Defective Premises Act—provision of dwellings
Defective Premises Act—provision of dwellings

The following Property Disputes practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Defective Premises Act—provision of dwellings
  • What is a dwelling?
  • Provision of a dwelling
  • ‘In connection with the provision of a dwelling’
  • When does the duty apply?
  • Property developers
  • Duty to everyone with an interest in the property
  • Unfit for habitation
  • Liability cannot be excluded or restricted
  • Liability not abated by a disposal
  • More...

Under the Defective Premises Act 1972 (DPA 1972), a person who takes on work for or in connection with the provision of a dwelling owes a duty to ensure that the work is done in a workmanlike or, as the case may be, professional manner, with proper materials so that the dwelling is fit for human habitation. 'Fit for habitation' does not impose a separate obligation, but is the standard by which 'workmanlike manner' and 'proper materials' are to be judged.

What is a dwelling?

Exclusive possession of a particular space for the purpose of living was the best indicator of what constitutes a dwelling.

Provision of a dwelling

The duty is owed whether the dwelling is provided by the erection, conversion or enlargement of a building, but does not apply to repairs to an existing building.

In Jenson v Faux, the Court of Appeal confirmed that there may be cases where works to an existing dwelling are so extensive as to amount to the provision of a new dwelling, the identity of which is wholly different to the old one. The works of extension or refurbishment would, however, have to be much more substantial than the works to Mr and Mrs Jenson’s property. There were changes to the existing loft and cellar to create considerably more space, but the ground and first floors were approximately the same and

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