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Forcing owners to maintain property

Forcing owners to maintain property

We are frequently asked by landlords can other owners be forced to maintain their property. One common issue is where persistent leaks from one property cause water ingress and damage to another. This can be where one or both of the properties are being let.

Unfortunately, landlords in this situation are limited in what they can do to prevent further leaks arising. You can put pressure on the owner to carry out repairs swiftly and by a qualified contractor. However, often repairs aren't carried out at all, or to a satisfactory standard, and the issues simply re-occur. Where the property, which is the source of the leak, is rented out the tenant has the right to refer such an issue to the Private Rented Housing Panel, but not the landlord as the suffering neighbouring owner.

If you have suffered financial loss as a result of such leaks, then you could seek to recover your loss by raising a court action against the other owner. You also have to ensure that your own property continues to meet the Repairing Standard at all times during the lease.

If the issue persists and the owner concerned fails to take the necessary action, where the property is being rented out, you should contact the Local Authority's landlord registration team to report your concerns. If the owner is not registered, this will alert the Local Authority to this fact. If they are registered, your complaints could be investigated further, and may have a bearing on their fit and proper status. However, the reality is that Local Authority resourcing can often play a part in terms of what action they will actually take. Whilst it can take time for the Local Authority to build a case, where the issue is persistent it is important that the Local Authority is kept informed throughout.

Local Authorities also have powers to carry out enforcement measures where there is deemed to be a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. In certain circumstances, they have the power to force entry to premises to inspect. Where there is deemed to be a nuisance, a Statutory Notice can be served on the owner to require the abatement of the nuisance. Failure to comply with a notice may result in criminal proceedings being brought against the owner concerned.

If you wish to discuss any of this further, please contact the Letlaw team.

1 Tenancy Deposit Scheme

 

Written by : Super User