Local Authority insisting on trivial repairs?

Local Authority insisting on trivial repairs?

16:14 PM, 14th July 2022, About a month ago 36

Text Size

Hi Folks, Recently had a tenant run to environmental health after I told her I’m not willing to re-house her or lower the rent. Anyway, met the officer down there yesterday (after 3 days notice) to go through the place with the tenant to find that very little needs doing, as I suspected.

Anyway, opened my emails this morning to a long list of trivial items including that need to be carried out within 4 weeks, ’employ a competent roofer to re-align 2 slipped slates ‘, ‘ top up roof insulation to 270mm ‘, ‘ replace ground floor doors with sound solid timber constructed doors ‘.

Don’t get me wrong I do intend to have these works done but are the council acting within their jurisdiction given that the EPC is a D ( so why is he asking for loft insulation top up, especially in the middle of summer ? ), and by the tenants own admission, the roof is not leaking. The second he met me at the front door he mentioned that most of his inspections are HMO properties and he needed to check if fire escape windows were necessary? ( on a single occupancy 2 bedroom mid terrace).

I do wonder if sometimes these people just like to test how much they can throw their weight about. I mean, just say hypothetically, I point blank refused to top up loft insulation in a baking July heatwave, knowing that I have a valid D grade EPC.

Would the council be willing to fight something like this out in court?

Trapped Landlord



Comments

Mick Roberts View Profile

8:42 AM, 16th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 15/07/2022 - 15:54
Well said Luke P, we put solid doors on now. 3 years time Ooh no we need fire doors & frames too. Where do we stop? If Govt wish to up the LHA rate to pay for New builds, I'll give 'em New build standards. I've got a New Build & it's considerably more rent than all my others.

treeman

9:55 AM, 16th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Ok ive been a landlord fpr 30 years and now getting out of this silly game,fighting everyone it seems
The point is thathe council have all the powers to make your life hell until as someone said they destroy you one way or the other.
the councils do not follow the same rules, the council inspectors have their own thoughts and they love to charge you yes £400.00 for a inspection is what I've paid some more, there is no set scale. In a HMO I've had a £350 charge for each of 4 flats and a £350 charge for inspecting the stairway as well, In the end you can not win simple as that! if you do go to court you will find a) the cost of a barrister is expensive, B) if you do it yourself the judge will not listen to you, C)the courts are linked to the council, they take the words of the council as fact and that you are guilty (must be as the council have said so) before you get into court and all the court want to do is find you guilty and get on to there next case or go and have a cup of tea. its all fixed, the rules change all the time and you will get charged for everything. they have no pity I had to make a court appearance the day after I was released from hospital after suffering a heart attack, which the council caused, did the judge adjourned it NO he offed me a chair, if I did not go I would have been found guilty by default, yet one time the council did not turn up to was automatic adjured, Simple One y#law for you and one Law for them.
And once they have their hooks in you that's it they never let go. untill you give up.
by the way, one barrister wanted £3,000.00 to just read the paperwork (court bundle) before he would even act for me Plus VAT of course
The whole thing is a rip-off for Landlords were as the tenants are backed up by a number of agencys all free of course and they can do no wrong, the Landlords are responsible for everything forever.......

Mark W

11:11 AM, 16th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Why replace the downstairs doors with solid timber? Are the downstairs doors already fire doors?
Many fire doors are not solid timber and fire doors are required to be placed on bedrooms. Many are hollow. So you may be scrapping good fire doors and replacing them with ones that are not fire rated.
So, I don’t understand the officers reasoning, related to ground floor doors, so you should question this as they may be making the house less safe and not compliant with the fire regulations.
Re the missing tiles do it quick because you may invalidate your insurance if the roof is not properly maintained. If wind gets under the adjacent tiles, it could rip off a lot more tiles!
Re the roof insulation. This will make the house much warmer. I’ve done this and it’s the best bang for buck that you can do to make the house warmer. An EPC office visited my BTL house and said put in 500mm of insulation to get the best effect. That will hopefully shut the problem tenant up.

Luke P

13:24 PM, 16th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 16/07/2022 - 08:42
Chatting to a fireman (right now, as it happens). So, a solid door is not necessarily a fire door. Fire doors need deeper rebates than regular doors. Then there’s smoke seals in some cases (no point in the door without). Then there’s self-closers (no point in smoke-sealed, deeper-rebated solid fire doors without them). Then you’re down to testing regime (no point in self-closing, smoke-sealed, deeper-rebated solid fire doors without it).

