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A duty of care is placed on both freeholders and management under s4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 in relation to any person who might be affected by a defect, ‘to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to see that they are reasonably safe from personal injury or from damage to their property caused by a relevant defect’.

This is civil redress and a defect is relevant if the landlord knew about it or should have known about it – the fact that a defect has not been reported or there has been a failure to inspect (e.g. rotten floorboards or joists) does not remove liability. It is for this reason that it is important that landlords (or their agents) carry out regular checks on the property.

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