Month: May 2014

Landlord not carrying out repairs? Know your remedies – raising awareness of tenant rights

If you are living in rented accommodation, where the landlord is simply not carrying out the necessary repairs, you may have options in ensuring that the repairs are carried out.

Many people feel that when a landlord does not uphold his or her stated intention to carry out repair work, the tenant has very little right of recourse.

However, an action can be brought against the landlord in order to force the landlord to complete the repairs. This is an action that can be brought whilst you are still living in the property.

Many feel that, whilst they are living in the property, a landlord has overall control and that there is nothing a tenant can do if repairs aren’t being carried out. However, a tenant does have a right to recourse if the landlord is not co-operating when it comes to carrying out repairs.

A common scenario is that people enter into a tenancy agreement (often for periods of 6 months or 12 months) having only viewed a property briefly. Early on in a tenancy period, issues such as mould or leaks begin to arise.

A tenant only becomes aware of how a landlord will behave after these issues have arisen.

In order to give your a landlord the opportunity to carry out repairs, we recommend reporting issues to the landlord as soon as they become a problem. If the issues continue, tenants often believe that they have no option but to urge the landlord to carry out the repairs.

However, the ability to force the landlord to carry out the repairs does exist. We recommend contacting a solicitor at the earliest opportunity in order to discuss your options.

Do not allow a landlord take advantage of your good nature.

If you have notified your landlord of disrepair, and you are not completely satisfied with the response from your landlord, contact Hampson Hughes’ Andrew Fairman today to discuss your options. Call 0800 888 6888 or email .

Report finds that asthma sufferers are not receiving satisfactory care

A recent report by the Royal College of Physicians has found that both children and adults are dying needlessly from asthma attacks.

What did the report find?

The report, which looked into the records of 195 asthma-related deaths, found that 25% of patients hadn’t received adequate care, and in 83% of the cases there was room for improvement.

Asthma attacks have been known to kill around 1,200 people each year, and over half of the cases investigated in the report were patients who were being treated for mild or moderate asthma – where doctors hadn’t realised the extent of their condition.

Additionally, one in 10 of patients who died from the illness had been discharged from hospital less than a month prior, and 21% had attended A&E at some point in the previous year.

One of the report’s authors, Dr Mark Levy, said:

“We have known about the identifiable or preventable factors relating to asthma deaths
since 1966.The shocking and surprisingly sad thing about this report is that
we still find preventable factors in over 70% of cases,
some of which are pretty serious.”

What can be done?

The college believes that better monitoring of asthma sufferers is needed, and recommends that all GP’s and hospitals have a dedicated doctor who is responsible for asthma services.

Both hospitals and practices need to ensure that immediate action is taken if a patient’s asthma ceases to be under control, and all staff must be educated to both recognise the risks and know what to do during an attack.

Additionally, in 45% of cases where the sufferer died, they hadn’t sought help – indicating that these patients hadn’t been told how to recognise the danger signs. The report suggests that all asthmas sufferers should have a personal action plan to help them recognise when the disease is worsening and seek help.

Professor Chris Griffiths from Queen Mary University of London helped to steer this report and said:

“These worrying statistics can and must be turned around in the next decade.
Those of us who work in general practice must implement the
recommendation to have a named clinician responsible
for asthma in each practice.”Despite facing huge challenges as we work to meet current NHS organisational change,
we need to prioritise asthma care in order to reduce deaths in the UK.”

If you feel that you haven’t received adequate care for your asthma, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email

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Accidents at Work – Employer’s Liability and Claimants

by Andrew Fairman

Accidents and injuries at work remain a prevalent issue. This was recently highlighted in an incident in Rochdale, wherein a man became trapped in a machine. The man suffered crush injuries, and faced contamination from the chemicals used within the machine.

A harrowing thought that you could go to work and become injured during the normal course of your employment duties. If the unfortunate does occur, it is important to know what you can do in order to put yourself in the best position to recover from your accident.

Accidents at work can range from small occurrences, such as a simple trip over equipment, to a severe accident, such as the one which recently occurred in a factory in Rochdale.

Nevertheless, each incident should be treated the same way. Taking action against the employer with whom the fault lies should be considered, as the claimant should receive adequate compensation (assisting in a return to the quality of life enjoyed prior to the injury).

Employers have many obligations relating to their employees, including ensuring that their employees are:

  • operating in a safe environment
  • provided with that correct and safe equipment
  • provided with a safe and correct system of work

An employee must ensure that these requirements are upheld. Where these requirements are not in place, and an injury occurs as a result, liability will rest with the employer. The employee will be able to bring an action to recover compensation for the injury sustained.

The Enterprise Act took effect in October of 2013. This act provides that claimants will now have to prove the element of negligence on behalf of their employers, rather than simply relying on a breach of a regulation.