Mick, if DASH insist on them, what have you done?

Jessie Jones View Profile

14:26 PM, 16th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Like others have said, the Councils have bottomless pockets to fund prosecutions, and know full well that they can extract fines and costs from Landlords as we have equity in our properties.
Get the work done, and maximise your rental income to pay for it. The councils have no power over rental income so long as you stick within market values. And nothing wrong with aiming for the top of the market value, which you can justify since the council are making you bring the property up to top spec.
This is the law of unintended consequences. Councils throw their weight about, Tenant ends up paying.

Paul Shears

16:19 PM, 16th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by mark woollett at 16/07/2022 - 11:11
Re the roof insulation.
I totally agree. However I am unclear if you can still get a grant for this.
If you can get a grant, please refer to my post of a couple of years back which explains in detail why:
1. You need to personally make sure by inspecting the material prior to placing any order, that it is NOT the yellow fibre glass stuff.
2. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES USE ANY "FREE" LABOUR THAT COMES AS PART OF ANY GRANT!

Mick Roberts View Profile

17:26 PM, 17th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 16/07/2022 - 13:24
Yes,
Fire doors need the rebate with the plastic strip in which expands when heats up to give more time.
DASH (who I get on with very well & Linda who owns DASH is brilliant with me) know we disagree on this. I say u making houses unaffordable for low earning tenants who don't shut the doors at night anyway. They say gives more minutes protection if solid wood door.

I at moment have got tenants to write in like that letter I've posted in this thread. Fortunately I get on with my tenants & it's their homes, not mine nor DASH's nor Licensing. But other Landlords, only had one last week has said DASH are telling him he can't have this gorgeous open plan kitchen house he's got. Many New builds are like this, so what are we to do? Tell New build builders no more open plans, yet some buyers want them? I put Linda in touch with this man who was slating DASH off on the Facebook Landlord forums, Linda will try to help & I hope we get these rules relaxed, but are they gonna' relax something they say is safety?

Silver Flier

11:36 AM, 20th July 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 16/07/2022 - 16:19I haven't been able to find your previous post, please could you provide a link or re-post it?

Robert M View Profile

12:55 PM, 20th July 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 17/07/2022 - 17:26
A couple of years ago I renovated a house and my builders put in some very stylish doors, but it turns out that these were "egg box" type (same as in 99% of single let houses). - The house did have mains interlinked fire alarm system installed (over and above the legal requirement).

DASH visited to do an inspection, complemented me on the standard of the property, and additional safety features, but said that I had to change all the doors into fire doors. My new tenants did not want to change the doors.

DASH said they would accept just the kitchen door being changed, but again the tenants said they don't want the door to be changed.

It was the tenant's home and I had no legal right to force an unwanted door change, and they would leave the door open anyway (so what use is an open fire door?!!!).

Unfortunately, DASH would not change their view, so I had no alternative but to end my membership of DASH.

My builders should have installed fire doors as standard, but on this occasion failed to do so, however, I did not realise this until after the tenants moved in, by which time I had no right to go in and change doors against the wishes of the tenants.

In self-contained properties, there is no way of ensuring that doors are kept closed, and an open fire door protects nobody, so while it is great to fit fire doors as standard when doing a refurbishment or renovation, it is somewhat pointless forcing them upon tenants who do not want them and won't make use of them. The insistence upon fire doors in self-contained single let properties is to this extent simply a "tick box" exercise, which does not take into consideration the wishes of the tenants or the futility of the installation i.e. when tenants leave the doors open.

Mick Roberts View Profile

15:28 PM, 20th July 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert M at 20/07/2022 - 12:55
Aah so DASH did negotiate on just the kitchen door-Interesting.
And this was on normal residential house Rob, as u do shared houses now don't u.

Yes many in Nottingham are no longer going with DASH cause of this & the reduced discount Nottingham Council now give if u r accredited-Have the opposite effect what the Council want-Now less accredited landlords.

Staying with DASH would save me approx £6000 in Selective Licensing fees, but not if got to spend £70,000 changing all doors all houses.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership

or

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now