Liverpool City Council v Irwin [1977]

Liverpool City Council v Irwin [1977] AC 239 is an English contract law case concerning implied obligations on landlord to repair common parts.

The Irwins, council tenants in a high-rise building owned by Liverpool City Council (LCC), withheld rent in protest of poor conditions in common areas and their maisonette. LCC sought possession, and the Irwins counterclaimed for breach of the duty to maintain common parts, citing the absence of a formal written tenancy agreement containing such a duty.

LCC argued that, with no explicit term in the tenancy agreement, there was no duty regarding common parts. The Irwins contended that in the absence of a term, there should be an implied duty on the landlord to maintain common areas, making the contract reasonable.

The court held that the tenancy agreement was incomplete as it only outlined obligations for tenants. In cases where a tenancy agreement is silent on common parts maintenance, there is an implied term that the landlord should reasonably maintain them. Despite finding an implied duty, the court ruled in favour of LCC, stating they had fulfilled their duty by taking reasonable steps to maintain common areas. The poor conditions were primarily due to incessant vandalism despite LCC's efforts.
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