Is a landlord obliged to carry out repair and decoration work for a disabled tenant so that the tenant can "enjoy" the property? A recent case considered this.

B was a tenant who suffered from severe and regular epileptic fits. As a result, he was unable to comply with the requirement under his tenancy to keep his house in good decorative order. The landlord agreed to waive that requirement, but B claimed that the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) imposed a duty on the landlord to carry out the repair and decoration work for him. He argued that this would be an "auxiliary aid", which the landlord had a duty to provide so that he could enjoy his property.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the claim - the landlord was not obliged to carry out the work for the tenant. It held that the words "enjoy" and "enjoyment" in the DDA simply referred to the exercise and use of the right of occupation and having the full benefit of it rather than deriving pleasure from it. The state of decoration of the premises was not so awful that it could be considered unreasonably difficult to continue living in the premises and enjoy it in that context.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 has now been replaced by the Equality Act 2010, which contains similar provisions in relation to premises and it is likely that this case would also affect the interpretation of those provisions.

Further details of the Beedles v Guinness Northern Home Counties Ltd (2011) case can be viewed here.