If you are living in a rented home, you must take the trouble to learn about your rights as a tenant. This is especially important if you sustain injuries in an accident that is due to the landlord’s negligence or mistake. The law mandates that landlords must make sure that the property they rent out to tenants is properly maintained and free from all potential risks. If the landlord fails in their responsibilities and you sustain injuries as a result of this negligence, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation.
What Tenants Should Expect In Terms Of General Safety Precautions
When renting out their premises, whether for residential or business purposes, a landlord has a legal duty of care towards their tenants. This means it is the landlord’s duty to ensure that the premises is free from any potential risks that could injure the new occupants.
These are just some of the major safety aspects that a landlord is responsible for:
Fire Safety Regulations:
Your landlord needs to make sure that the property they are renting out is not prone to fire mishaps and that proper care has been taken to minimise the risk of fire.
Gas And Water Leaks:
Your landlord is also responsible for inspecting their property for signs of water and gas leaks. If there is a possibility of a gas or water leak, preventive measures must be put in place immediately.
Landlords need to look into major and minor building repairs. This includes ensuring that the plasterwork is in order, the roof is strong and water proof, and that the boiler is functional and safe.
Asbestos Free Construction:
This applies to buildings that were constructed before the asbestos ban came into effect. Some landlords simply fail to conduct any tests to determine if asbestos was used in any of the fittings. Unfortunately, you could be at risk for mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer, if you inhale any asbestos fibres. This could happen if the asbestos is disturbed in any way.
Safe Electrical Systems:
All electrical circuits, wires and sockets must be properly insulated and earthed. Old electrical wiring and fittings must be replaced and all electrical appliances that are provided as part of the lease must be safe to use.
Maintenance check-ups at regular intervals are also a part of a landlord’s responsibilities. This would include:
- Assessing the domestic water systems to ensure that it does not promote the growth of dangerous organisms;
- Checking the installation and proper functioning of carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors;
- Ensuring that the furniture and furnishings in the building are fire resistant;
- Checking that fire escape routes are clearly marked;
- Conducting Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) to confirm that all appliances that come with electrical plugs are safe to use.
In addition to addressing the obvious risk factors on the premises, landlords are also responsible for removing less noticeable risks that may exist on the property such as clearing away broken or smashed glass, and repairing loose or torn floor coverings.
Landlords also need to ensure that their property is free from vermin infestations and that all or any greenhouses and ponds are secure, especially if young children are residing in the building.
Depending on the terms of your lease, your landlord may also be responsible for the upkeep of the garden, maintaining dishwashers, washing machines and internal communal areas.
Common Injuries Caused By Poorly Maintained Properties
If, during your stay in a rented property, you meet with an accident and are injured, or you fall ill because of less than ideal living conditions, your landlord may be held liable for your injuries and you may have grounds to claim compensation.
These are some of the more common injuries that result from negligence and poorly maintained properties:
- Severe, long-term respiratory problems that result from dangerous gases emitted from improperly fitted or poorly maintained boilers;
- Electric shock injuries from malfunctioning of large appliances that are not maintained or repaired. Faulty equipment has also been known to start fires in the home resulting in burn injuries;
- Head injuries, lacerations and even fractures can result from falling plastering or brickwork;
- Severe, chronic respiratory problems from persistent leaks and dampness that are not fixed;
- Lacerations or fractures from badly fitted or poorly maintained fences.
What To Do If You’re Injured On A Rented Property
If you sustain any injuries while living in a rented home and if those injuries are the result of the landlord’s negligence, you must explore your right to claim compensation. In order to file a successful claim you will of course have to prove that your injuries were caused by an accident that occurred on the property and that the accident itself was due to the landlord’s negligence. You can do this by getting photographs of the scene of the accident and of your injuries.
If you intend to go ahead a file a claim for compensation, the first thing you must do is get in touch with an experienced personal injury solicitor who will advise you as to how to proceed with your claim. Personal injury law is complex and unless you have some experience in this area, winning a claim by yourself can be extremely difficult.
A personal injury solicitor will help you navigate all of the legal red tape and will in fact help you file your claim and will most likely represent you in court on the basis of a No Win No Fee agreement. In a No Win No Fee agreement, you only cover the legal fees if the court rules in your favour and you are awarded compensation. The amount that you are liable to pay is almost always a percentage of the total award.