Yet, this does not – and should not – preclude claimants from bringing an action.

Whilst this does represent a change from the previous position held under the case of Stark v Post Office, and does remove the previous elements of strict liability on defendant employers for certain aspects, it does not restrict a claimant’s action where a Defendant employer has not followed the correct procedure.

If an employer has not taken the reasonable steps to prevent an accident, or to comply with the relevant regulations, a claimant will be able to show that the Defendant employer has been negligent in not implementing regulations and the Defendant employer will still be liable.

In an uncertain world, the changes to Employer’s Liability and the implementation of the Enterprise Act do suggest that a claimant will have to work harder to prove breach of duty by an employer. However, this does not mean that an employer can act unreasonably and that a claimant can have no recourse.

With incident’s such as the recent occurrence in the Rochdale factory we are reminded that accident’s at work remain a serious issue, and that employers should face recourse and sanctions where they have failed to act reasonably.

If you have been injured in an accident at work, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

Care home charged over 63-year-old resident’s injuries

Nada Residential and Nursing Home was in court this week, after a vulnerable resident fell from an upstairs window.

What happened?

A 63-year-old resident, who was suffering from dementia, was found on the ground under his bedroom window shortly after telling staff that he wanted to get some fresh air. He sustained multiple injuries, including fractures to both his knee and back.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the risk of patients falling from open windows was common knowledge within the care home sector, and measures should have been taken to ensure windows couldn’t be opened more than ten centimetres.

An investigation later found that the care home had neglected to properly assess the risk of residents falling from windows, or take suitable action to prevent incidents such as this from happening.

What was the outcome?

The Manchester-based Residential and Nursing Home pleaded guilty to breaches of both the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act, and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £597.

Inspector Lorna Sherlock said after the hearing:

“The 63-year-old man was badly injured in the fall but it could easily have
been much worse. It simply should not have been possible for him to be
able to push open his bedroom window to a point where
there was a risk of him falling out.

“Nada has now fitted restrictors to all of its windows to stop them
opening more than a few centimetres. If these had been in place
at the time of the incident then the resident’s injuries
could have been avoided.”

If you feel that you have been affected by an incident such as this, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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Council fined after hundreds of lives were put at risk

A primary school and over one hundred homes and businesses were evacuated when workers from Fife Council struck and ruptured an underground gas pipe, releasing almost four tonnes of gas.

What happened?

On the day of the incident, drainage works were being carried out by employees of Fife council. The employees, who were unsupervised at the time, were excavating a new trench, unaware that a decision had been taken the day before not to dig in that particular area.

Using a hand held power tool and a mechanical digger, the workers exposed whinstone dust; an early indicator of gas or water pipes close by. Despite the warning, they continued the excavation which resulted in striking and rupturing a gas valve on a six-inch pressure main.

The surrounding area was immediately evacuated, and the incident was reported. Houses, businesses, and a local primary school were evacuated for five hours while the damage was repaired.

What was the outcome?

Fife Council pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and was fined a total of £24,000.

HSE Inspector, Mac Young, said:

“This incident was both entirely foreseeable and easily preventable.
Fife Council’s failures all related to inadequate risk assessment,
lack of safe systems of work and a breakdown principally of
the supervision of those employees involved.

“Thankfully, no-one was injured, nor was there any damage to property.
That, however, is down more to luck than judgement.”

If you have been affected by an incident such as this, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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Company fined after worker falls from roof

A company in Wiltshire has been fined after one of its workers fell from the roof of a summerhouse he was erecting and suffered serious injuries.

What happened?

The 25-year-old employee of Garden Affairs Ltd was erecting a large wooden summerhouse when, as he stepped onto a tower scaffold, it slid on wet decking and fell off the edge. This caused him to overbalance and fall two metres, hitting the decking before landing on the ground.

The employee was unable to work for over a month after sustaining fractures to his lower back, extensive bruising and impact injuries to his left hip, pelvis, and right elbow.

What was the outcome?

A court found that Garden Affairs Ltd had failed to ensure that fall prevention or fall mitigation measures had been put in place to protect their workers. Additionally, the scaffolds hadn’t been tied to the structure for stability, and handrails hadn’t been fitted despite them being readily available.

The Trowbridge based company admitted a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and has been fined £5,000, as well as being ordered to pay both £468 in costs and £750 in compensation.

HSE Inspector James Powell said:

“Falls are the biggest cause of death in the construction industry,
accounting for 23 fatalities last year (April 2012- March 2013).
Employers need to ensure that the risks of falling from
height are identified and managed.

“Poor handling of tower scaffolds also causes a number of injuries and deaths.
In this instance, they were not secure and safety features were missing,
rendering them unsafe.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email
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