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Bludnok
23-11-2005, 11:29 AM
Hi all, first post here!

A quick question for you legal eagles.

As a landlord I have a registered tenant (40+ years) who pays a very low rent and partly because of this has responsibility for everything inside the flat (repairs, redecoration etc)- I don't even have a key.

I just pay the (high) service charge for the block.

Internal work commisioned & originally paid for by the tenant (plumbing & electrical) has been carried out poorly & possibly dangerously by unqualified people. The Managing Agent says I have to put it right.

Who has to pay to put it right, me or the tenant?

Thanks

Derek

Bludnok
23-11-2005, 17:52 PM
.....bump....bump

lucid
23-11-2005, 21:04 PM
This all sounds very familiar??
Are you dhphoto in disguise??

Please see this thread...thought i was having Deja Vu.

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=882&page=1&pp=10

By dhphoto 14/09/2005

Registered Tenant won't put right errors
Chaps, can you please help:

I have a registered tenant of over 40 years (I have moaned about her before) who has always been responsible for redecoration and repairs within her own flat. There is no existing agreement but this has always been the understanding.

A new management company has now decided that much or all of the work she has done is either sub-standard or needs a certificate of workmanship, or both.

She won't pay for this, even though she organised, paid for and oversaw ALL the works.

Where do I stand? Surely this can't fall on me - again.

David

Bludnok
24-11-2005, 05:41 AM
This all sounds very familiar??
Are you dhphoto in disguise??


No, does anyone have an accurate answer?

I'm not particularly bothered about evicting the tenant, I just don't see why I should end up paying for work that I neither knew about, approved, oversaw or wanted - and that is clearly substandard (wires coming out of the front of the flat, not boxed in, plumbing leaks through the floor, no certificates) How far could this theoretically go? Could he knock down all the interior walls and expect me to pick up the tab for rebuilding them ! Surely if a tenant has the benefit of low rent and consequently a responsibility for the interior of the flat they cannot just discharge this responsibility?

The law in this area seems very grey, if there is an informed opinion I'd be very grateful indeed. I asked a solicitor for advice two weeks ago and have heard nothing since.

Derek

lucid
24-11-2005, 08:40 AM
Sorry derek was only joking. trying to keep ones posts in a light hearted manner.

With regard to the other thread your question is discussed there. Those who have answered are some of the most knowledgeable and experienced members on the forum Paul f, Lawstudent among others.

Generally speaking you are responsible for repairs to the the exterior and the fabric of the building and installations of gas, water etc

The grey area is as said in the other thread where a tenant has done work that is substandard and neds to be rectified. In my opinion it depends on the individual circumstances of what has happened and why ( I know that sounds obvious but no doubt your solicitor has more info than you posted here.)


As a landlord I have a registered tenant (40+ years) who pays a very low rent and partly because of this has responsibility for everything inside the flat (repairs, redecoration etc)the tenant may be responsible for internal decocation but it is doubtful that they are responsible for repairs.
if the tenancy,when granted was for less than 7 yearsand was granted on or after 24th October 1961, the landlordis by law normally responsible of the structure and exterior of the home and for the keeping in repair and proper working order of any basins, sinks, baths and sanitary installations and any installations supplying water gas and electricity, for heating water and for space heating. In your case this can only be varied if the court agrees.

Apart from these responsibilities the other responsibilities of the landlord and tenat depend upon your agreement.

You said there are no certificates if you mean gas safety you are possibly in very deep doo doo indeed.

Regardless of what you may think this is your responsibility now under seperate legislation concerning gas safety. This is a criminal offence punishable by prison or unlimited fines though may normally set it at £5000 per item per year i think going back 3 or 4 years. Your ignorance of this is no excuse in law and you should act now to avoid this potential problem. In a criminal prosecution by the HSE iyou would have to show that you have made strenuous efforts to comply with the legislation. Of course I have not mentioned civil damages which could also run into tens of thousands of pounds. You should address this immediately.

In addition to the above the landlord is not generally responsible for repairs arising from damage caused by the tenant, or for rebuilding the property in the case of damage by fire, flood or other inevitable accident. nor does he have to repair anything that a tenant has a right to take away with him, unless in some circumstances the damage was caused by the landlords failure to carry out his obligations of repair. Any repairs the landlord is responsiblr for cannot be recovered by the use of a service charge. If a repair by the landlord spoils the internal decor even if that is the tenants responsibilty then the lanlord should make good the damage.

If the lease was signed before 24th Ocober 1961 then the responsibilty is dependent upon the agreement. Though be careful here this could very well have been superceded with regard to installation and gas use regulations- on that point i cannot remember.

Bludnok
24-11-2005, 08:58 AM
Thank you very much for that reply.

I am in the process of trying to get a gas certificate at the moment, it is not easy to get qualified people to work inside the London congestion zone.

Can they get me retrospectively? (i.e. if I manage to get a certificate now, but haven't had one since I inherited the flat a few years back, can they fine me for not having one in the past)??

