Here is a blog clinic question from Barbara whose daughter is a tenant:
My daughters fence panel has fallen down the landlord still hasnt been round to fix it. Tried chasing him now not answering his phone. My granddaughter cannot play in the garden as it is not secure.
Last night someone walked into her now unsecure garden broke into her shed and stole everything. Is the landlord liable as he has not fixed his broken fence and can we get him to replace items that were stolen?
There are a number of things to consider here.
First – is the landlord actually liable to repair the fence? You need to look first at your tenancy agreement, although I expect it will probably be silent about garden fence panels.
In which case, my view is that it is not the landlords responsibility to do the repairs, as this does not come under the landlords statutory repairing covenants under s11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985. But if anyone else has a different view please say so.
Second – even if he were, is he liable for the loss? My view, again, is that he is not. It is arguable that a fence panel is not going to deter someone who wants to break in and steal something, so the burglary could well have happened anyway. You canot link it up FOR SURE with the missing fence panel. Although I suppose it will be an attraction for opportunist burglars.
Third – generally it is up to tenants to arrange for insurance for their own possessions, and the landlord is not responsible for them. It could also be said that perhaps it was unwise for your daughter to leave the items there in the circumstances.
I am afraid this is the ‘wrong’ answer so far as you are concerned. Sorry! However if any readers have a different view please leave a comment.
I have to say it is something I would have expected a good landlord to do anyway, even though it may not strictly speaking be something they are legally liable for. Simply as a matter of good landlord / tenant relations and so as to keep the property secure.