I can’t help feeling that this case was a cheeky try on by the tenant, although everyone seems to be taking it seriously. It is an interesting illustration to my discussion on the covenant of quiet enjoyment which I wrote about here and the meaning of the word ‘enjoy’.
Beedles v. Guinness Northern Counties Ltd – Court of Appeal – 19 April 2011
Mr Beedles was disabled within the meaning of the act (ie the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) which meant that he was unable to comply with his obligations to keep his flat (he was an assured tenant) in good decorative order.
His landlord said that in the circumstances they would not expect him to do this. However the tenant took the view that the provisions of the act imposed an obligation on the landlord to do the decorating for him, claiming that otherwise it would be impossible for him to ‘enjoy’ the property.
To explain, regulations under the act require landlords to provide auxiliary aids or services if this “would enable a relevant disabled person to ‘enjoy’, or facilitate such a person’s ‘enjoyment’ of, the premises”
However the Court of Appeal dismissed the claim. As LJ Carnworth said:
the word “enjoy” must be read in its usual sense in similar contexts, as referring to “the exercise and use of the right and having the full benefit of it, rather than to deriving pleasure from it”
Also mentioned was the cost implications for housing associations if they were going to be made responsible for the decorating and similar costs of disabled tenants.