Mrs D later contacted Bartletts and we advised her that she had strong grounds for making a personal injury claim for falling down the communal stairs. Responsibility for safety in communal areas at the block of flats was shared by the owners of the properties, and, by extension, the management company representing them. The latter party had acted negligently in failing to repair the malfunctioning automatic lights within a reasonable timeframe, and in doing so had placed residents like Mrs D at the risk of serious injury. Had action been taken to repair the lighting problem after it was reported, it was clear that the accident would not have happened.
Under their mandatory building insurance policy, the management company was covered for public liability accidents, and after they acknowledged responsibility for Mrs D's injury, she received a compensation settlement of £3,500.
Landlords are obliged to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the properties they rent out, with both staircases and bannisters treated as part of the structure under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Landlords are also responsible for the condition and safety of communal staircases, for example, in estates and tower blocks. While tenants are expected to notify their landlord about any problems with staircases and bannisters inside their residence, the landlord has an obligation to deal with disrepair issues in common areas if they are the owner of the block or estate, even if they have not been given notice.
Tenants can expect that staircases and bannisters will be in a state of good repair when they move into a rented property and kept that way for the duration of the tenancy agreement. When a disrepair issue is reported to a landlord, they must act to deal with it in a timely manner, and at least address a tenant’s concerns within 20 working days. Elderly tenants, in particular, are at risk from rotten floorboards, loose carpeting and missing or damaged bannisters causing them to fall down the stairs, and landlords need to be aware of the vulnerability of such tenants when handling reported disrepair issues at their properties.
Our client, Mr P, was injured in the block of flats where he was renting a property after he fell down the stairs due to a loose handrail. The staircase in question led down to the basement of the block, where storage space was available for tenants. The handrail had become loose and wobbly a few weeks earlier, and the issue had been reported to the landlord's agent, but no repair work had been carried out. Neither was any warning sign posted to indicate the condition of the handrail. Mr P was not aware of the problem, as he had not previously used the staircase, and on the day of the accident was carrying a heavy bag of items he wished to place in storage down to the basement. As he grabbed the handrail to support himself, it shifted position under his weight, causing him to lose his balance and fall down the flight of stairs onto the concrete floor at the bottom.
Mr P damaged his wrist and shoulder in the accident, forcing him to take a week off work and seek specialist medical attention. When he heard about the situation regarding the handrail from another tenant at the block, he contacted our firm for legal advice, and subsequently decided to make a personal injury claim against his landlord. In correspondence with the landlord's insurers, we pointed out that landlords are obliged to keep communal areas at rented properties in a state of good repair to ensure that tenants are kept reasonably safe from the possibility of getting injured. The landlord had been informed about the problem with the handrail, but no action had been taken and, most importantly, no warning sign had been posted concerning the potential danger, action that would most likely have prevented Mr P's fall. A compensation settlement of £2,750 was eventually agreed for Mr P's injury caused by the broken handrail.
We have won a variety of cases for clients who have been injured at rented properties, ranging from a claim on behalf of a tenant who fell down poorly lit communal stairs, to a claim on behalf of a child who was injured by discarded building materials at a rented property.
Claiming with us is easy. Get a free no obligation initial consultation about your case, your rights, and our no win no fee agreement. All information can be taken over the phone. Medical treatment is local to you. We aim to keep the claims process short by keeping claims out of court. If your claim does need to go to court it is unlikely that you will need to attend court, as cases settle before the final hearing.
Compensation will pay for private healthcare treatment. It will also cover:
Expenses (such as the cost of travel to hospital appointments)
Loss of income
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries and the likelihood that you’ll make a full recovery. We’ll seek expert opinions on what care you’ll need to ensure that the compensation we claim will be sufficient.