Case Law

Wallace v Manchester City Council

The key housing disrepair case where the Court of Appeal held that damages for disrepair to premises let to a tenant were damages for distress and inconvenience which could be calculated either by reference to a notional reduction in the rent payable throughout the period for which the disrepair existed or by reference to a global award of general damages for discomfort and inconvenience.

In broad terms therefore damages for disrepair to premises let on a secure or assured tenancy were damages for distress and inconvenience which could be calculated by reference to the ‘Wallace tariff ’ of about £3,300 per annum or, more usually by reference to a notional percentage rebateof the rent paid during the relevant period.

Earle v Charalambous

This case backs up the Wallace v Manchester City Council case. The Court of Appeal held that the starting point for the assessment of damages for disrepair to leasehold premises was the reduction in the rental value of the premises for the relevant period. It was held that distress and inconvenience caused by the disrepair were not freestanding heads of claim but are symptomatic of interference with the lessee’s enjoyment of his asset.

Bernard v Meisuria

The claimants had been tenants of the defendant private landlord. They brought a claim for compensation for the landlord’s breach of his obligations to repair their drains. Their case was that rats had entered from the broken drains and that the rats and fleas had infested the house.

At trial, a judge awarded the claimants damages of £20,000.

Birmingham City Council v Lee

This case acts as an authority to allow a claimant to recover their legal costs from the start of the process when a solicitor sends a letter of claim regardless of whether the landlord makes the repairs within the ‘reasonable period’. This enables us as your solicitor to recover our legal costs and act on a no win no fee basis.

Armes v Real Property Co Limited

A two-bedroom flat in a Victorian terrace conversion suffering suffered from dampness to walls and floors in several rooms for many years. There had been a number of leaks into the property from a variety of sources. The landlord disputed notice but the court found in favour of the claimant.

The Judge awarded £18,161 and ordered specific performance of repair works.

Nzau v Gani

The tenant alleged damp and water penetration for a six-year period to the kitchen and bathroom. An abatement notice had been served by the Council. The Court awarded amounts by way of general damages of between 5-50% of rent for different periods.

The claimant was awarded £10,903.

Clark v Affinity Sutton Homes Limited

The tenant occupied a one-bedroom flat between November 2004 and February 2014. The claim concerned penetrating damp from January 2007. Remedial works had been carried out in 2008 and 2013 but failed to repair the problem. Expert evidence found water penetration to the bathroom with condensation dampness and mould growth to living room, bedroom and kitchen which was found to be caused by a defective DPC damp proof course.

The total award was £11,200 (including £3,742 special damages).

Wade v Dormeuil

A private tenant of a two-bedroom flat from October 2010 until October 2013 brought a disrepair counter claim to possession proceedings.Damages sought for defective roof/gutters causing water penetration to the rear bedroom and hallway, intermittent penetration to the main bedroom, dampness to the living room, defective flush to the toilet, two gas leaks resulting in a lack of hot water for five days, a slow water flow into the water tank, defective and cracked plaster, defective windows to the living room, defective radiator and external defects.

Defence to counter claim struck out and the Court proceeded solely on the basis of the tenant’s evidence.

Total damages award of £24,203.35.

Whittingdon v Uddin

A private tenant claimed damages in respect of a 3-year period where the property had defective windows. This resulted in water penetration in to the bedroom and internal leaks in the kitchen and WC and moderate external disrepair. The landlord failed to carry out any repairs despite repeated complaints.

The Court ordered £9300 plus special damages and an award in respect of harassment.

Coleman v Peabody Trust

Damages sought in respect of two-bedroom flat with cracked and defective windows throughout the premises from the end of 2009 until August 2014.

Claim settled for £7,500

Lawrence v Lambeth LBC

Secure tenant of a four bedroom flat claimed disrepair in respect of the poor condition of windows, which let in water and had mould growth around them. Limitation took effect from May 2007. Patch repairs carried out in June 2012. Central heating defective for several years and remedied in December 2011. Intermittent leak under the sink and from behind the toilet. Infestation of mice for around four years.

The landlord defended on the basis that the standard of repair was commensurate with the property’s age, condition and status.

Claim settled for a global figure of £12,500 (£9,500 general damages equating to approximately 20% of the rent, £1,500 for exacerbation of asthma due to damp conditions and £1,500 special damages).

Thomas v A J Bradburn

Assured shorthold tenant of two-bedroom mid-terrace house complained over hot water system and storage heaters. From late-2008 the roof had a hole in it allowing water to leak through. Damp patches developed. Patch repairs carried out by the landlord but inadequate. Roof problems worsened by late-2009 and tenant’s bedroom ceiling collapsed. The tenant had to sleep downstairs for one year.

Court awarded £10,600 (including £1250 special damages)