Is the Council being reasonable with enforcement notice?

by Readers Question

16:11 PM, 23rd February 2021
About 2 months ago

Is the Council being reasonable with enforcement notice?

Make Text Bigger
Is the Council being reasonable with enforcement notice?

I need urgent advice on the following; I have had tenants in the flat below since August 2018 where I have been served the following enforcement letter from an enforcement officer. The tenants have continuously been complaining about things in the flat all of which have been dealt with.

When the property was first rented to the tenants, there were no pests, and it is stated in the tenancy agreement that it is the responsibility of the tenant to eradicate pests after the first month of tenancy.

After the tenants moved in, after the first month, there have been mice where I have had contractors block all holes to the flat and have also had contractors to eradicate mice however, the tenants keep the flat filthy. Surely, they should be responsible for this and bed bugs which have only just come to my notice in the last month or so. Once again, the tenancy agreement states that the tenants are responsible after the first month of the tenancy.

More recently, the Tenants have complained about mould for the first time which, I have arranged to have cleaned, however, it is black mould that I am sure is caused by condensation. I had given the tenant a dehumidifier, a washer dryer and the double-glazed windows have air vents to prevent mould growth.

They have also had a blocked sink which I arranged to have unblocked although, this again has been for the first time and the tenancy agreement says that after the first month of the tenancy it is the responsibility to clear the blocked pipes. As far as I am aware there are no blocked pipes at the moment.

The following clauses are in the tenancy agreement:
The Tenant agrees with the Landlord as follows:
• To be responsible for the eradication of all pests such as rats, mice, cockroaches, bugs, etc after the first periodic month of the initial Tenancy
• To be responsible to clear any blocked drains, pipes, toilets, sinks, wash basins, baths, showers and any other sewage blockages after the first periodic month of the initial tenancy.

The letter below is what I received from the council:

Dear Mr xxxxx,
It has been brought to our attention that there are defects at the above dwelling which could potentially give rise to health and safety hazards including:
1. Domestic Hygiene, Pests and Refuse – bed bugs
2. Personal Hygiene, Sanitation and Drainage – blocked drainage
3. Damp and mould growth
Documents to provide within the next 21 days:
1. A pest control report carried out by a qualified pest controller and if necessary, following up with a recommended treatment programs to eradicate the pest infestation.
2. A plumber’s report to trace and remedy the source of continuous blockages.
3. A detailed damp survey from a contractor who must be a member of the British Chemical Damp Proofing Association or another suitably recognised organization or suitably qualified person.

For enforcement purposes, the hazard Rating System is concerned with those matters which can be considered the responsibility of the owner or landlord.

As the above dwelling is rented and you are the person in control of the premises, you are responsible for managing or arranging its management and maintenance.
xxxxxx
Housing Enforcement Officer

Many thanks

Clint

Comments

Clint

20:53 PM, 24th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Anthony Hawes at 24/02/2021 - 10:35
I am not sure if the council have visited the property or not but, I would have thought not as, the tenants are satisfied that the damp and blockage has been dealt with as stated by them today.
I am however surprised that the email from the enforcement officer was sent to me yesterday.

Clint

21:01 PM, 24th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Trapped Landlord at 24/02/2021 - 13:29
I think your right in that, I need to give a full explanation and include the fact that the damp and blockages are all a one of and the tenants are satisfied that they have been dealt with.

I will have to try and persuade the officer that the bed bugs is the responsibility of the tenants as it has only occurred recently which is over two years after the tenancy started.

Chris @ Possession Friend

23:33 PM, 24th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Clint, your Tenancy agreement contains some Unfair terms I'm afraid.

Clint

8:47 AM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 24/02/2021 - 23:33
Are you saying the two clauses are unfair terms? At the time, which was a few years ago, when they were included, they were looked at by a legal adviser and also researched.

Chris @ Possession Friend

9:02 AM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 25/02/2021 - 08:47
I'd have to read the full tenancy agreement to properly comment, but from what you posted Clint, I am concerned they may not be.
We do give free advice ( not via messages exchanged on here though )

Clint

9:07 AM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

I just wanted your thoughts on the two clauses. My tenancy agreement was looked at and amended by a legal adviser late last year due to many changes in legislation in recent years.

Anyway, if you are not able to comment on the two clauses that is fine but, since you stated that the tenancy agreement had unfair terms by seeing only those two terms, I will assume, that you believe that the two terms are unfair terms.

Chris @ Possession Friend

9:12 AM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 25/02/2021 - 09:07
You assume correctly Clint, interested who looked over those clauses.
If something is a landlords responsibility, e,g pests ( which it is ) you can't put a time-limit on that.
In other words, say it will be the landlords responsibility for the first month, and then, from 2nd month onwards, become the Tenants responsibility !!! - or that's at least what I understand your tenancy agreement to say, hence my comment about needing to read it fully to properly comment.

Clint

12:48 PM, 1st March 2021
About 2 months ago

I sent a detailed email to the enforcement officer by email yesterday, informing him that the blockage was cleared, and that the mould was cleaned from the walls along with, a signed document from the tenants stating all works were carried out in the flat where, it was also stated that the blockage and mould was all sorted, and both these had occurred for the first time and only in the last month or so.

I had also given reasons stating that the bed bugs had only arisen once again in the last month or so and was the tenant's responsibility.

Strangely enough, I got the following automatic reply:

Thank you for your email,

From 26th February 2021, I will no longer be working for the London Borough of xxxxx. If your enquiry is urgent, please call xxxxxxxx (direct dial with monitored answerphone) or email hsg-privatehousing@xxxxxx

Best wishes

Surely, the enforcement officer would have known that he was leaving when he sent the letter on 22nd February 2021.

I have decided not to do anything following my email to the officer. Any advise as to what I should do if anything.

terry sullivan

12:53 PM, 1st March 2021
About 2 months ago

many are agency workers--stay short term only

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER

Majority are doing everything they should and more to be a Good Landlord