Can I sue my landlord for lack of fire alarms?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Can I sue my landlord for lack of fire alarms?

    All,

    Early Thursday morning (25/9) our downstairs neighbours flat caught on fire. My wife awoke as she faintly heard the downstairs hallway's fire alarm. Her quick thinking saved our building.

    It has become abundantly clear to me that we do not have a fire alarm in our flat - can we sue our landlord?

    Equally, the firemen advised us that our two main front windows are illegal as we cannot open them as they have been painted shut.

    We have been advised by the loss adjustor that the flat is uninhabitable and our landlord has stated that she doesn't have home contents insurance and that we have no recourse for compensation from the landlord for alternative accommodation.

    There is also a history of our landlord not wishing to fix any problems reported with the flat.

    Any guidance appreciated.

    #2
    Is it a furnished flat or unfurnished??

    Landlord does not have to insure contents unless its a furnished flat. You should insure your own possessions.

    Re the letting. There have been debates on this but its my understanding that your contract is now over through frustration, Go to the counci land they should put you into temporary accommodation until you find something else

    Re the Fire alarms, no they are not law, just advisable.
    GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

    Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

    Comment


      #3
      The flat is fully furnished - what difference, if any, does that make?

      Am I to assume that my landlord needs to have contents insurance by law?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by fozimoto View Post
        The flat is fully furnished - what difference, if any, does that make?

        Am I to assume that my landlord needs to have contents insurance by law?
        If flat is unfurnished, then there is no need for contents insurance by the owner, if there are no contents to insure !!

        If Flat is funished by owner ( not your furnishings ) they choose to have, or not have contents insurance. Owners don't live there so they wont have cloths, t.v's, food in fridge, and any damage done by the tenants to the furniture is the responsibility of the tenants to rectify, and funished flats tend to have more wear and tear than your own, so furniture is replaced more often in tenanted flats.

        Assume you bought your own flat, would you be pleased to be put in prison for not insuring your contents ??
        Contents include all YOUR items, shoes, cloths, TV video etc, etc etc, so how can the owner insure your contents ? as well. The owner can insure for their contents and personal possessions, but the owner has no personal possessions at your flat, they are at the owners house.

        Smoke alarms :- Debatable. Search the web.

        Uninhabitable.. Others here may advise in due course

        Comment


          #5
          If the building is an HMO, hardwired interlinked smoke alarms are a legal requirement as are heat detectors in kitchens. I take it this doesn't apply to your flats?

          I would have thought it would be worth writing to your landlord pointing out what a narrow escape you had and making some suggestions as to what you would like to see him do in order to safeguard his tenants now and in future. Ask him to get a joiner to release the painted-up windows so they open, then to fit window locks (for security from intruders). Once fitted you should keep the key at hand for ease of escape in a fire.

          For your own peace of mind you should invest in a smoke detector for each room (cost about £5 each plus batteries), and try sending him the bill, along with your letter. If he refuses to pay you can always take them with you when you leave and use elsewhere.
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for the feedback guys - much appreciated :-)

            Comment


              #7
              All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law 'duty of care' means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. Therefore it is strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas). It must be tested prior to occupation. Alarms can and do save lives. Once installed these devices must be checked on a regular basis.
              - Hope this helps

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by justaboutsane View Post
                There have been debates on this but its my understanding that your contract is now over through frustration
                Not correct. The doctrine of frustration has very limited, and indeed virtually no, application to tenancies. The agreement may contain a provision that either party can give notice of termination if the premises become uninhabitable and/or for the rent to suspended in such a case, but in their absence the tenancy continues and rent is payable.

                In most ASTs there is implied by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 "an undertaking that the house will be kept by the landlord fit for human habitation during the tenancy". Accordingly the landlord must make it fit for habitation. I think it follows from this that the tenant is entitled to compensation for as long as the flat is uninhabitable.

                In the absence of a provision in the agreement there is no obligation on the landlord to insure either the contents or the building.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The contract is frustrated. Time to find somewhere else.

                  BTW the times I put up smoke alarms only to find that the tenants have taken the batteries out "because it keeps going off".

                  What can you do?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by attilathelandlord View Post
                    The contract is frustrated. Time to find somewhere else.

