Excessive number of inspections?

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    Excessive number of inspections?

    I started a new AST (England) in August, almost exactly 3 months ago. It's a furnished flat in a 6-flat, 3-storey building with a common stairway and entry hall, and I believe the whole building is owned and managed by the same landlord.

    Since moving in, I've been notified by the letting agents on separate occasions of the following inspections:

    13th Aug: inspection of stopcocks (I was given <24 hrs notice)
    16th Sep: sprinkler system 31st Oct: survey inspection
    12th Nov: fire alarms
    4th Dec: "periodic" inspection

    So, 5 separate inspections in the first 4 months of my tenancy. In each case I was told that my flat would need to be entered, not just the common areas, and that someone would enter with a key if I wasn't home (never mind that I can't see any sprinklers inside my flat...)

    It's a pretty old building and I have also had to report a large number of maintenance issues, many apparently due to the previous tenants NOT reporting things, so there has been a steady stream of workmen visiting to fix the boiler (3 times), washing machine, cooker, a rain water leak, various broken furniture (most got repaired in a single visit), and to take curtains away for washing due to pre-existing mildew.

    Between all these things and the inspections - there's been someone entering the property nearly every other week. I work regular hours so in general I have to either take time off work, which is inconvenient, or let them enter my home when I'm not there, which I dislike. I realise that the maintenance visits have mostly been at my request and necessary, but they make the large number of scheduled inspections on top of that feel even more excessive.

    Overall I've been fairly pleased with the letting agents for dealing with maintenance issues quickly (which is a first for me) - so I would like to keep a good relationship with them if possible and not come across as demanding. But all these visits are really becoming irritating and intrusive.

    I'd like your opinions:
    Is the number of inspections excessive?
    If so, what can I reasonably do about it?

    #2
    These look like various trademan that need to conduct it, if the freeholder may have instructed different companies/ people to do the specific items, rather than one organisation to do it all which may be more costly. These costs will be paid by the leaseholders of the flats as part of their service charges, if the costs are too expensive to avoid inconvenience to the leaseholders, then ultimately the tenants would then most likely see an increase in rents.

    I would be more grateful that the freeholder is adhering to their responsibilities and take it serious to periodically inspecting the various aspects. I'm sure this inconvenience is better than risking yours and others safety as well as not inspecting and causing leaks (sprinkler system, stop cocks).

    Comment


      #3
      If things need doing then they need doing. Probably only the last of these has anything to do with your immediate landlord - the others are probably imposed on them.

      Comment


        #4
        Imposed on them by whom? I'm curious, because at my last place none of those inspections happened in 18 months (except the agent one).

        Originally posted by ash72 View Post
        I would be more grateful that the freeholder is adhering to their responsibilities and take it serious to periodically inspecting the various aspects. I'm sure this inconvenience is better than risking yours and others safety as well as not inspecting and causing leaks (sprinkler system, stop cocks).
        As I said in the first post, I am pleased that things are getting dealt with. That's why I'm canvassing opinions here first to find a reasonable and tactful way to handle the issue, rather than just complaining to them about it. But frankly, telling me that I should be grateful that I'm being inspected every 3-4 weeks so that my landlord isn't endangering my safety sounds condescending. It's like telling a tenant in a poorly maintained property that they should be grateful their rent isn't higher.

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          #5
          Originally posted by morgan335 View Post
          Imposed on them by whom? I'm curious, because at my last place none of those inspections happened in 18 months (except the agent one).
          Your landlord has their own landlord. That higher landlord also has certain rights of entry, which your landlord's lease, and most likely your lease too obliges them to comply.

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            #6
            I see, thanks. Yet am I right in thinking that this needs to be reconciled with my right to quiet enjoyment (which I am not enjoying)? Do you think it would it be reasonable/realistic for me to request that any necessary inspections be scheduled together in a two-week block, or spaced at minimum intervals of 3 months, or some other less intrusive arrangement?

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              #7
              To the extent that the superior landlord is requiring these, your landlord is unlikely to have the bargaining power to negotiate such an arrangement.

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                #8
                It sounds like they've just come all at once. If you're still getting the same issue 6 months from now then I would have a word with your landlord.

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                  #9
                  Today I have had yet another notification from the agents that due to "recent repairs" they are going to inspect all flats this Friday (22nd). No more details than that.

