Hazard awareness notice

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    Hazard awareness notice

    I have a 4 bedroom HMO and have been served a Hazard Awareness Notice from an Enforcement Officer from a local authority. I have completed half the list so far but the council is adamant that I complete the rest asap and require a completion date.

    I have a few of questions:

    1. I cannot afford to get contractors in to complete all the remaining jobs so will have to do it myself, but I live 220 miles away from the the property so will have to do a lot of travelling. Half of my tenants are behind with their rent which has put me under financial strain. In view of the COVID-19 restrictions and the risk to both myself and my tenants, can I be forced to travel from London to Yorkshire to do the work? I am 62 years of age and it would incur a great risk to myself as I would be travelling via public transport and of course to the tenants themselves.

    2. I have only recently found out that a Hazard Awareness Notice is only a guideline for landlords and legally landlords don't have to follow it or complete any work. Is this the case or are landlords morally obliged to do the work stated.

    3. I do not really want to go down this route but I am so unduly harrassed by the council that I feel I need to take legal advice as the remaining hazards set out by the council are not life threatening. I will of course complete them but not when it can directly affect my health and the health of the tenants.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    #2
    I would be inclined to write back to the Council saying that in light of the situation with covid19, you are unable to give them a date when the work will be completed. As you say, a hazard awareness notice is not in itself enforceable. It may be possible for them to escalate the notice to one that is enforceable, (eg Improvement Notice), but I have no knowledge of this.

    This is a dangerous situation for a landlord to be in. If the Council had served an enforceable notice, then simply not having the money to do the work would not be a defence. If you are this strapped for cash then I would think seriously about gradually moving the existing tenants on and selling the place.

    Comment


      #3
      That you live some way away and are 62 is fundamentally your decision, doesn;t change your responsibilities. Likewise insufficient funds.

      Wonder if insurers would pay out if there's an unsatisfied hazard notice & you've no plan for fixing. i.e. be careful.

      Artful, 72, 505 miles each-way from 2 properties.
      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

      Comment


        #4
        | think AL above talks great sense.You are realising the risks of letting property when
        1.you are an absentee by distance
        2.you are at an age where hard work becomes irksome
        3.you have no contengency funds to finance essential works.
        You could claim that Covid precludes all but emergency works in a letter seeking clemency.

        Comment


          #5
          I am pleased to say I have not come across a Hazard Awareness Notice and was curious enough to look up what this actually means. This is off some website called Landlord Advice UK and I have no idea how accurate is their advice. It seems to be a bit like what used to be called a "minded to" notice of works, ie the council is minded to serve notice unless XYZ is done.

          Could the OP say which hazards are alleged? Hazard Awareness Notice


          A Hazard Awareness notice advises the person on whom it served that Category 1 or Category 2 hazard(s) exist on the premises which is stated. There are in total 29 hazards The notice shall also be accompanied by a statement of reasons for deciding to serve such a notice. Provisions as to service are the same as for an improvement notice.

          The content of the notice is similar to an improvement notice except there are no dates for the work to be started or completed, and no offence is committed if not complied with. A hazard awareness notice is not enforceable therefore there are consequences as such if the hazard awareness notice is not complied with.

          However, a local authority would typically inspect the property in the future after serving a hazard awareness notice. If the local housing authority find that the hazard awareness notice has not been complied with, an improvement notice may be served which is enforceable and a criminal offence is committed where an improvement notice is not complied with.

          The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS or the Rating System) sets out that enforcement officers shall using a hazard scoring system to determine whether a hazard is a category 1 or 2 hazards. The hazard score is a numerical representation of the overall risk from a hazard. It is based on the evaluation of the likelihood of an occurrence and of the probable harm that could result.

          You cannot appeal a hazard awareness notice.

