Q&As

Can a landlord be held liable for its tenant causing a nuisance by smells, given they are neither the occupier of the land nor have authorised or permitted the nuisance?

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Published on LexisPSL on 22/08/2019

The following Property Disputes Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a landlord be held liable for its tenant causing a nuisance by smells, given they are neither the occupier of the land nor have authorised or permitted the nuisance?

Can a landlord be held liable for its tenant causing a nuisance by smells, given they are neither the occupier of the land nor have authorised or permitted the nuisance?

The tort of private nuisance allows recovery of damages and/or injunctive relief where there has been the unreasonable use of land to the detriment of neighbouring land (see, generally, Miller v Jackson). It is necessary for the claimant to have some interest in the land affected, whether as freeholder, leaseholder, tenant or some other proprietary interest (see Hunter v Canary Wharf). The use of the land constituting the nuisance must be unreasonable, which will mean that claims are fact-sensitive. The court will consider the character of the neighbourhood, the duration of the nuisance and other factors to determine whether the nuisance is actionable.

Smells can be an actionable nuisance. In Barr v Biffa Waste Services Ltd, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the High Court that as there had been no breach of the operating

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