Council Notices – how to respond?

by Readers Question

10:06 AM, 21st March 2018
About 9 months ago

Council Notices – how to respond?

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Council Notices – how to respond?

I’ve received two notices from the council, one is ‘Housing Act 2004 – Disrepair to private rented property’, and the other is a ‘Drainage Notice Building Act 1984 , Section 59’

The disrepair lists nearly 20 points, almost all very minor e.g. light switch not working! Half the points such as ‘missing downstairs smoke alarm’, ‘kitchen ceiling damaged by a leak from the bathroom’ were clearly caused by the tenant.

The drainage relates to a soil pipe under the back yard, which has several old drain rods stuck in it. It’s been like that for years, and every 12-18 months I pay £80 to have it fully cleaned out when it eventually blocks. That job was done 3 months ago, and should last at least another 9 months, though I had told the tenant I would look at quotes for replacing the pipe over the summer.

The council drainage notice says it is ‘blocked’ , but gives me 3 weeks to sort it out !. Of course it isn’t blocked, having been cleared only 3 months ago.

The tenant is difficult and I want him out. His 6 month fixed-term ends next month, and I will tell him he must leave by then.

I intend to contact the council by phone tomorrow, and attempt discussion on these issues. But what are my options on the 21 days to appeal to any Magistrates Court ? I can find no mention of costs for that anywhere, or anything about that procedure.

Thank you for any assistance.

Neil



Comments

Luke P

10:43 AM, 21st March 2018
About 9 months ago

FYI...unless you've served him proper notice at month 4, he will not be obliged to leave at the end of his fixed 6-month term.

DALE ROBERTS

11:10 AM, 21st March 2018
About 9 months ago

The tenant has preempted your decision to have him vacate the property. By initiating a Council maintenance inspection he is clearly telling you that he intends to stay and possibly force an eventual eviction. Difficult tenants are usually very aware of their rights and I fear you are now facing deliberately withheld rental and possibly 6 to 8 months of trying to evict him all at your cost. And the tenant will be supported by Council to withhold rental and await Bailiffs.
I speak from bitter experience. And my tenant did not have the luxury of depending on any defenses to her eviction.
Attend to the maintenance issues as a matter of urgency in order to placate the Council.
And welcome to the horrible reality of being a landlord in the UK.

Luke P

11:16 AM, 21st March 2018
About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 21/03/2018 - 11:10
Indeed. You won't now be able to serve notice for six months (in prevention of any 'retaliatory' eviction).

Robert Mellors

14:19 PM, 21st March 2018
About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 21/03/2018 - 11:16
I believe it is just the s21 Notice that cannot be served, the landlord can still serve other notices, e.g. s8 Notice, BUT this could be risky so I think he needs to contact Landlord Action or some other specialist service to help him understand the implications and serve the correct notices at the most appropriate dates. The eviction of this tenant is likely to be a long process and extremely costly for the landlord.

In relation to the repairs, these need to be dealt with straight away. If they cannot be done within the timescales specified by the Council, then he will need to negotiate and agree extended timescales for getting the repairs done. Even after the repairs are done (within the agreed timescales) the council can, and sometimes do, still seek to prosecute the landlord, as the "offence" has already taken place. The Council may not instigate prosecution against the landlord for several months after the repairs have been carried out (they have up to 6 months from the date of the offence, (by which time repairs will have been completed), in order to decide whether to prosecute or not). There is an unlimited fine for each offence in the Magistrates Court, or alternatively they can impose a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence.

Yvonne Francis

14:51 PM, 21st March 2018
About 9 months ago

Would it not be better to try and fix those things you think reasonable and argue with the Council with any of the rest. If you have a good Inventory you should be able to charge the tenant although I know with some tenants that proves impossible. A very long time ago, almost thirty tears ago, I had notices from the Council. I carried out the things I felt reasonable (mainly things the tenants did not bothered to tell me) and argued the rest like damp courses which had only been done 5 years earlier. I was even told to remove all my fire doors and Victorian frames and completely replace them. I eventually argued with them and they told me go around and inspect them myself. The only problem was the position of a door stop which I corrected and satisfied them. In my day it was not a criminal offence so because there were other HMO issues I went to the County Court and eventually won and the Council paid my expenses. You need some legal advice as this can now be a criminal offence and these notices do not go away even if your tenant left voluntarily. In my day (probably applies now) notices do not go away even if left empty and can be added to you deeds. Even my bank manager knew about my notices: when the Council added them to my deeds the bank held at that time.
If you show willingness to cooperate then I can not see any grounds for the Council to encourage the tenant to stop paying rent but I must confess it sounds as if you have a drainage problem which would be wise to address immediately, .

Chris Daniel

22:11 PM, 21st March 2018
About 9 months ago

You either have a drainage block, or you don't.
I'd recommend getting your company who did the job only 3 months ago, ( and whom I imagine you employ every 18 months or so you said ) to call back and give you a report that drain ISN'T blocked.
That should,
1. Satisfy council, so No Improvement Notice is issued, thereby Not preventing you from,
2. Serving Section 21
PossessionFriend.uk

sam

6:22 AM, 26th March 2018
About 9 months ago

I ask all my tenants to report any minor problem immediately - before they become major problems. And I do check with them from time to time.
One difficult tenant wanted to move out before contract expiry. We agreed but asked her to honour the penalty clauses in the ast contract. She refused n called GasSave, the council, Health & Safety n the rest of the world. None found any major issues n she had to stay till end of ast. We deducted some repair n cleaning costs which she disputed n now we R going to court at a cost that’s not worth the hassle but my wife is insisting on points of principle. I think the tenant pissed her off.


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