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Worldlife
20-02-2010, 15:31 PM
Hi all - back after a rather long break but this important issue has been in my mind for a few weeks.

Did you know that you could be taken to court and fined £22,000 for a nuisance caused by your tenant's barking dogs!!!

Read this article from Environmental Health News 29th January 2010

Neighbours suffered dog noise nuisance (http://www.cieh.org/ehn/ehn3.aspx?id=28322)

It seems to me URGENT that an organisation representing Landlords investigates this case fully and supports the appeal of Ms Adewunmi against the prosecution and conviction.

It is blatantly unfair that the case against the tenants whose dogs actually caused the nuisance will not be heard until March.

What exactly were the terms of the notice against Ms Adewunmi the landlord? Did the Council ask her to evict the tenants for contravention of tenancy conditions?

Would the Council's notice have been abated if the landlord gave the tenants notice to quit and the Court took month after month to get the bailiffs to remove the tenants?

I cannot see it being reasonable for the Council to issue a notice against the landlord requiring things like sound insulation where the prime cause of the nuisance is the tenant obviously acting outside normal and reasonable tenancy conditions.

Is it appropriate to ask a landlord to evict a tenant on the grounds of contravention of tenancy conditions where the tenant is in direct breach of the laws enforced by the Council?

With an intermittent noise nuisance surely landlords should not be expected to get out of bed at all hours and at short notice to investigate. That must be the obligation of the Environmental Health Department and for that Department to take direct action against the culprit and not the landlord.

The report does not make it clear whether the case refers to joint tenants or to several tenants in a House in Multiple Occupation.

davidjohnbutton
20-02-2010, 16:48 PM
Hellfire - this seems like a really stupid decision by both the council and the mags - unless there is more to the story than has been written.

Along the basis of this - if I loan my car to someone and they are caught speeding - the court could fine me as well as the speeder simply because I own the car - how can I control what speed the borrower does??

Same here, how can the landlord control what the tenant does except by way of terminating the tenancy and seeking possession. Even then, unless rent was in arrear, the landlord might well be pushed to get a discretionary possession order based on 8 dogs causing a nuisance.

Seems like this landlord was between a rock and a hard place!

Reminds me of when my local council at the time some 25 years ago decided to issue a planning enforcement notice against me for caravans containing otherwise homeless tenants on my land. I said ok, I will disconnect their supplies on the last day - no you wont said the same council, you will taken to court for harassment - you must obtain a court order. So I went for a court order - told it would be heard in 6 months - only 28 days to comply with enforcement notice!!! Rang assistant solicitor to council up to seek advice about the predicament - I said, if I move them by force, you will prosecute me -if they arnt off by 28 days, you will prosecute me aqnd your housing officer told them to stop till I get court order - he just laughed. Changed his tune though when I told him I had him on tape and would be along to his office within the half-hour to knock his teef that far down his throat he would have to push his toothbrush up his arse to clean em (exact words).

I was by the way until about 2 months previous a member of staff of same authority and had been retired on ill health grounds - so he knew that I knew where his office was!!!!

Quick call to the Chief Executive and played tape - all resolved - council would rehouse the tenants!

Anyway, back to the case in discussion - the landlord was unrepresented - thats bad - a good solicitor would have surely seen this off???

Lawcruncher
20-02-2010, 17:24 PM
It looks unreasonable, but I think we need to know the full facts.

westminster
20-02-2010, 18:36 PM
Well, at least it says the tenants are facing prosecution as well. The whole thing sounds bonkers. I think part of problem was that the landlady conducted her own defence, presumably very badly. Didn't realize magistrates could impose such high fines - I thought the limit was £5K?

westminster
20-02-2010, 18:42 PM
I said ok, I will disconnect their supplies on the last day - no you wont said the same council, you will taken to court for harassment - you must obtain a court order. So I went for a court order - told it would be heard in 6 months - only 28 days to comply with enforcement notice!!! Rang assistant solicitor to council up to seek advice about the predicament - I said, if I move them by force, you will prosecute me -if they arnt off by 28 days, you will prosecute me aqnd your housing officer told them to stop till I get court order - he just laughed.
I had a slightly similar situation once with building control insisting I install a fire door with a self-closer for a kitchen, but because the building was Grade II* listed, the listed planning department insisted I couldn't install a fire door. Either way I was breaking the regs. *sigh*

James 2009
20-02-2010, 18:53 PM
We don't know the full story. Usually cases get half reported to create a headline and the truth is nowhere near what the press say.

