Controls on what you can do

Occupiers and Users

Occupiers and users

If you have control of a building you will in the first instance be the person who has responsibility for the safety and well-being of visitors under the general law.  This is a long-standing principle that is backed up by many more modern principles from particular legislation.

  • A person who is injured because of your failure to take reasonable care to make the property safe for all known and likely users may sue you for compensation.
  • There are separate statutory provisions that could give rise to liability under criminal law not only for the organisation but also for individuals who may have responsibility to discharge duties under the relevant legislation to keep the property safe.
  • Your liability to occupiers of the property may to an extent be regulated by your lease or underlease or hire agreement with them. Those documents may also impose additional obligations on you to keep the property safe and render you liable to compensate the landlord, or raise the possibility of termination of your lease or other right to occupy or manage the property if you do not comply with the relevant legal provisions.  [What’s in a lease]
  • You cannot exclude liability with respect to personal injury by agreement.
  • You may be able to require organisations or individuals who occupy the property to agree to be responsible for the costs arising from certain types personal injury arising in connection with their services in the agreements or leases under which they occupy the property. However, in many cases this will not entirely relieve you of responsibility and whether such agreements are of use will depend on the means of the other party to satisfy any claim.
  • The final protection against liability especially for personal injury may be insurance, both your own insurance and where relevant that of occupying organisations but good practice is essential because insurance cannot in any way protect against criminal liability. [Insurance]
  • Criminal liability may arise out of the general law and under separate statutory provisions in health and safety legislation. If premises are not made accessible to all likely users including older people and those with disabilities you may be vulnerable to action under the Equality Act.

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