When there are problems relating to defects in premises that are let, the tenant will normally try to obtain redress through the repairing covenant. However, if that does not look like the best way forward, it is sometimes possible to bring an action for nuisance against a landlord who fails to take action.
In a recent case, a tenant took action against his landlord for nuisance relating to the ingress of water into his flat, alleging that this interfered with the ‘enjoyment of the property’. However, the problem had existed before he leased the flat, and this was the tenant’s undoing. The court held that the landlord could not be liable in nuisance for damage that pre-dated the grant of the lease. The moral for prospective tenants is ‘tenant beware’.
Jackson v JH Watson Property Investment Ltd.,  EWHC 14 (Ch).