inhabited house duty; county, borough and highway rates; general district rates and improvement rates; water and gas rates.
Landlord's taxes.—The following are payable by the landlord, and cannot by any express agreement be imposed on the tenant:
Landlord's property tax.— Though this tax is actually collected by the Revenue authorities from the tenant, he is entitled to deduct the amount paid from the next payment of rent, and the landlord is bound to allow such deduction under a penalty of £50.
Tithe rent-charge.—Since the Tithe Act, 1891, no contract can be made between a landlord and tenant whereby the latter is to pay the tithes. Where, however, there is an existing agreement to do so, made prior to that date, the tenant must pay his landlord a sum equivalent to the value of the tithe.
Rates and taxes payable by landlord, unless otherwise agreed.—The following are primarily payable by the landlord, but may, by express agreement, be made payable by the tenant:—Land tax; sewers rates; special assessments under local Acts for the purpose of permanent improvements. The above rates and taxes are, in fact, usually paid in the first instance by the tenant, but may be deducted by him from his rent in the absence of special agreement to the contrary.
Covenant to Repair.—Where the tenant has undertaken to do repairs, the extent of his responsibility necessarily depends on the wording of the particular covenant; but a general undertaking to repair is satisfied by the tenant keeping the premises as nearly as possible in the same condition as that in which they were when he became tenant of them, allowing for the necessary deterioration caused by time and the effects of the climate. In tenancies for not more than three years, the usual provision is that the tenant shall keep the premises in good and tenantable repair, reasonable wear and tear and damage by fire and tempest excepted. Without this proviso, a tenant who had covenanted to keep the premises in repair would be bound to rebuild them if destroyed by fire or lightning. The obligation to keep the premises in "good tenantable repair" is to keep them in such repair, as, having regard to the age, character and locality of the house, would make it reasonably fit for the occupation of a person of the class who would be likely to take it.
No obligation to repair in the absence of agreement.—In the absence of special agreement, there is no obligation on the landlord to do any repairs. Even if the premises become uninhabitable through want of repair, the tenant must nevertheless pay his rent ; and if he sustains any personal injury through the defective condition of the premises the landlord will not be responsible.
Flats.—Where, however, premises are let in flats, the landlord is responsible for the condition of the stairs, which remain in his possession and control; and his liability extends not only towards his tenants but also towards such persons as may in the ordinary course of business make use of the stairs. Whether there is in respect to such premises an implied obligation on the landlord to keep the roof in repair, so as to render him liable under any circumstances if damage is caused by its defective condition, has not been determined; but where the landlord failed to clear the gutters as soon as he ought to have done after notice that they were choked, it was held that he was liable for the damage sustained in consequence by one of his tenants. Where injury is caused to a tenant of such premises by an escape of water, which has been laid on for his benefit as well as that of the other occupants, the landlord is not responsible in the absence of negligence.
Extent of landlord's liability where he agrees to do repairs.—If the landlord
- As to which, see respectively Water Rate and Gas.
- As to which, see Income Tax, p. 1948.
- In most leases this is made payable by the tenant.