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Landlords and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Posted: 9th August 2011   In: Commercial Property

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a landlord did not have to decorate a disabled tenant’s flat so that he could fully “enjoy” the property.

The case involved a tenant who suffered from epilepsy. The tenancy agreement required tenants to decorate and clean the property as often as was necessary to keep it in reasonable order.

The tenant said he could not decorate because he suffered from seizures. The landlord responded by waiving the right to insist on internal decoration.

However, the tenant maintained that he could not “enjoy” his occupation of the property within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the Act) because it had become shabby through neglect.

He submitted that the landlord was obliged under the Act to maintain and decorate the property to a standard that enabled him to derive pleasure from his home.

However, the judge found that the decorative problems were superficial and easy to remedy. He held that the Act did not require the provision of aid or services beyond what would normally be expected in a landlord and tenant relationship, with reference to a vague concept of “enjoyment”.

The tenant appealed saying that in order to “enjoy” his premises he should be able to perform the same activities as any other tenant such as watching television, enjoying hobbies and having people to visit.

The Court of Appeal held that the judge’s finding that the decorative problems were superficial prevented a conclusion that the absence of decoration by the landlord made it unreasonably difficult for the tenant to enjoy the premises. The tenant’s appeal was therefore bound to fail.

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