The landlord had 2 1/2 years from the first abatement notice until the court decision - one can safely assume that these were some pretty extreme circumstances for the problem to drag on that long. It certainly seems possible that she had opportunities to resolve the problem over 30 months.

Worldlife
20-02-2010, 23:50 PM
Glad some of my views seem to be shared.

Agree the information we have been provided through the magazine report only gives us very basic information.

I have difficulty in conceiving the content of a valid abatement notice unless the Council were taking the view that the landlord was running a business and the noise was directly due to the improper conduct of that business.

What action could the notice require? Sound insulation would be inappropriate as the nuisance could and should be rectified by the Local Authority taking action against the tenant.

Could the abatement notice require the landlord to evict the tenants? I think both tenant associations and landlords should be concerned if pressure was being brought to secure eviction of tenants on the grounds of that the tenant was causing a statutory nuisance that could, and should, be rectified by an abatement notice on the tenant.

This case seems a thin end of a wedge that could affect all landlords unfairly Efforts made to investigate and ensure the landlord is, in the interests of us all, properly and effectively represented.

davidjohnbutton
21-02-2010, 00:04 AM
And it appears that the maximum fine for person failing to abide by an abatement notice is £5000 but goes up to max £20,000 if its a business.

There is definitely more to this than meets the eye!!!!!!!

Worldlife
21-02-2010, 21:43 PM
Found this report in the local press.

It's still vague on the details we really need to know

http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/4825123.Bushey_landlord_fined_thousands_for_barkin g_dogs/

jeffrey
21-02-2010, 21:46 PM
My guesswork only:
L was served with Council's Notices but failed to enforce against T. So Council regarded L as being passively involved- hence prosecution.

Worldlife
22-02-2010, 08:25 AM
My guesswork only:
L was served with Council's Notices but failed to enforce against T. So Council regarded L as being passively involved- hence prosecution.

Good point Jeffrey but the article states the tenants are also facing prosecution and will appear in Court in March!

I will contact Hertsmere Council today to see if they can provide a full report to enable us to understand the situation.

dominic
22-02-2010, 11:34 AM
It would interesting to see what law was used to prosecute the LL (addressee of notice failing to comply with it).

If it was failure to comply with the abatement notice (the council making LL vicariously liable for his Ts), I would question whether the council has the power and authority to impose such an obligation of a LL in respect of another;s actions, or whether this is ultra vires.

All very interesting. Normally criminal law has a higher bar to jump through than its civil law counterpart, but certainly the chance of suing the LL on the same facts woud appear unlikely to succeed.

bullybantam
22-02-2010, 20:00 PM
. Changed his tune though when I told him I had him on tape .........................


Quick call to the Chief Executive and played tape - all resolved - council would rehouse the tenants!



Surprised the council didn't prosecute you for not warning recipient at outset of call that you were taping him!


LL's liable for tenants dogs, certificates for this, regulations for that. Soon it'll be LL's responsibility if tenants are obese.

I'm thinking of getting out of this game
:mad:

davidjohnbutton
22-02-2010, 22:17 PM
Surprised the council didn't prosecute you for not warning recipient at outset of call that you were taping him!



:mad:


Actually, you might be surprised to learn that it IS NOT an offence to tape record a telephone conversation where one of the parties is unaware that they are being taped. It IS an offence to tape a telephone conversation where NO PARTY is aware.

I have had taped evidence admitted in more than one court case where I taped a telephone conversation which I myself was party to and it was my deliberate intention to use that evidence in court.

If you warn someone that they are being taped beforehand - they may well not say things that they would when they are not aware. So my friends, you assume that every telephone call is being taped and choose your words carefully lest there is someone at the other end taping you!!! BTW, if you do end up taping someone, dont use a digital recorder, use a proper tape recorder as it is easier to alter a digital recording.

