Q&A Former tenant is trying to sue for alleged injury caused by frayed carpet

Q:        I own a property that was let out through a property management company for several years. Last year the tenants moved out without giving notice, owing two months’ rent and leaving damage that cost more than their deposit to repair. We agreed with the management company that it was pointless pursuing the former tenants for the extra money and we just retained their deposit.

Now we have received a solicitor’s letter telling us that the former tenant is suing us for injury caused by a fall down the stairs due to a frayed carpet which they say they reported to the management company several times. The management company have no record of this, although photographs taken after the tenants left do show damage to the carpet, which was replaced prior to reletting the property. What should I do?

A:        You should report the claim to your insurers and also obtain from your agent all paperwork relating to the letting of the property to those tenants; inspection reports, photographs, logs of any telephone or other contact between the tenants and the management company. This is essential to your defence, as under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the landlord has a legal obligation to carry out repairs to the property, and any injury sustained by your tenants due to a failure to carry out necessary repairs could leave you open to a compensation claim. Personal injury claims can be made up to three years after the injury was sustained.

Once you have all the information to hand, you should make an appointment with a solicitor immediately, to protect your position and defend any alleged claim. It may also be worth considering bringing a counter claim for unpaid rent and damage you believe the tenants caused that was not covered by the deposit amount you retained.

This question has been answered by Rod Waters, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194