Who is liable for inherent defects?

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

  • Who is liable for inherent defects?
  • Are there any implied obligations to remedy inherent defects?
  • Defects that cause damage

Who is liable for inherent defects?

Defects in design, faulty installation or the use of inappropriate or inadequate materials when building a property can lead to significant problems later on. In one leading case, defective joints in the basement of an office building let in water so that the basement was unusable. In another, poorly designed double glazing units led to condensation and black mould. Where such problems arise, the question of liability closely follows.

Disputes over inherent defects in leasehold property frequently focus on the terms of the landlord’s or tenant’s covenant to repair. For liability to arise under that covenant, there must have been some disrepair or damage, which is a falling away or deterioration from the original condition of the item in question. A covenant to repair does not carry with it an obligation to remedy poor design, faulty installation or any other defect that has not caused damage to the property. Where there is no disrepair, remedying such a defect would be an improvement rather than a repair.

If there is no disrepair, and if the covenants impose only an obligation to repair, then it is entirely possible for the court to find that neither party is responsible for remedying an inherent defect.

Are there any implied obligations to remedy inherent defects?

Wherever possible, the court has

Popular documents