New property/NHBC/Council powers

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    New property/NHBC/Council powers

    Does anyone know what powers the council have with regards to making a landlord carry out work on a property?

    Mine is a 5 year old place with an NHBC certificate and the tenants reckon they have had the Council in and they are writing to me with a list of what needs doing.

    My understanding was that they only have enforcement powers for life/safety type issues (means of escape, smoke alarms etc'), which a 5 year old NHBC certified modern 2 bed semi that hasn't been altered structurally isn't going to have.

    The tenant has complained about soundproofing to next door, a draft under a window and various other issues which are mainly of a minor nature.

    Any advice would be appreciated in order that I can defend my corner should a letter arrive.

    #2
    Originally posted by simonc View Post
    Does anyone know what powers the council have with regards to making a landlord carry out work on a property?

    Mine is a 5 year old place with an NHBC certificate and the tenants reckon they have had the Council in and they are writing to me with a list of what needs doing.

    My understanding was that they only have enforcement powers for life/safety type issues (means of escape, smoke alarms etc'), which a 5 year old NHBC certified modern 2 bed semi that hasn't been altered structurally isn't going to have.

    The tenant has complained about soundproofing to next door, a draft under a window and various other issues which are mainly of a minor nature.

    Any advice would be appreciated in order that I can defend my corner should a letter arrive.
    Are your concerns re:
    i. condition of house as dangerous structure (progressive deterioration);
    ii. defects arising from how it was built (defective from day 1- breach of NHBC terms);
    iii. you as private sector L;
    iv. planning permission/Building Act consent breaches; or
    v. some combination of these?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


      #3
      Jeffrey

      My concern is really is as a private landlord and the council making me do work that I consider is not required.

      The property is totally up together and the tenants are complaining about anything and everything, but I know what Councils can be like and I wanted to know what the chances of them making me carry out works were?

      For example if they felt the soundproofing between the semi's wasn't good enough, I don't want to have to pay for it!

      Comment


        #4
        "Totally up together"? Does that mean something to you young people?
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


          #5
          I would say that unless there's some hideous defect in a building of that age, there's unlikely to be anything that the council will force you to do. To use your example, if the property fulfilled the sound insulation requirements of building regs 5 years ago, I really can't see how you could possibly be forced to upgrade it.

          The only exception might be if this is an HMO - but it doesn't sound like it is, right?

          I shouldn't worry overly - wait and see what they come up with. And get that S21 form ready!

          Comment


            #6
            I shouldn't get that S21 form ready, I should serve it to get rid of these tenants as soon as possible!

            P.P.
            Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

            Comment


              #7
              Me thinks Jeffrey is an old fuddy duddy pmsl!!!!

              I agree with the others tho... serve the ungrateful gits with a section 21 and get shot of them asap!
              GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

              Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for all the replies, they have had the section 21 and are due to go soon. Which is why it is all the more ridiculous that they are still complaining.

                It isn't a HMO - it is a very modern nice 2 bed semi, that has nothing major wrong with it at all.

                Yes, there are a few minor wear and tear things, for example the cooker broke, a boiler started leaking and a tile on the roof moved in the high wind, but everything has been addressed. From the e-mails and phone calls I have been getting you would think they were in a shack in downtown Rio!

                The only thing that they have moaned about that concerns me is the sundproofing as I know councils can get funny about that, but as per the post above - if it had an NHBC 5 years ago they must have been happy with the soundproof then and nothing has changed!

                I just cannot see how the council could get involved, take a look at some pics of the property on my website to get an idea of why I am so baffled:

                http://www.professional-web.co.uk/laxton.htm

                Comment


                  #9
                  Here are links to the Housing Health and Safety Rating system that local council trading standards are involved with for residential properties

                  http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1164487
                  http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1152820

                  Does your boiler have a current Corgi gas safety certificate issued on it? This is mandatory for all private rental properties, issued on an annual basis.

                  You will find info on your obligations here

                  http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/regulations.htm

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Councils complaints and soundblock

                    I know what Councils can be like ...

                    Without wishing to be a creep I have found council officials to be brilliant! Many years ago before I joined a landlords association it was the city council who invited me to attend a landlords meeting. As a result I joined and saved myself a fortune with the advice I received and discounts on offer via insurance etc as well as support and networking. They also showed me more cost effective ways to provide safety measures. In fact they are a really nice buch of people who have done me proud!

                    We use a high density plasterboard - a product called sound block or sound shield on party walls where the walls are thin. Plastered over it kills all sound!
                    We fit inexpensive fire doors even when not legally required because they are also pretty soundresitant too!

                    We had a group of tenants who sound like yours and initially the complaints were disproportional. We even had the council visit and we were praised for our standards. Ironically the group did not realise that we were not running a hotel and once they realised what the competition were offering they settled and became such a nice group we booked them for a second year!

                    It does seem the nicer the house the more is expected, e.g. room service! The trend is for complaint lists to get longer every year as aspirations exceed improving standards. However, this particular complaining group even sent a thank you card and said some kind things about us on the internet. The point I am making is try not to take it personally when receiving complaints particularly at the outset, they may just be worried the landlord will blame tenants for a pre-existing fault.

                    It is very upsetting when you put your heart and soul into a property and the feedback on the house describes a mud hut! Try and detach yourself and just be professional in how you deal with the issues. We view feedback as free consultation.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by simonc View Post

                      It isn't a HMO - it is a very modern nice 2 bed semi, that has nothing major wrong with it at all.
                      If there are only 2 people it is not an HMO

                      If there are 3 unrelated people, then it is an HMO and you will have to comply with HMO regs including fire precautions. This means mains-supplied smoke detectors as a minimum. Check the regs.
                      All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

                      * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

                      You can search the forums here:

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It is a young couple with a baby, no way is it a HMO.

                        Not had the letter from the Council yet, I am starting to wonder if it is hot air!!!

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