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Where a tenant causes nuisance to neighbours, e.g. from noise, either the neighbours or the local authority may want to hold the landlord responsible. Steps can, of course, be taken directly against the tenants as occupiers causing the nuisance, but how far is the landlord potentially liable? Where a nuisance arises, a claim can be made under the law of private nuisance, but is the landlord liable? Nuisance may also amount to a statutory nuisance and, if this is the case, the local authority or a person affected can potentially take action. There are also statutory powers to deal with anti-social behaviour. In certain circumstances, the landlord can be liable. Furthermore, in serious cases, an order can even be made to close residential accommodation if the occupiers are causing a nuisance. These orders used to be known as "Crack House Orders" but have now been greatly extended in their scope.

Private Nuisance

At common law a claim can be made when there is a private nuisance. This can include a claim for damages or for an injunction to prevent the nuisance continuing. A private nuisance is something unreasonably interfering with use or enjoyment of someone's premises. Importantly, the landlord is not generally responsible for private nuisance if the tenant or occupier causes a nuisance. The landlord can be liable though if, at the time of the letting, the nuisance was inevitable or nearly certain to occur in consequence of the letting. A landlord can also be liable if he/she has participated actively or directly in the nuisance or the landlord has authorised the tenants to cause the nuisance.

The fact that the landlord may know what the intended use is and that the use does in fact result in the nuisance is not enough however to make the landlord liable as a result of the letting. If a property can be used without a nuisance arising then it will not be sufficient to make the landlord liable. The landlord will not be liable under the common law of private nuisance for participating in the nuisance just because he/she does nothing to stop or discourage the tenant from causing a nuisance or fails to try to prevent the nuisance. In certain circumstances, there are statutory provisions as a result of which a landlord who fails to take action could be liable.

The rest of this Guidance on Landlord Responsibilities to Tenant Nuisance contains information on the following sections:

  • What statutory nuisance is
  • A statutory nuisance regime
  • Enforcement of the tenancy agreement
  • Community Protection Notices
  • Licence conditions
  • Closure powers
  • Closure notices
  • Closure orders
  • Procedures for closure
  • Plus a case study

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