                    BTW the times I put up smoke alarms only to find that the tenants have taken the batteries out "because it keeps going off".

                    What can you do?
                    Absolve yourself of the responsibility if there is a fire and they took the batteries out of the alarm you had provided. Walk away with your conscience clear. You did what you could.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by attilathelandlord View Post
                      The contract is frustrated.
                      Sorry, but it is not. See my previous post.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                        Not correct. The doctrine of frustration has very limited, and indeed virtually no, application to tenancies.
                        IIRC, there is authority (from the House of Lords no less) which held that frustration does apply to leases and, especially, in cases of destruction/damage by fire. I'm sure I've made this point before on LLZ - I'll have a quick look.

                        Here we are:

                        More recently, the courts have begun to concede that, in appropriate circumstances, a lease of land may be capable of being frustrated (for example by government expropriation). Events which it has been judicially suggested might frustrate a lease include the following: legislation which permanently prohibited building on the site, or perhaps its use for the demised purpose; or a convulsion of nature which might 'swallow up' the property, or bury it permanently under the sea; or the total destruction of an upper floor flat by fire or earthquake; or the destruction or serious damage by fire of demised premises*. Where a lease is frustrated, it has been said that the lease would be automatically discharged on the happening of the frustrating event.


                        * National Carriers Ltd v Panalpina (Northern) Ltd [1981] AC 675 at 690, Per Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone LC. Cf Lords Simon and Roskill at 701.



                        http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...fire#post81366

                        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                        In most ASTs there is implied by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 "an undertaking that the house will be kept by the landlord fit for human habitation during the tenancy". Accordingly the landlord must make it fit for habitation. I think it follows from this that the tenant is entitled to compensation for as long as the flat is uninhabitable.

                        I've not got the time to look it up, but doesn't that provision only apply to tenancies with very low rateable values, and is therefore, to all intents and purposes, defunct?
                        Health Warning


                        I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                        All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                          More recently, the courts have begun to concede that, in appropriate circumstances, a lease of land may be capable of being frustrated (for example by government expropriation). Events which it has been judicially suggested might frustrate a lease include the following: legislation which permanently prohibited building on the site, or perhaps its use for the demised purpose; or a convulsion of nature which might 'swallow up' the property, or bury it permanently under the sea; or the total destruction of an upper floor flat by fire or earthquake; or the destruction or serious damage by fire of demised premises*. Where a lease is frustrated, it has been said that the lease would be automatically discharged on the happening of the frustrating event.
                          Before the case it was generally believed that the principle did not apply to land. This was one of those unhelpful cases where the principle was held not to apply on the facts, but the court gave an indication of where it might apply. I cannot see the principle applying in any case where the premises can be restored within a short period.

                          Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                          I've not got the time to look it up, but doesn't that provision only apply to tenancies with very low rateable values, and is therefore, to all intents and purposes, defunct?
                          I expect you are right. It was something I dimly remembered. I just found the relevant section and did not look further. If it does not apply, what remedy does the tenant have in the absence of any express obligation by the landlord?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                            I cannot see the principle applying in any case where the premises can be restored within a short period.
                            I believe the opposite.

                            Faced with 2 alternatives, one being to hold that the AST continues and the LL has to repair asap and pay compensation (or the tenant has to pay rent on an unihabiltable property), and the other being that the tenant is released from liability, I think that, in the case of an AST which is short term, has no economic value, and is capable of being substituted by the tenant relatively quickly and easily, the court would be more than happy to apply Lord Hailsham's dictum in National Carriers and hold the AST frustrated in order to save everyone a great deal of hassle and potential injustice.
                            Health Warning


                            I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                            All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                              I believe the opposite.

                              Faced with 2 alternatives, one being to hold that the AST continues and the LL has to repair asap and pay compensation (or the tenant has to pay rent on an unihabiltable property), and the other being that the tenant is released from liability, I think that, in the case of an AST which is short term, has no economic value, and is capable of being substituted by the tenant relatively quickly and easily, the court would be more than happy to apply Lord Hailsham's dictum in National Carriers and hold the AST frustrated in order to save everyone a great deal of hassle and potential injustice.
                              The problem is that it is a dictum.

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X