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Work done before disposal/letting

This content applies to England & Wales

Liability for disrepair regarding work carried out before the disposal or letting of a property.

Duty of care

Under section 3 of the Defective Premises Act 1972, a duty of care is owed by people who carried out any repair, maintenance, construction, demolition or other work in relation to a property, or by people who are connected with such work (including landlords, builders, architects, surveyors and specialist subcontractors) for work that was carried out prior to the disposal or letting of the property.

The common law rule of immunity for landlords in relation to damage caused by defects in work done prior to the start of a letting was abolished with effect from 1 January 1974, when the Act came in to force.

Extent of the duty

The duty of care under section 3 is owed to 'anyone who might reasonably be expected to be affected by the defects in the state of the premises'. This can include tenants, homeowners, members of the household and visitors.

The duty only relates to tenancies (and acts of disposal) that started on or after 1 January 1974.

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