If a landlord does not carry out works and the building deteriorates, does the tenant have to pay to remedy the consequential problems? The answer is no: he will have a claim in damages for breach of covenant and he can set off that claim against his liability to pay for repairs.

In this case the landlord acquired Crown Terrace a 3 storey building containing 18 flats in 1973. To cut a long and dreary story short, in 2008 it was discovered that the building's steel beams needed replacing at a cost of £300,000. The lessees applied to the LVT which held that costs were higher because of the delay; it reduced the recoverable sum by 13%. Daejan appealed.

The Upper Tribunal allowed the appeal. It said that doubtless the work should have been carried out earlier but there was no evidence that carrying out the work earlier would have been cheaper in real terms. Consequently, the costs levied by Daejan were reasonable and thus recoverable through the service charges.

Comment The argument that 'We now have to foot the bill for the landlord's failure to act,' is a common one. This case is a reminder that any such argument has to be supported by hard evidence.