                  I see that the consensus here has generally been that I should put up with this, but I am at my wits' end. They are already doing their "periodic" inspection on Dec 4th, only 10 days after the 22nd. Would I be within my rights to politely refuse entry for the 22nd, explain that I understand the necessity of these visits but have been bothered by their frequency, and ask them to combine whatever checks they want to do with the upcoming inspection in 2 weeks?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You can decline entry, however you will be in breach of your lease and your landlord can take action for that breach. They cannot force you to provide entry without getting a court order.

                    You will also be putting your landlord in breach of his lease, and his landlord can take action against him. This is likely to make him want to evict you as soon as legally possible.

                    Fitting in with every sub-tenants' desires is likely to make the work significantly more expensive, and if they did this, I would expect the superior landlord to charge the excess costs to the intermediate landlords, and your might well try to charge them to you.

                    Is there any sort of association of the actual residents (residents' associations in this sort of context often end up really being associations of landlords, but it is possible that your estate has one for real residents, who might put pressure on the superior landlord to schedule jobs in a more convenient way).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I think the guy is making sure the property is safe and checking for defects. If it is a HMO (and it sounds like it is) he is required by the local authority to inspect regularly to ensure that any defects or issues are found and rectified.

                      Stopcocks
                      To make sure they are not leaking and might cause a flood or leak.
                      Sprinkler system
                      to make sure they work in the event of a fire and it might save your life.
                      fire alarms
                      As above.
                      "periodic"
                      To check for maintenance issues.

                      Given that the previous tenants seemingly did not report, he is obviously concerned that the property will decline, the list of things he has fixed and in one visit all sound great. I think there might some scope here for you to be grateful he is attempting to meet his responsibilities with regard to your safety and living quality.

                      Fitting in with every sub-tenants' desires is likely to make the work significantly more expensive, and if they did this, I would expect the superior landlord to charge the excess costs to the intermediate landlords, and your might well try to charge them to you.
                      It isn't just the cost, it is the availability, you try getting the fire alarm company, the sprinkler company, the plumber and your maintenance manager to all come on the same day. The reality is they come when they have a slot, and if you make them delay then your safety or maintenance might be compromised.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by toys19 View Post
                        It isn't just the cost, it is the availability, you try getting the fire alarm company, the sprinkler company, the plumber and your maintenance manager to all come on the same day. The reality is they come when they have a slot, and if you make them delay then your safety or maintenance might be compromised.
                        I didn't say I expected them all to come on the same day. I'd be happy enough if they came in blocks over a couple of weeks, or if there was an "inspection month" where they got everything out of the way, or any other reasonable arrangement that would be less unbearable than stringing them out in endless succession at 2-4 week intervals.

                        Like I said in response to ash72 (whose post you have basically just repeated): I *am* grateful for the many things that have been fixed. They were not all fixed in one visit though, probably 10-12 separate tradesman visits on top of the (now) 6 scheduled inspections in 4 months. I requested those 10-12 repair visits so I am not complaining about them. They do however highlight the fact that the regular inspections are not doing much to identify or prevent actual maintenance issues. You're saying I should either expect regular preventative maintenance or a poorly maintained property - yet here I am having to endure both.

                        Anyway, I'm going to go along with this latest inspection and use it as an opportunity to politely raise my concerns with the letting agent, and see what they say.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Also, just so I understand - to all those who have been talking about the landlord's landlord and possible HMOs. Do you know that the landlord has a landlord? Or are you speculating? Each flat has separate entry off the hall and is let separately. I am the sole occupant of my flat and I am not aware that what I signed was a HMO (though wouldn't be exactly sure what to look for).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Ahh speculating on my part, I though you were a room in a block with shared facilities. However what you describe flats in a block probably do come under HMO regs.
                            You don't sign a HMO - you flat is defined as a "House in Multiple Occupation" hence HMO - There is HMO legislation that will require the landlord to get a license from his local council and meet some standards - mostly safety regs but also some habitability stuff. These give him responsibilities hence the inspections.
                            It is a good thing, look on it as a positive.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It is possible that there are no long leaseholders involved. Normally, though, blocks of flats of the type you appear to describe, were built for owner occupation, and have ended up in the hands of sub-landlords in a piecemeal fashion. Building blocks exclusively for renting is a fairly new thing, at least for purpose built flats, and they tend to be much larger blocks. (Alternatively, they could have been built for council rental, then sold off, piecemeal, for owner occupation, before becoming privately rented.)

                              Whether it is legally an HMO will depend on whether or not the block was purpose built, and if not, whether the conversion was done to post -1991 building regulation standards.

                              You could also get a situation where a private landlord has bought up the individual flats piecemeal, but the original freeholder and block management are still in place.

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