Who has legal liability for safety of premises?

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  • leaseholdanswers
    replied
    Originally posted by Moderator View Post
    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).
    Or if the OP does not like the answers then say so and contributers will try to explain.

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  • jta
    replied
    Either fit a normal window or change it to a Juliette balcony as suggested.

    You did not answer the question as to whether this was the top of a bay window belonging to the flat downstairs.

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  • sparrow
    replied
    Confused1234 what is it you are actually getting at with your last question re reponsibility for the balcony? Are you hoping that the other freeholders are responsible in order to be able spread the risk of being sued for negligence in the event of a claim arising from an accident or are you hoping that they will stump up some of the cost of the repairs?

    I don't get it. This is a balcony to which residents of your flat only have access and you openly admit that it is dangerous. You either pay to get the problem sorted so it complies with current safety regulations or you completely prevent tenants from using it; in my mind that would require something more than removing the key or putting a sign up.

    I would be of the opinion that if you would even consider renting out a flat on the 3rd floor with a balcony in this state then maybe being a landlord is not for you. I urge you to put your hand into your pocket to prevent an accident rather than trying to apportion blame to others in the event of one happening. Someone could be severely injured or killed by a fall from such a height and you are in a position to be able to massively reduce the risk of this happening. My advice would be either not to let the property or treat this as a business and do the necessary. In the long run you should make your money back.

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  • Moderator1
    replied
    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).

    Leave a comment:


  • leaseholdanswers
    replied
    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.

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  • Springfields
    replied
    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.

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  • leaseholdanswers
    replied
    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.

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  • Springfields
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • LesleyAnne
    replied
    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.

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  • leaseholdanswers
    replied
    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.

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  • jeffrey
    replied
    To answer all of those questions, read the policy (inc. the small print)!

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  • Confused1234
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffrey
    replied
    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).

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  • Confused1234
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • mind the gap
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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