If the sofa in a furnished property collapses when someone sits down on it, because of a hitherto unnoticed internal fault, should the tenants be asked to buy new sofas?
We have been in the flat for a couple of months, and suspected that the sofa was old when we moved in - a fear confirmed when the bottom fell out when my flatmate sat down.
The landlord wants us to pay all or part of the costs for 2 new sofas. We believe that the furniture she provides should be "fit for purpose" - I.e. a sofa that someone could sit on. What does the law say?
Province/Country relating to question : London
Not much yet. Interested regarding what the law says concerning faulty furnishings that aren't noticed on inventory.
This is a factual question namely what was the cause for the collapse of the sofa. If it collapsed because of an internal fault or due to wear and tear, the tenant will not be liable. If however it collapsed due to improper use, the tenant will be liable. The challenge you will face is in proving why the chair collapsed. Providing you can show that it was not due to improper use, you should not have to pay for the sofa.
Could you please give an indication regarding what the law actually states?What would constitute us "proving" that? Is it just going to be our word against our landlords?
This matter will really revolve around the terms and conditions of your lease agreement. Normally, the lease will say that the tenant is responsible for any damage caused by their own negligence. Providing you can show that you were not negligent, you will not be liable. If you do not have a written lease, there will be an implied term that you do not cause damage by negligence and the same rules would apply.
The proof part is the challenging part. If the sofa is relatively inexpensive, it may not be cost effective to get an expert to check the cost. If however it is obvious from the chair that it could not have been due to your negligence then you should be okay. Without an expert's view, it is likely to be your landlord's word against yours. Having said that, it is for your landlord to prove that you damaged the sofa negligently.
9 years experience working within the property and construction industry
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