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martin_n
20-03-2006, 17:34 PM
Hi,

I hired the builders to paint outside the building lats year and two months later received a letter from the tenant saying that the painting caused his window stuck so he could not close it and wanted me to fix, but must do it from outside.

To make him happy, I asked the builder to fix from outside by using the ladder but could not and was not sure if painting was the cause of the problem so he needed to see from inside. I requested the tenant 4 times to allow the builder to access the flat and he refused and giving no explanation.

He just wrote me a letter and saying that because we caused the problem from outside so we had to fix from outside. I also recieved a letter from the local saying that it is my responsibility and must do it and suggested me to use landlord power.

I am a bit confused of what to do, if I take him to court to allow access to the flat then it would cost me. Also this is a difficult teant, I am not even sure if painting was the problem or he deliberately caused the problem and did not report until about 2 months later.

So any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Martin

davidjohnbutton
20-03-2006, 18:10 PM
Keep a contemporaneous record of all your attempts to do this repair. Just leave it until the local authority issue a notice requiring you to do it - comply with that notice - if you are unable to do so because of lack of access, report that to the LA who will in most cases try and mediate. If it comes to the tenant claiming you have not done repairs, you will then have your own records and that of the LA to back you up and refute his claim.

martin_n
20-03-2006, 20:54 PM
Thanks for your comments David.

I actually received the notice from the local authority and wanted me to fix by 10th April otherwise they would take legal action. Sorry to ask this naive question but who LA are and how can I contact them?

For your information, I did report the lack of access to local authority already but they did not seem to help but sent me the notice. They told me to seek legal advice and pursue my legal right.

If the LA intervent and the teant still refuse to for access then would the local authority is still right to take formal action against me or I am better to seek advise from a solicitor?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

davidjohnbutton
20-03-2006, 21:56 PM
LA is short for local authority by which it is meant the local council - you already have a notice from them, the address and phone number will be on there.

The LA can take legal action against you for failing to do repairs and in default they can do the repairs themselves. It is unlikely that they would proceed legally against you since the fact that you cannot get access would be a justifiable defence.

You should go back to the LA and tell them of the difficulties and insist they help you enforce what is, after all, their own notice.

MrWoof
21-03-2006, 00:02 AM
I am confused, I was under the impression that if I let a house to a tenant under an AST, the local authority are not involved except to assess housing benefit if necessary. Am I wrong in this?

davidjohnbutton
21-03-2006, 00:12 AM
Yes, sorry to say you are Mr. Woof - the local authority can involve themselves in any aspect of the environmental/housing/housing benefit/local housing allowance/planning aspect of the tenancy as defined by law.

The usual things that landlords come into battle with the local authority is where repairs are not done and the tenant calls in the environmental health officer, or where harassment or unlawful evictions are threatened or carried out or where something is done which requires planning permission or where the house is a licensable HMO.

They can also become involved with the tenant as regards payment of council tax, noise, pollution, benefit (including fraud) and overcrowding.

I may well have missed a few things off, but those are the main aspects.

MrWoof
21-03-2006, 00:20 AM
DJB, Thanks for that, I try to be a good landlord, any reported problems are dealt with immediately and on the occasions when I have had to serve notice, I have stayed within the law. Maybe this is why I did not know about this.

martin_n
21-03-2006, 10:27 AM
Thanks for the comments David.

I talked to the local officer and and he acknowldged that I tried to contact the tenant a few times but he said nothing he could do apart from I needed to take the tenant to court to allow access right then he would back me in court.

I am a bit confused when the tenant reported an issue the the LA and they could not do anything about it. If I have to take the tenant to court then can I reclaim the compensations i.e. the money spent on sending the tenant to court?? Or do you have any othe rsuggestions.

Thanks.

Worldlife
21-03-2006, 11:39 AM
Might be worth looking up the Right of local authority to do work in default (http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/page-203)

What do other think of the following suggestions.

Write to the tenant stating that in view of his/her obstruction to the completion of works (set out full details of the times and dates of the obstruction) you consider the best way that the work can be undertaken effectively is for the works scheduled on the Local Authority notice to be completed by the Local Authority on expiration of their notice.

State that you are seeking advice as to whether the additional cost of the local authority and their contractor over and above that quoted to you by your original contractor can be recovered from the tenant as arising from the tenant's obstruction.

Perhaps copy this letter to the Local Authority and seek their further comment.

martin_n
22-03-2006, 14:15 PM
Thanks for your post Worldlife and sorry for returning to this issue.

I discussed with the LA officer again today and he said again that nothing he could do as he already wrote to the tenant and asked for access. He did not tell me what action the LA would take if I made them to take formal action, so in a way I could understand his point because he wanted me to do it rather than waiting until that.

He said that I have the power to access the property but do it formally by seeking legal advice, so I guess the only chance I can access the property is throug court to get the warrant. Again, if you have any idea then I am very much appreciated to hear.

Thanks

Worldlife
22-03-2006, 15:03 PM
The Local Authority officer may be taking the easy option!!

As you see from my link the LA will have the hassle of organising three estimates ( especially if your tenant is not co-operative) and then arranging for the contractor to do the work.

Naturally they will charge oncosts for their involvement.

Technically you will be guilty of an offence in not complying with the statutory notice but I'm not sure that the authority would proceed if you clearly indicate to them at this stage that due to the problems of dealing with this particular tenant you would prefer them to undertake the work in default.

Maybe write along these lines to the Chief Executive and ask what the oncosts are likely to be and whether the Council consider the costs over and above your original estimate for the proposed works should be born by the tenant. If the Council feel in these circumstances these additional costs might be charged by the landlord to the tenant should they perhaps warn the tenant accordingly?

Personally that is a line of approach I would follow and rather than go immediately to Court just to gain entry.

If you write to the Chief Executive the Council will have to ensure they give you absolutely fair and impartial advice on this situation and you can ask for an extension of the notice period if they delay replies or fail to give adequate answers or eventually you have trouble scheduling a Court hearing.

Again I would appreciate input from other contributors who may see flaws in this line of approach but the worse the Local Authority can do at this stage is to trash your representations and suggestions.