Who has legal liability for safety of premises?

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    #16
    Originally posted by Sad S View Post
    Not quite. Some authorities will give oral permission to replace windows in a conservation area, providing the contractor doing the work is FENSA registered. [Such a contractor would lose FENSA registration if the work was not an (apparently) identical replacement].
    ...which is, in practical terms, the same as having to have external authorisation for the type of replacement used, isn't it?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      #17
      Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
      I have rarely been more sure that anyone on LLZ has been wrong about something!

      In a conservation area you will almost certainly need permission to replace original windows, even if they are rotting. There will be approved styles for the type of house. You may be required to replace the ones you have put in with something more in character with the property. (Someone in our village did - it cost them a fortune in legal fees and new windows).

      AND RIGHTLY SO!!!!!!!
      I say that because when we recently replaced our 4 by 3 pane exposed box sashed sliding windows in a conservation area, we obtained a letter from the conservation officer of the lpa stating that replacement of the windows "like for like" ( ie. of similar appearance and not UPVC, and with a similar lambs tongue glazing bar) constituted permitted development as there was no Article IV direction in force.

      I have placed the letter in the relevant legal folder together with some photos of the old rotten windows. The installer even used the brass fittings from the old rotten windows.

      When I researched the point at the time I was told that policy varies from area to area and depends primarily on Article IV direction.

      I don't know what windows the OP previously had but the indications are that they were hinged (and not sashed) and they were replaced with wood (not UPVC) windows. It may not be as big a problem as the OP believes and should not of itself be the guiding factor in deciding whether a dangerous balcony should be replaced.

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        #18
        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
        ...which is, in practical terms, the same as having to have external authorisation for the type of replacement used, isn't it?
        Not it's not the same.

        In practical terms, there is a difference between
        - making an enquiry and getting an OK on the phone and
        - having to submit a written application for conservation area consent, and then waiting some time for it to be considered before written consent is given; and possibly going through the process again if consent is witheld for some reason.

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          #19
          Originally posted by Sad S View Post
          Not it's not the same.

          In practical terms, there is a difference between
          - making an enquiry and getting an OK on the phone and
          - having to submit a written application for conservation area consent, and then waiting some time for it to be considered before written consent is given; and possibly going through the process again if consent is witheld for some reason.
          I see what you mean. But in principle, the degree of freedom (or otherwise) allowed to the property owner to change the style of the windows is effectively the same. It means people cannot just go round sticking uPVC picture windows in place of original Victorian sashes.

          For which, let joy be unconfined.
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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            #20
            Who has legal liability for safety of premises?

            hello all,

            sorry, hope this is not a stoopid question, I am new to all of this still

            We're planning to rent out our flat, and we're intending to use a lettings agent to save us some hassle. I'm just wondering, is the LA then technically the landlord, and does the LA then take on any legal liabilities that might arise if a tenant had an accident on the property?

            (My problem, as I have mentioned in other posts, is an unsafe balcony railing. Not as easy to get it fixed as I would have thought at first... long story)

            any advice appreciated
            thanks
            Confused1234

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              #21
              You own the leasehold flat, so you are L who's subletting. The Letting Agent is merely your representative; the buck stops with you!
              All being well, public liability is covered by the block insurance policy (but you yourself should obtain Legal Expenses Insurance too).
              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).

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                #22
                Thanks jeffrey

                The block has got insurance which I presume includes public liability. However, because the balcony railing is unsafe (it is too low, for a start), then insurance wouldn't cover us if there were an accident - is that correct?

                here's another detail. So there are 8 flats in the building (Victorian detached house), of which 7 of us have share of freehold. We have SOF for our flat.

                The balcony in question is attached to our flat, and only accessible by our flat, BUT it is not owned privately by us... by some strange anomaly, it belongs to the whole house, rather than just to our flat.

                So again, if a tenant living in our flat were to fall off the balcony, would the 7 freeholders be liable, or would it just be us as landlords?

                Grateful for any advice
                thanks
                confused

                Comment


                  #23
                  To answer all of those questions, read the policy (inc. the small print)!
                  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


                    #24
                    Insurance and Criminal Liability

                    Pet hate, sorry you do NOT have "sof" for your flat. You and others jointly own the freehold, but you and they are still a leaseholder of each flat. I am not lecturing (ok just a bit ) but the distinction is very important to the answer. I will deal with insurance at the end.

                    1: Fix the handrail......!