Derek

lucid
24-11-2005, 09:17 AM
Thats up to them really if they find out. Technically yes I think they could. But are you going to tell them???:o

On the other hand if the tenant tells them and you haven't that could put a different picture on it. Thats why its maybe better to keep a good relationship with the tenant. And sort out the damage even if really and technically its not your responsibility. Even though it is in your best interest.

If you kick up a fuss about their damage and unauthorised repair demanding they pay, then no doubt they will get advice. And oh oh tell the HSE.

And if the matter went to court in a civil matter say by you trying to force them to pay for their inept repairs, they may say as a defence, whether rightly or not, that felt obliged to repair themselves as you negated on your statutory obligations. backed up, by the evidence of lack of gas servicing and certificates. Judges look on this very seriously so that's probably a situation you don't really want to get into.

Its up to you really, this is only my opinion.:)

P.Pilcher
24-11-2005, 12:41 PM
I venture to suggest that the only time you will get in the doo-doo for not having a valid Corgi gas safety certificate for your property is if the tenant has a problem with his health (or worse) which is due to a faulty gas appliance. In the ensuing legal argy bargy the absence of your gas safety certificate will then cost you dear. It will also cost you dear if a faulty gas appliance causes damage to your property which is subject to an insurance claim. What a wonderful excuse for your insurance company to apply their law: "Heads we win, tails you loose!"

P.P.

Bludnok
24-11-2005, 15:11 PM
Thanks again for the replies.

I am really trying to get a certificate but frankly finding anyone who is prepared to carry out the inspection is proving a nightmare. I'm looking on the Corgi website and calling those guys with little success so far.

I don't even know what gas appliances are in the flat, I didn't know there were any until I got a message about a gas smell.

The general consensus seems to be that (apart from gas safety) if a tenant is responsible for everything inside the flat then if the work they have done is substandard I have a right to ask them to fix it yes?

Thanks a lot guys

Derek

Bludnok
24-11-2005, 17:40 PM
I was reading the booklets from "The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister" (fathead that he is) and I came across this in the repairs booklet:

Does the tenant have any rights to do work on the property? A regulated tenant has the right to carry out certain improvements unless the landlord has a right to get back his or her property because he or she has served a particular sort of notice under the Rent Act 1977. See housing booklet Regulated Tenancies. A secure tenant also has the right to carry out certain improvements. See housing booklets Your Rights as a Council Tenant – The Council Tenants’ Charter and A Better deal for Tenants – Your New Right to Repair. However, in each case the tenant must get written permission from the landlord who can impose conditions or refuse permission, but must not do either unreasonably. If the tenant does not satisfy reasonable conditions imposed by the landlord, he or she could be breaking his or her agreement, and the landlord might be able to regain possession.

(My underlining). Does the team think I might have a sniff as the tenant has not asked for our permission to do any of the things they have done for the past 40 years! (and has used unqualified workmen)

Derek

lucid
25-11-2005, 00:26 AM
Yes this is one of the cases for repossesion...but it is discretionary...not guaranteed. And judges do not often grant these without significant evidence on your part. You could spend tens of thousands of pounds for nothing. In the process it would come to the judges attention that for several years you carried out no servicing of gas appliances, and there was no certification. Not knowing would mean nothing. He would just say when you aquired the property why did you not inspect it then and get advice as to your legal responsibilities. Indeed the tenant may use this against you as the reason they had to do repairs themselves.

The tenant could counter claim against you for damages re you not fulfilling your statutory duty, claim possible injury who knows, could get very messy indeed. And take in all likelyhood at least a year or so if you're lucky. £50k or £60k later you are back where you started.

Only you know why you did nothing when you aquired the property and the level of evidence you have against the tenant. And how deep are your pockets, can you afford to lose that amount of money?

I note that you have not mentioned when the tenancy began. Was it on or after 24th October 1961?

Bludnok
25-11-2005, 06:24 AM
I note that you have not mentioned when the tenancy began. Was it on or after 24th October 1961?

Since about 1964.

I'm not really looking for reposession, I just want the tenant to put right the things that he has done in the flat, without telling us and without using properly qualified workmen. I'm trying to avoid having to pay for his mistakes - for work I didn't even know about!

Derek

lucid
25-11-2005, 12:02 PM
If its 1964 then technically you are responsible for the repairs in the first place regardless of anything that might be written in the contract. Yes I understand exactly what you are saying, but one wouldn't want to cut off your nose to spite your face so to speak.

Of course she should put it right but can you prove what she has done, reciepts, witness statements, photographic evidence before and after etc. Without evidence it would be very difficuly to prove. Maybe she did have permission from a previous owner who knows? These sort of things cost a fortune if they go to court.

How come you didn't inspect the property when you aquired it? And make an effort to find out about who was reponsible for the repairs. Took me 5 minutes on the net to get that date. Sort of things opposing counsel could ask you.

As said before if it was me and my property i would just get it fixed and keep a closer eye on the ball and make sure you fulfill all your statutory obligations with regard to the tenancy in future.