The Court of Appeal has determined an intermediate landlord breached his implied statutory obligation to repair despite not being told about uneven paving outside.
In the case of Edwards v Kumarasamy, the landlord sublet a second floor flat via an AST to a person who subsequently tripped and hurt themselves on an uneven surface outside.
The headlease stated that it was the freeholder's obligation to keep any communal areas of the building in a good state of repair if he is given notice of any defect.
However, the landlord was not informed in this case. Nevertheless, they did have a legal easement concerning the front hall, of which the paved outside path made up part of the exterior.
The Court of Appeal therefore determined that this outdoor area could be covered by the implied repairing covenant.
Mark Vinall, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood who specialises in enfranchisement and conveyancing matters, commented: "Buy-to-let landlords amongst other intermediate landlords need to put procedures in place to guard against the risk of finding themselves in breach of this implied obligation to repair communal areas. Absent that they, the buy to let landlord may find themselves at the wrong end of a claim for damages by their tenant despite the terms of their own lease i.e. their own landlord being responsible to them for such parts.”