What did actually surprise me was that I did not have police knocking at my door over the teef threat!!! I would then have pleaded extreme provocation and probably just got a warning since I never actually carried out the threat but instead placed a call almost immediately to the relevant Chief Executive.

bullybantam
23-02-2010, 06:48 AM
Actually, you might be surprised to learn that it IS NOT an offence to tape record a telephone conversation where one of the parties is unaware that they are being taped. It IS an offence to tape a telephone conversation where NO PARTY is aware.


.

I am surprised to learn that, I do know telecom engineers are only people in the country allowed to monitor phone calls without a warrant but I didn't realise you didn't have to warn third party call was recorded.

I've recorded calls twice, but did warn them beforehand.

Worldlife
24-02-2010, 16:17 PM
I have now heard from Hertsmere BC


As there is an appeal pending in this matter and a number of other related cases yet to be heard, it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.

When all have become a matter of public record we would be happy to provide a summary of events.

Is there a danger if nothing is done and Hertsmere obtain judgement in their favour that we have case law established that the Landlord becomes directly responsible for the misdemours of his/her tenant?

Where and how can we obtain more information about the case reported in my original post?

Wonder if the Watford Observer reporter was in Court - is that a line to follow?

Would there be a legal eagle here willing to contact the landlord and offer the support she needs?

PS Just wondered if the Council and Committee Minutes might provide insight - I'll ask

westminster
25-02-2010, 02:17 AM
Where and how can we obtain more information about the case reported in my original post?


The Civil Procedure Rules allow persons not party to the proceedings to obtain copies of court documents.
http://www.justice.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/contents/parts/part05.htm#IDAMDI5B

But that's not Criminal rules. I don't know anything about them, but here they are.
http://www.justice.gov.uk/criminal/procrules_fin/rulesmenu.htm
Part 16 looks as if it may be relevant.

Lawcruncher
25-02-2010, 10:38 AM
Is there a danger if nothing is done and Hertsmere obtain judgement in their favour that we have case law established that the Landlord becomes directly responsible for the misdemours of his/her tenant?

I do not think so.

This is either a rogue decision or there is more to it than meets the eye.

davidjohnbutton
25-02-2010, 16:32 PM
Email as below sent to Hertsmere BC

Reply awaited - will post it on here asap


Good afternoon,

I am very interested in this http://www.cieh.org/ehn/ehn3.aspx?id=28322

On behalf as a member of the Landlordzone forum, can I ask a couple of questions please?

1. How on earth can a landlord be, as this case seems to portray, responsible for the actions of a tenant? This seems to be very much like the owner of a motor vehicle being held responsible for the driver to whom he loans it when that driver speeds (i.e. punishing both owner and driver).
2. You apparently served notices on the landlord as well as the tenant. What did you require the landlord to do (i.e. evict the tenants, obtain a court order reducing the dogs – what????)
3. The maximum fine for a breach of a nuisance abatement notice seems to be £5000 but £20000 if the breach is in the course of a business. So how come the landlord was fined in excess of the maximum or was that costs?
4. Do you really think it is fair, just and equitable that a landlord should be held responsible in this way for the actions of tenants whom the landlord has no control over.
5. Is the reporting accurate or is there more to this than meets the eye to coin a phrase??


Regards


David J. Button

snow
10-03-2010, 00:30 AM
Actually, you might be surprised to learn that it IS NOT an offence to tape record a telephone conversation where one of the parties is unaware that they are being taped. It IS an offence to tape a telephone conversation where NO PARTY is aware.

I have had taped evidence admitted in more than one court case where I taped a telephone conversation which I myself was party to and it was my deliberate intention to use that evidence in court.

If you warn someone that they are being taped beforehand - they may well not say things that they would when they are not aware. So my friends, you assume that every telephone call is being taped and choose your words carefully lest there is someone at the other end taping you!!! BTW, if you do end up taping someone, dont use a digital recorder, use a proper tape recorder as it is easier to alter a digital recording.

What did actually surprise me was that I did not have police knocking at my door over the teef threat!!! I would then have pleaded extreme provocation and probably just got a warning since I never actually carried out the threat but instead placed a call almost immediately to the relevant Chief Executive.


What kind of device did you used to record the calls ?

davidjohnbutton
10-03-2010, 08:21 AM
Ordinary mini tape recorder with an inductive suction held coupler on the earpiece connected to the mic socket