Hearing Gavin and another v Community Housing Association Ltd [2013] EWCA 580 in relation to a landlord’s repairing obligations where a lease is silent on the point, the Court of Appeal recently held that a landlord was not responsible for repairs to the retained part of the property.

The tenant had claimed damages for loss of business arising from leaks from the retained parts which had affected the demised premises. Refusing to imply a repairing obligation on the landlord, the court held that the lease contained a comprehensive code for dealing with repairs to the retained parts through the insurance provisions.

The decision will no doubt be welcomed by landlords with similar leases and it highlights the courts’ reluctance to imply a repairing obligation on the landlord into the lease where the parties have negotiated a different arrangement. To do so, in the Court of Appeal’s view, would be to improve the contract from the tenant’s point of view. In the present case the landlord was not under an express obligation to repair, although the lease did contain insurance provisions that dealt with repairs to the retained parts.

From a tenant’s perspective, those taking a lease where the landlord retains parts of the building should make sure that they determine who is responsible for repairing the various parts of the building. If the lease is silent, this case suggests it would be prudent of the tenant to consider whether the insurance provisions of the lease provide an adequate framework for repair.

If you would like any further information about this issue, please contact me by emailing simon.burlinson@edwincoe.com.

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