- The Appellant, Marc Jones, suffered an injury on 27 November 1993 when he walked into a glass door which separated the dining room and the games room of the house which his parents were renting from the Respondents, Mr and Mrs Bartlett.
- The Bartlett’s house had been built in the late 1950’s and had complied with the relevant building & construction standards at that time.
- However, the glass of the offending door was very thin and at the time of the injury, the house did not comply with the (at the time) modern standards.
- The Appellant alleged that the Respondent was negligent in failing to have an expert examine the premises (and replace the glass door) when the lease commenced.
- Was the Respondent liable for negligence?
- The High Court held that the landlord has a duty to repair defects that are known or that should reasonably have been known at the time the lease commenced.
- An object will be defective if it is dangerous when being used in a regular fashion, and ordinarily would not be dangerous when so used.
- A landlord does not need to regularly inspect the property for defects during a tenancy. A landlord is only required to undertake steps which would be taken in the course of “ordinary reasonable human conduct“.
- In respect of dangerous defects of which the landlord had known or reasonably should have known, the landlord will be responsible to both tenants and also third parties.
- In this case, the glass door was not seen as a dangerous defect. It was an ordinary door, constructed in accordance with building practice and standards of the time when the house was built.
The full text is available here: http://eresources.hcourt.gov.au/downloadPdf/2000/HCA/56
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