Mind the Step!

Article

27 November, 2015

Joynes v Wakefield and District Housing Ltd

The Claimant alleged that as he was exiting a property owned by the Defendant, he placed his right foot on the outside step and as he lifted his left leg over the lip, he caught his left foot and fell. It was alleged that the step and threshold was dangerous.

During cross examination, doubts over the precise mechanism of the accident emerged. In addition, the Judge did not accept that he had previously reported a problem with the steps or that there had been a similar incident involving a plasterer who had visited the property.

The Judge found that the Defendant had not created an unnecessary defect. In his concluding comments, the Judge succinctly remarked, "this was an accident and accidents do happen. The accident was caused by a person leaving a property who properly failed to lift his leg over the lip".

The claim was dismissed.

Forbes comment

Liability was robustly denied from the outset, the step was an original feature of the property, it was not defective or in disrepair. In any event, the Defendant had not received notice of any concerns relating to the step prior to the accident. Wakefield and District Housing Ltd gave clear evidence that any report made by the Claimant would have been recorded and a prompt visit arranged. There is no duty on landlords to carry out proactive inspections and therefore the onus is firmly on tenants to report problems to the landlord.

For further information, contact Sarah Davisworth

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