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NUISANCE CLAIMS www.lease-advice.org. Common law nuisance Use of land in a way that causes an unreasonable interference with the land of another. Will.

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Presentation on theme: "NUISANCE CLAIMS www.lease-advice.org. Common law nuisance Use of land in a way that causes an unreasonable interference with the land of another. Will."— Presentation transcript:

1 NUISANCE CLAIMS

2 Common law nuisance Use of land in a way that causes an unreasonable interference with the land of another. Will not assist the abnormally sensitive Take account of the area “What would be a nuisance in Belgrave Square would not necessarily be so in Bermondsey”

3 What constitutes a nuisance? Noise Smells Obstruction Dust Fumes Unlikely for a temporary problem Unless disruption is extreme

4 Noise nuisance A common problem Difficult to tackle Few neighbour-on-neighbour cases Expensive Lengthy On-going relationship Consider using Environmental Health powers EPA 1990 Potential prosecution / confiscation

5 Quiet enjoyment Protects tenant from interference with the right to exclusive possession Either Implied into every lease; or Express term Generally not useful in noise cases!

6 What is quiet enjoyment? Physical interference used to be key Markham v Paget [1908] 1 Ch 967 – mining Lavender v Betts [1942] 2 All ER 72 – removing windows and doors ‘Physical interference’ does have to mean ‘physical damage’ Perera v Vandiyar [1953] 1 WLR 672 – cutting off the tenant’s gas and electricity supply

7 What is quiet enjoyment? Interference with ‘the tenant’s freedom of action in exercising his rights as a tenant’ as per Lord Denning MR in McCall v Abelesz [1976] QB 585 Kenny v Preen [1963] 1 QB 499 – landlord sending threatening letters, banging on the door and shouting abuse at the tenant Entrance to undertake repairs will likely not amount to a breach of the covenant, provided efforts are made to minimise disturbance – Goldmile Properties v Lechouritis [2003] EWCA Civ 49

8 ‘Nuisance and annoyance’ Express covenant in the lease Broader than just ‘nuisance’ ‘Nuisance’ will be legal ‘Annoyance’ is broad Loud music Barking dogs Obstruction in common parts Does not have to be on the premises Whitbread v Ward (1952) 159 EG 494 Alleyway 200m away

9 Limitations on quiet enjoyment ‘Substantial interference’ with the tenant’s ‘ordinary reasonable enjoyment’ Acts done by the landlord or their servants / agents, and lawful acts of people deriving title from the landlord Tenants, not licensees

10 Comparison with nuisance Long v Southwark LBC [2002] EWCA Civ 403 – a claim for breach of covenant to take reasonable steps to keep the common parts tidy because of narrow rubbish chute CA considered alternative heads of claim for quiet enjoyment and nuisance. Held: No disrepair, as the chute was as it was built; No breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment as the covenant did not apply to the fitness of the premises and will not apply to remedy problems with the building Nuisance claim allowed, as the landlord had taken no steps to abate the nuisance of the bags being present

11 Landlord liability for tenants’ nuisance Important to consider the difference between nuisance and negligence Nuisance: unlawful interference with quiet enjoyment Negligence: causing reasonably foreseeable loss to another who is sufficiently proximate

12 Landlord liability for tenants’ nuisance Basic position is Landlord is likely not liable for a tenants’ nuisance; Landlord may be liable for a tenants’ negligence The two can be pleaded jointly or in the alternative Well-drafted leases and effective management are the best defences

13 Landlord liability for tenants’ nuisance Authority: Sedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan [1940] AC 880, HL Where a person in possession of land becomes aware that that land is a source of nuisance to a person in possession of adjacent land That person will be liable in nuisance to their neighbour for diminution in value of the neighbour’s land if they could have taken but failed to take such steps as were reasonable in the circumstances to end or reduce the nuisance

14 Landlord liability for tenants’ nuisance Leading case: Leading case: Mowan v Wandsworth LBC [2001] EGCS 6 Tenant complained to the council that the tenant of the flat above Regularly blocked the toilet, causing the flat below to flood with sewage Regularly left taps running, causing the property below to flood Regularly jumped up and down, causing excessive noise Regularly made noise late at night Had threatened to kill her The tenant claimed the council was liable as they were aware of the problem and had failed to do anything about it. The police had advised that the council tenant (who was mentally unwell) should be placed in residential care Council was not liable in nuisance because the council were not active participants in the actions causing nuisance

15 Conflicting case? Ribee v Norrie [2000] PLSCS 234 Fire started by resident in ahouse by lodger dropping a cigarette. The neighbour sued the owner of the house and won. Held, the neighbour could Reasonably have anticipated that the residents would smoke indoors; Reasonably have anticipated that the cigarettes would not always have been properly extinguished Reasonably have anticipated that those who sat on the settee might have dropped a cigarette and left it to smoulder Reasonably have anticipated the coverings and materials in the settee were flammable Have regulated smoking in the property to ensure safety Taken steps to minimise the danger created by smoking in the premises, such as appointing a live-in manager or living in the property himself

16 Can Mowan and Ribee be reconciled? Nuisance vs. negligence Was the landlord an ‘occupier’? Only in negligence Common parts?

17 The story continues… Brumby v Octavia Hill Housing Trust [2010] EWHC 1793 (QB) Nuisance caused by drug dealer’s ‘visitors’ Claim by tenant that landlord did not act quickly enough Landlord sought to have the claim struck out CA refused to strike out and referred the case to trial


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