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Tribunal rules tenant at fault for safety check breach

Dunstall Avenue house

A landlord who was unable to conduct an electrical safety check due to his hoarding tenant has had a £3,500 fine quashed.

Ashwani Kumar Sharda had been fined by Blaby District Council which issued a Prohibition Order after environmental health officers found safety issues at the three-bedroom property in Dunstall Avenue, Braunstone Town. However, a First Tier Property Tribunal ruled that the tenant did not grant access to enable an EICR to be prepared.

Poor state

The tribunal heard that the property was in a poor state of repair with evidence of substantial hoarding. It had no back door, there was evidence of rodent activity, problems with the heating and hot water system and trailing electrical wires throughout. Officers requested that an Electrical Condition Report be made available for inspection within seven days but when this wasn’t done, the council served Notice of Remedial action requiring the landlord to remedy breaches within 28 days.

Sharda told the tribunal that it was impossible for him to comply within 28 days as the tenant had prevented access to the property. Even when access was granted, certain rooms were locked using coded door entry while his tenant had moved the kitchen and altered the wiring without permission. An accumulation of rubbish and hoarding meant that sockets could not be accessed.

Granted access

The tenant had only granted access when requested by social services or environmental health. Sharda ultimately had to apply for a Possession Order and later obtained the Domestic Electrical Installation Certificate.

The tribunal ruled: “Both the Notice of Intent and Final Notice issued by the Local authority fail to provide particulars of the breach of duty under Regulation 3. Neither notice provides a valid reason for imposing a financial penalty.”

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