Anthony Gold’s Giles Peaker and Eleanor Solomon were instructed by tenants and leaseholders of a block of flats at their wits’ end having endured a terrible renovation project by a local authority freeholder. The project ran substantially over schedule during which time the residents were caged in by scaffolding, at various points with an inappropriate covering meaning that they could not see daylight. They lost the use of their balconies and of a lift and suffered noise dirt and dust for a much longer period than was necessary. A carbon monoxide leak harmed a resident. Then the lead contractor was sacked and works stopped for 3 months. Fed up with living on a building site, tenants and leaseholders sought advice from Anthony Gold on compensation. Giles Peaker and Eleanor Solomon obtained in excess of £100,000.00 for 13 separate Claimants in complex repairs and nuisance claim.
Such cases are notoriously difficult. The law says that ordinarily tenants should put up with the inevitable disruption of building work as the repairs or improvements will benefit them. The law recognises that it is impossible to do building work without causing any disruption and allows landlords leeway for this. However, some in cases, such as this one, the landlord goes too far so that the works have gone on for so long or have been managed so badly as to be unlawful.
Anyone with a right in land, including tenants and leaseholders as well as private owners, may have a claim in common law nuisance if someone unreasonably interferes with their land. In addition, tenants and leaseholders have a right to quiet enjoyment from their landlord, essentially to be left alone to enjoy their property.
In this case, it was successfully argued that the excessive duration of noise, dust, dirt and disruption arising from living on a building site for over 2 years amounted to common law nuisance and breach of quiet enjoyment. Some Claimants also brought related compensation claims for various repairs which had not been done over the years.
The team pressured the council to take charge and properly manage the project. The council completed the remainder of the project and compensated the residents.