In the case of Beedles v Guinness Northern Counties Ltd, the Court of Appeal ruled that The Disability Act 1995 did not require the landlord to carry out repairs and redecoration to a property as they were the responsibility of the tenant.
Mr Beedles was the tenant of Guinness Northern Counties under an assured tenancy. He was disabled within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act, which meant he was unable to comply with his obligations to keep his flat in good decorative order. His flat was in a shabby condition but could be improved by minor work including sticking back peeling wallpaper.
Mr Beedles made a request under the DDA , asking Guinness to carry out the work as an auxiliary aid or service but Guinness refused.
He took the view that the provisions of the act imposed an obligation on the landlord to do the decorating for him, claiming that otherwise it would be impossible for him to ‘enjoy’ the property.
The Court of Appeal rejected this and held that ‘enjoyment’ meant no more than being able to use the premises in an ordinary lawful way.
David Hollingworth of Andrew & Co LLP says: “Although this judgement should be of some comfort to landlords, the exact extent of landlord responsibility remains far from clear.”
He added: “It means landlords will need to have processes in place to make sure that each request of this sort is carefully considered in future.”
As a landlord, if you’re ever in any doubt about what your obligations are regarding tenant requests, get in touch with us for advice. As the case above demonstrates, every case needs to be considered on an individual basis. Giving an unconsidered answer, could land you in hot water.