                    2: If the balcony is not demised in your lease,( or formalised a claim for its exclusive use) then you cannot grant right to a tenant to use it, so the issue should not arise. In the short term tell them not to use the area or too keep well away from the handrail, post signs and a yellow hazard line.

                    3: While the tenant is effectively a trespasser, the freeholders are obligated to ensure that any part of the property is safe for any user, authorised or not, person or workman.

                    As freeholder you are required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and in particular the 1999 regs, as well as the Fire Safety order etc 2005 to assess health and safety and on the railing as the question, is it safe or not?

                    While insurance may indemnify you, failure to do the above can lead to criminal penalties, which an insurer may not cover, and in the case of the Fire risk assessment, may void the policy all together. Think what happens to your car insurance if you do not comply with the law and drink and drive...You are now aware as leaseholder and as freeholder of a potential risk. If the tenant were to fall this would start with the arrest of you and your fellow freeholders. I have seen that happen, however having complied with the above, it was the persons own fault and no charges could be brought.

                    so 1 fix the handrail 2 have the balcony included in your lease 3 find a local firm to carry out a combined health and safety workplace and Fire Risk Assessment carried out- whether you fix it or not.

                    Happy to help with clarification.
                    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Insurance is a very fickle thing, so check everything and re-check it. Its a bit like your car insurance - I think you are covered so long as your car is in a roadworthy condition. However, your car insurance may not be valid if you had an accident and the car was proved to be faulty, and that contributed to the accident.

                      As you know there is a risk with the balcony, you may be wise getting a clause put in your tenancy that the T uses the area at their own risk, otherwise the insurance might not be too happy of they sent out an assessor in the event of an injury and discovered the balcony rail was substandard.

                      I'm not an expert where law is concerned, but I have come across problems with insurance companies, who do anything they can to wriggle out of paying a claim and will no doubt argue that the balcony was unsafe and therefore not their responsibilty.

                      Just my views. Speak to your LA for advice on it, as they will no doubt be drawing up the TA for you.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        This is all subject to you finding a letting agent who will take the property with this hazard. Most Agents carry out a hazard assessment prior to letting a property and this is certainly something that would not pass to our books.

                        A letting agent would be classed as negligent to avoid this, knowing full well that a tenant could for example trip or fall over the side or a child could look to investigate etc. I suppose you wont know which way the tenant will take it until you have problem.

                        Could you not fit a Juliette style balcony to the external wall - which would avoid the need to repair the existing balcony but ensure that the the tenant can still ventilate the property.

                        They don't cost the earth and can be made to measure

                        http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgur...1t:429,r:1,s:0

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by Springfields View Post
                          This is all subject to you finding a letting agent who will take the property with this hazard. Most Agents carry out a hazard assessment prior to letting a property and this is certainly something that would not pass to our books.

                          A letting agent would be classed as negligent to avoid this, knowing full well that a tenant could for example trip or fall over the side or a child could look to investigate etc. I suppose you wont know which way the tenant will take it until you have problem.

                          Could you not fit a Juliette style balcony to the external wall - which would avoid the need to repair the existing balcony but ensure that the the tenant can still ventilate the property.

                          They don't cost the earth and can be made to measure
                          Springfeilds is right "Belt and braces yes fix the handrail" however the OP has touched on a much wider liability as a joint freeholder of the block and that this area is not demised to him in the lease.
                          Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                            Springfeilds is right "Belt and braces yes fix the handrail" however the OP has touched on a much wider liability as a joint freeholder of the block and that this area is not demised to him in the lease.
                            Yes however to let the property knowing full well this is an issue is hardly displaying a duty of care to the TT, at this present time if the balcony did not exist then his French doors would open to a drop and I assume LL owns the exit point.

                            The only other sensible option is to wait until a agreement can be made to improve the original.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by Springfields View Post
                              Yes however to let the property knowing full well this is an issue is hardly displaying a duty of care to the TT, at this present time if the balcony did not exist then his French doors would open to a drop and I assume LL owns the exit point.

                              The only other sensible option is to wait until a agreement can be made to improve the original.
                              These issues I covered in the earlier post, as they the SOF are failing in their duty to leaseholder and he to his tenant. As it is within his power and liability as leaseholder and joint freeholder he can and should act directly whether let offered to let or vacant.
                              Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Three more threads by the same member have been merged here. Please do not start a new thread if you merely wish to continue a previous discussion or report on subsequent developments. It can cause unnecessary confusion (quite apart from losing the connection with facts previously established or legal points previously explained).

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