Home Owners Failed to Fix Rusty Railing

In Wearing-Smith v Swift the NSW District Court found that the occupiers of residential premises were liable in damages to a visitor who fell from a deck after leaning on a rusty balustrade that collapsed under his weight.

The trial judge held that in the circumstances, it was foreseeable that a number of guests would be in close proximity to the balustrade, and the occupiers ought to have known there was a potentially dangerous defect due to corrosion in components that supported the balustrade structure.

In these circumstances, the occupiers failed to take reasonable steps by way of precautions, to either rectify or address that defect, if they intended to allow the balcony to be used to entertain guests who would not know of such defect, or alternatively, to isolate the balcony from guest access.

The occupiers were liable in damages for negligence to the visitor.

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