Defective Premises Claims

There is a duty on the occupiers of premises to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of visitors. They should have in place procedures to assess their premises periodically, which identify all possible hazards and whether or not they need to take action to mitigate or remove the risks they pose.

The duty applies to:

  • Landlords
  • Homeowners
  • Shopkeepers
  • Bodies of authority
  • Private property owners
  • Public property owners
  • Public transport operators

Nevertheless, unfortunately, defects occur, incidents happen and injuries result. If you have been injured as a visitor to premises that were defective, we can help you to bring a claim for compensation.

A successful claim must establish that the occupiers failed their duty to take reasonable care and that this caused the suffered injury.

Usually, the circumstances of a claim will allow for a claim to be brought under Occupiers Liability as well as under the Defective Premises Act 1972, an ordinary Slip & Trip claim or an Accident at Work claim. For information on Occupiers Liability and the Defective Premises Act read below. For more information see our sections on Slip & Trip Claims and Accident at Work Claims.


Occupiers’ liability generally refers to the duty of a land owner to those who come onto their land. However, in some occasions this duty may be transferred to another person, hence the word ‘occupier’ is used. Liability may arise where the duty has been breached, which may be done through an act or an omission.

The law on occupiers’ liability is contained in thefollowing statutes:

  • Occupiers Liability Act 1957: imposing an obligation on occupiers with regard to ‘lawful visitors’.
  • Occupiers Liability Act 1984: imposing liability on occupiers with regard to persons other than ‘his visitors’.

To determine whether one is an ‘occupier’ for the purposes of Occupiers Liability legislation is a question of fact. A person will be an occupier if he maintains ‘occupational control’ over the premises: Wheat v E Lacon & Co Ltd [1966]. The person need not necessarily be in physical occupation: Harris v Birkenhead Corp [1976].

The 1957 Act imposes a duty of care on occupiers in respect to lawful visitors. Moreover, this covers not only land and buildings bur also fixed and movable structures, including any vessel, vehicle or aircraft: s.1(3)(a) OLA 1957. Under the 1957 Act a claimant may claim compensation for personal injury, death and damage to property.

The 1984 Act imposes a duty of care on occupiers in respect of persons ‘other than his visitors’: s.1(1)(a) OLA 1984. This includes trespassers, those who exceed their permission and those breaking into the premises with criminal intent: Revill v Newbery [1996]. The 1984 provides for less protection than the 1957 Act. A claimant may only claim compensation for death or personal injury.


The Defective Premises Act 1972 aims to protect owners and tenants of defective residential properties, if the defect has been present on the completion of the dwelling and it has rendered the property unfit for human habitation. The 1972 Act imposes strict liability, which means that if a defendant has breached the provisions under the Act, they are automatically liable to pay damages to the claimant.

For a claim to succeed under the 1972 Act, it must be proven, on the balance of probabilities, that there is a defect in the dwelling (the meaning of ‘dwelling’ is assessed as a matter of fact in each individual case) which has been caused by:

  • Failure to carry out work to a suitable standard, or
  • Failure to carry out work with appropriate materials.

It must also be shown that the occurred defect has rendered the premises unfit for human habitation at the time of completion.

A time limit of six years after the completion of the building is set.


Our expert team will work with you to take detailed instructions, and to consider all aspects of your claims and maximise the value of your claim. You will receive 100% of your compensation. Win or lose, you do not pay anything towards our fees. If we win our fees are paid by the other side or their insurers, if we lose we do not receive our fees.

We can attend you at your home, if necessary, to discuss the following key points with you:

  • Accident circumstances
  • Funding

We have successfully concluded claims such as:

  • Ankle injuries caused by stepping on a broken floorboard;
  • Back injuries following a fall down defective stairs;
  • Head injuries from a falling cupboard.


  • You should write a detailed account of what happened, including a sketch of the location.
  • You should take a photograph of the defect as soon as possible. Use a camera with a date/time function (if possible) and place an object next to it to give it some scale, e.g. either a ruler or a coin.
  • You must ensure that you have the name and address of any witnesses.
  • You should seek medical advice for your injuries as soon as possible. With some injuries (e.g. neck and shoulder injuries) the symptoms may take a few days to develop, but get medical attention as soon as you can.
  • You should keep a record of your out of pocket expenses (e.g. travel expenses, prescription charges, walking sticks, etc.) and keep any receipts.


There are a variety of funding options open to you. We will discuss these options with you in more detail and where appropriate represent you on a no win no fee basis (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement).


If you would like to speak directly to one of our team you can either call us on 0208 203 5031 or send us your enquiry and we will give you a call back to discuss your claim within 1 business day.

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