to maintain the property to a habitable standard. For example, did you know that there were issues with the structure of the chimney stack but failed to take appropriate action to make any necessary repairs. However, if the damage was caused by a freak accident, for example an unusually strong storm and there were no upkeep issues with the chimney, then it is unlikely that you can be held liable.
To succeed in bringing a claim against you, the tenant must show that:
Even if the person was to sue, I would not say that any compensation for a small cut with a few stitches would attract a high level of compensation. This would be a minor injury and at the lower scale of the compensation scale.
I certainly didnt know of any pre-existing problems with the chimney stack. Ive never had cause to go up in the loft during the time Ive had the house, (7 years).
Are we saying then that in your estimation any action by the tennant to attempt to get compensation through the court would not be successful?
I cannot guarantee that but to be successful they must prove that you had breached your duty of care towards them, by not maintaining the structure that caused the injury
How would they do that? would the fact that the house was not covered by adequate insurance affect the decision at all?
no, the insurance issue does not imply that the structure was not maintained. They will need to provide evidence that the structure was not maintained properly, for example if they have photos to show it was in disrepair or can get it verified by other means - it will not be easy thats for sure
should the case get to court what would be the worse case scenario regarding my liability for money given the circumstances and the fact that I have made the premises safe and that I have made an attempt to offer fair compensation?
what was the injury to?
The teenager suffered a cut to his head
if this was trivial scarring to the head then between £1,000 - 2,000 compensation worst case
But he would have to prove negligence on my behalf in order to get that sort of money?a
The cut apparently needed 3 stitches is this classed as trivial scarring?lt
well it's for a judge to decide but it won't be far off
Ok thanks for putting my mind to rest Ben. you
you are most welcome
From what I understand, based upon the information I have given, my tennant would have a difficult time proving negligence on my behalf as the stack was in the loft and therefore not something that would be checked as a matter of routine. If in the unlikely circumstance that negligence is proven however, then compensation is likely not to exceed £2k. Do you agree?
yes that is correct
Once again Ben, Thankyou
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