          A list of all 29 hazards are below:
          Hazards
          1 Damp and mould growth
          Health threats due to dust mites, mould or fungal including mental and social wellbeing health threats associated with damp, humid and mouldy conditions
          2 Excess cold
          Threats to health from cold indoor temperatures. A healthy indoor temperature is 18oC to 21oC
          3 Excess heat
          Threats due to high indoor temperatures
          4 Asbestos and MMF
          Exposure to asbestos fibres and Manufactured Mineral Fibres (MMF)
          5 Biocides
          Threats to health from chemicals used to treat timber and mould growth
          6 Carbon Monoxide and fuel combustion products
          Excess levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and smoke
          7 Lead
          Threats to health from lead ingestion from paint, water pipes, soil and fumes from leaded petrol
          8 Radiation
          Health threats from radon gas and its daughters, primarily airborne but also radon dissolved in water
          9 Uncombusted fuel gas
          Threat from fuel gas escaping into the atmosphere within a property
          10 Volatile organic compounds
          Threat to health from a diverse group of organic chemicals including formaldehyde that are gaseous at room temperature and can be found in a wide variety of materials in the home
          11 Crowding and space
          Hazards associated with lack of space for living, sleeping and normal household or family life
          12 Entry by intruders
          Problems keeping a property secure against unauthorised entry and maintaining defensible space
          13 Lighting
          Threats to physical and mental health associated with inadequate natural or artificial light, including the psychological effects associated with the view from the property through glazing
          14 Noise
          Threats to physical and mental health due to exposure to noise within the property or within its curtilage
          15 Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
          Health hazards due to poor design, layout and construction making it hard to keep clean and hygienic, attracting pests and inadequate and unhygienic provision for storing household waste
          16 Food safety
          Threats of infection from poor provision and facilities to store, prepare and cook food
          17 Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
          Threats of infections and threat to mental health associated with personal hygiene, including personal and clothes washing facilities, sanitation and drainage
          18 Water supply
          Threats to health from contamination by bacteria, parasites, viruses and chemical pollutants due to the quality of water supply for drinking household use such as cooking, washing and sanitation
          19 Falls associated with baths
          Falls associated with a bath, shower or similar facility
          20 Falls on the level surfaces
          Falls on any level surface such as floor, yards and paths, including falls associated with trip steps, thresholds or ramps where the change in level is less than 300mm
          21 Falls associated with stairs and steps
          Falls associated with stairs and ramps where the change in level is greater than 300mm. It includes internal stairs or ramps within a property, external steps or ramps associated with the property, access to the property and to shared facilities or means of escape from fire and falls over stairs, ramp or step guarding
          22 Falls between levels
          Falls from one level to another, inside or outside a dwelling where the difference is more than 300mm. Including falls from balconies, landings or out of windows
          23 Electrical hazards
          Hazards from electric shock and electricity burns
          24 Fire
          Threats to health from exposure to uncontrolled fire and associated smoke. It includes injuries from clothing catching fire, a common injuring when trying to put a fire out.
          25 Flames, hot surfaces and materials
          Burns or injuries caused by contact with a hot flame or fire, hot objects and non-water based liquids. Scalds caused by contact with hot liquids and vapours.
          26 Collision and entrapment
          Risks of physical injuries from trapping body parts in architectural features such as trapping fingers in doors and windows and colliding with objects such as windows, doors and low ceilings
          27 Explosions Threats from the blast of an explosion, from debris generated by the blast and from partial or total collapse of a building as a result of the explosion
          28 Ergonomics
          Threats of physical strain associated with functional space and other features at the dwelling
          29 Structural collapse and falling elements
          The threat of the dwelling collapsing or part of the fabric being displaced or falling due to inadequate fixing or disrepair or as a result of adverse weather conditions.

          Comment


            #6
            Can you not stay in the property overnight? Is there not a communal area you can put an airbed and a sleeping bag?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
              Can you not stay in the property overnight? Is there not a communal area you can put an airbed and a sleeping bag?
              Cant see tenants wanting watch breakfast TV with landlord curled up in a cheap duvet on cheap carpetted floor.He could use local b n b given the rent earned on Hmos!

              Comment


                #8
                we might be able to make some sensible suggestions if we knew what were the issues in the Notice

                Comment


                  #9
                  1. I would say if you do not have the money to properly upkeep your property, or live nearby so you can DIY it then you should really consider selling it. What happens if you have a future major problem you need to fix that you cannot DIY??

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by andybenw View Post
                    1. I would say if you do not have the money to properly upkeep your property, or live nearby so you can DIY it then you should really consider selling it. What happens if you have a future major problem you need to fix that you cannot DIY??
                    Yes agreed, some people should not be landlords if the business cannot be run along professional lines.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jon66 View Post

                      Yes agreed, some people should not be landlords if the business cannot be run along professional lines.
                      True: People should likewise not be agents without relevant training, qualifications and criminal records check: (None required currently, bonkers..). Ditto MPs.. (don't get me started...)
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Clearly the thrust of all the new regulation is to force landlords in the residential lettings sector become more professional. Strangely enough I am dealing with a block where the local council purchased one of the leases back in the 70s when they were desperate for housing. It is sub-let to persons in housing need. It is the only one in the block without an EPC!
                        EICR rules dont apply to the local authority as landlord, either; as it cannot enforce against itself!!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Sell up...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            the problem with that suggestion is that the OP would be obligated to disclose the notice which would result in the price being severely depressed. Still curious to know what the Local Authority are asking him to do.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Mmm, I await a notification from the council about my property (not a HMO) under point 11. It has become the go to accomodation for my tenants mates/family. Apparently four men now living in a 2 bed accomodation - every week another seems to turn up.

                              Comment

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