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Damages in disrepair claims may be subject to an uplift following a recent Court of Appeal case

The Court of Appeal in the housing disrepair case of Khan v Mehmood confirmed that damages for breaching a repairing covenant are subject to the 10% uplift of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Simmon v Castle Uplifts

In Simmons v Castle the court held that a 10% uplift could be applied to general damages in tort and contract cases in relation to “pain, suffering and loss of amenity”, “physical inconvenience and discomfort”, “social discredit” and “mental distress”. It was not entirely clear from Castle v Simmon whether housing disrepair and unlawful eviction fell within the scope of the uplift.

Khan v Mehmood, confirms that an uplift can be applied to disrepair cases. The court said that a breach of repairing covenant manifestly falls within the class of cases covered by Simmons v Castle.

The case

The disrepair proceedings in this case were brought by a tenant in a counter claim after their landlord brought possession proceedings against them. The tenant complained that the property was in a poor state of repair, that it was suffering from infestations and that the floors were unstable in parts of the property.

Upon hearing the case, the District Judge dismissed the landlord’s possession proceedings and awarded the tenant general damages of 50% of rent for the period from 2007 to 2014. The judge also added the Simmons v Castle 10% uplift to the awards for damages.

The Landlord appeal of the case was dismissed by the Circuit Judge and permission was granted for the Landlord to appeal to the Court of Appeal on the uplift issue as well as the duration of the damages award.

The Court of Appeal unanimously held that the 10% Simmons v Castle uplift applied to general damages for breach of a repairing obligations.

What does this mean for landlords?

Through Khan v Mehmood, the Court of Appeal has made it clear that Simmons v Castle 10% uplifts do apply to general damages in disrepair cases. This will be a consideration for landlord’s and their lawyers when they assess potential liability and risk on disrepair cases.

If you need assistance with housing disrepair matters, please contact John Murray.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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