Landlord Has Limited Liability for Nuisance of Tenant

When a tenant causes a nuisance to other tenants or to people nearby, the tenant is obviously the person responsible for the nuisance.

However, can the landlord also be held liable since the landlord allowed the tenant to be in the position to create a nuisance in the first place?

That was the question before the Supreme Court after a couple brought an action against the landlord of property let to the Suffolk Tigers speedway team, which is based at Mildenhall in Suffolk.

The couple found that their peace was disturbed by the speedway and the motocross track adjacent. However, they also sued the landlords. The various actions were eventually decided, apart from the question as to whether the landlords were liable to the couple. This issue went to be determined by the Supreme Court.

The Court ruled in the landlords' favour.

For a landlord to be liable, it had either to be directly involved in the commission of the act(s) which caused the nuisance or to be regarded as having authorised the commission of the nuisance by the letting of the property.

It is not enough that the landlord did nothing to prevent the nuisance from happening. There has to be direct involvement. Accordingly, there would have to be a virtual certainty of the nuisance resulting from letting the property before the landlord could be held responsible.

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