Unfair practice by Council re hazards in house?

by Readers Question

A month ago

Unfair practice by Council re hazards in house?

Make Text Bigger
Unfair practice by Council re hazards in house?

I have a buy to let property where the tenant asked the Council to assess the house using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). She had not raised, with me, any concerns about the condition of the house beforehand.

The Council raised a few minor points, like broken light switch, down pipe leaking onto bathroom wall resulting in a damp issue etc. They listed these as hazards and they were simple to rectify.

The Council also issued a Schedule 2 which is headed. “Remedial action which the Council considers practical and appropriate to take in respect of the hazards found.”

As there was a broken light switch they have said they are entitled to an Electrical Report by an Electrician and I am obliged to undertake all work listed even though no such report is legally required
With regard to the damp issue they require a Damp Proof Report for the whole house and a plan to undertake any works required even though no damp outside the bathroom has been detected.

I assume if there was a missing roof tile I would need to employ a roofing Company to provide a full roof report about the structure of the roof and likewise any cracking on a wall could require a full structural survey to be undertaken.

I have complained that this is a fishing expedition which was not the point of the HHSRS, but they say they are entitled to require anything they like relating to any issue found at the property.

I wonder, as this is so draconian that I would live in fear of other tenants going to the Council before approaching me, whether anybody else has experienced this problem, or has any advice how to counter the Councils approach?

Many thanks

Simon

Comments

Luke P

A month ago

You are not obliged to obtain professional reports for everything they decide. If you have rectified the identifiable faults, they'd struggle to suggest the electrics, for example, were *not* safe. Paul Fitzgerald is the man you need to speak with. He co-wrote the HHSRS legislation and works for both councils and landlords as well as teaching the HHSRS course (which I have taken and, it turns out, my local council have not)! Once you've taken the course, you will be completely clear on how these assessments work.

Luke P

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 21/03/2018 - 10:39
One other thing...a neighbouring LA that previously had a good working relationship with LLs has now decided to start enforcing Cat. 2 hazards as they are entitled (most LAs only enforce Cat. 1) and go straight to notice with them. They're desperate for the fine money as their budgets are being squeezed.

Simon Smith

A month ago

Luke

Many thanks for that- I will certainly look Paul Fitzgerald up now!

Luke P

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon Smith at 21/03/2018 - 11:00
Be aware that you also now won't be able to serve notice for six months (in prevention of any 'retaliatory' eviction).

Simon Smith

A month ago

This wont apply as notice has been served and expired and all the repairs required by the tenant and shown as hazards have been done- It is merely the additional works that the Council are trying to impose that I am questioning

Thanks

Luke P

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon Smith at 21/03/2018 - 11:47
Whether the works are completed or not is irrelevant. The Deregulation Act imposes a six month 'blackout' for s.21 if a repair gets to LA involvement stage. If it did not, you could complete the repairs then immediately serve notice, effectively rendering the Prevention from Retaliatory Eviction clauses useless.

Simon Smith

A month ago

You may wish to read s33 (2) of the Act again- otherwise the Tenant could bypass the Landlord as in my case and just make a complaint to the Council whether it is a valid complaint or not - The Tenant must follow the correct procedure to enable the Landlord to undertake the works and give the Landlord a reasonable time to do them

Michael Barnes

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon Smith at 21/03/2018 - 16:44
That is my understanding, and I was going to post until I saw yours.

Michael Barnes

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 21/03/2018 - 17:52
However, having re-read S33, it appears that S33(1) allows the tenant to go directly to the council and bypass S33(2) altogether. Or am I totally misunderstanding S33(1)?

Chris Daniel

A month ago

There is a Process for Retaliatory Eviction.
1. Tenant must put complaint in writing to Landlord.
2. Landlord has 14 days to give a 'reasonable response'
If tenant still has a complaint, they can go to council who carry out HHSRS inspection.

If Tenant can't prove they have notified the landlord of a disrepair, they are not protected.
PossessionFriend.uk

1 2 3

Leave Comments

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

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Tenants should be held accountable for criminal damage