Jump to content

Council inspection on private property?????


Recommended Posts

I have had tenants for over 3 years who left my property 3rd August 2011. They paid up their council tax. I had a letter to the property acknowledging it was vacant, advising me to inform them if the situation was otherwise. This week I receive a letter from them to my home, telling me how Doncaster council are committed and have developed an "empty property strategy", bringing privately owned empty properties back into use - it's only been empty a month!!! The letter also offers help with tenant finding. So, out of courtesy I dropped them an email, informing them I have a letting agent working on my behalf and therefore don't expect it to be vacant long, the property is in good condition and is regularly checked. I closed the email by saying I'd let them know as soon as I have new tenants.

I then get an email back from this woman from the housing standards saying she'd "like" to come and view my property and check for Cat 1 hazards as detailed in the 2004 housing act????? She went on to say as I don't have tenants at the moments this will be informal but she will need to see a gas satfety cert and electrical safety cert before I can let my property??? - I am really struggling with this - I have nothing to hide but what on earth has is got to do with her? It's private property! They weren't interested when my last tenants were in! Other thing, I pay my agent for annual gas cert, but an electrical cert isn't a legal requirement is it? Can I just tell this council woman where to go or what? LOL

Many thanks in advance for any advice offered

Lucy

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also totally amazed and your local council's approach. There seems to be X4 options......

1. Do nothing just ignore all communication. Carry on with having your agent find suitable tenants.

2. Comply with their request.

3. Just say NO.

4. Agree to their request but charge for your time & effort. Make the charge fairly substantially say £250 ish. After all, this is a business you are running, your time is valuable.

Chances are they are not going to find any issues/ problems.

To comply with legislation .......assuming it is not an HMO you do of course need

* An EPC cert and

* A gas safety cert (only if there is gas).

* You don't legally require an electrical cert but you are responsible for ensuring all electrical installations/ appliances are safe.

* Plus furnishings have to comply with fire safety.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide and how you get on.

I tend to view EVERY problem as an opportunity to make a profit.....so I'd go for option No4 if it were me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also totally amazed and your local council's approach. There seems to be X4 options......

1. Do nothing just ignore all communication. Carry on with having your agent find suitable tenants.

2. Comply with their request.

3. Just say NO.

4. Agree to their request but charge for your time & effort. Make the charge fairly substantially say £250 ish. After all, this is a business you are running, your time is valuable.

Chances are they are not going to find any issues/ problems.

To comply with legislation .......assuming it is not an HMO you do of course need

* An EPC cert and

* A gas safety cert (only if there is gas).

* You don't legally require an electrical cert but you are responsible for ensuring all electrical installations/ appliances are safe.

* Plus furnishings have to comply with fire safety.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide and how you get on.

I tend to view EVERY problem as an opportunity to make a profit.....so I'd go for option No4 if it were me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't believe you have to let them visit. I think they have too much time on their hands.

But you could look at it other way way. Get her out to check for hazards as you may have missed something which could save you grief if picked up now. I don't know if you have tenants on benefits but if so there is a good chance the council will check the property anyway and any tenant could call out the council to check the property if they requested.

Regarding gas certs you have nothing to lose by showing it to them.

ON ANOTHER NOTE.

I have a old listed terraced property which I rent out and the stairs don't have a landing but go right up to the 2 doors of the upstairs bedrooms. My council put a cat 1 hazard on it and wanted the stairs moved. But as it was a listed building and the whole property would have to be redesigned so it wasn't possible. The council wouldn't allow the benefit guy and his 14 year old daughter move in because there was a risk that they would come out of the bedroom and fall down the stairs. I even got them to sign a disclaimer to acknowledge the risk and wouldn't hold the council at fault if there was a accident but the council wouldn't have it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucy......You are under no obligation to show any Council employee anything unless a complaint has been made by your tenant against the Landlord.....ie. there is no gas certificate/hazards/damp etc.

If you have an HMO then the rules are different of course.

This does smack of Big Brother Interference by a Jobs Worth council employee.

The only time these inspections are necessary are when you are renting your property to the Local Council and not if you are a private landlord.

Mel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is too much onus put on us to be correct and no assistance or guidance toward it.

I would request her to detail the legislation that causes you to have obligation to comply,

I would request why she requests sight of the electrical cert when there is no legal requirement to have one.

I am assuming here that your property does not come under 'selective licencing' as the council would already have all these certs on file, but it may be that it has just come your time for an inspection which is a part of the licencing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if you are a private landlord the council will still inspect property if the tenant is on housing benefit and going to receive 1st months rent advance and council deposit bond.

Well they do in my area.

That's a true fact Gramps but in Lucy's case she hasn't even got a tenant. Was Lucy's last tenant on housing benefit? We don't know that as yet?

The empty property legistlation has no legal right as of 2011 but it was and still is a proposal put forward by the last Government whereby empty properties could be taken over by the local council.......but not after 1 month I should add.

If it was me I wouldn't even be bothered to reply even more so as I don't ever do DSS tenancies nor would I.

Edit: Here you go..........2006

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/moneybox/5112926.stm

Mel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks heaps for all your advice, I'm really grateful for the feedback! I' a bit of an amateur at this to be honest, I only have the one property - this was where I lived before I moved in with my partner 4 years ago. I got in touch with a letting agent and they found me a tenant straight away and they have been in the house till this August. They were private tenants as I have specifically specified to my agent I don't want DSS. My house is not advertised or open to DSS and I would never entertain HMO either.

I think that basically, because I'm quite an organised person the fact that I have contacted the council in reply to their letter this has just drawn attention to me. This was the email I had from the council:

I would like to thank you for your response to my letter and it very encouraging to know that you are keen to let your property and it is to a good standard.

The approach Doncaster Council are taking towards returning empty properties back into use is very proactive and ensuring that the properties are to a standard in line with the Housing Act 2004 is a further priority for us. I am currently inspecting all empty properties within Mexborough to ensure that the accommodation is free from Cat 1 Hazards as specified in the Housing Act 2004. This not only ensures that potential tenants are safe, but it also enables us to keep a register of all properties inspected and to involve owners in our landlord forums, market event days and landlord fairs.

I would like to inspect the above premises as soon as you are able to facilitate this and would appreciate it if you could contact me on the telephone number below. The inspection is not formal due to the property being empty, however prior to let, we do need to see a copy of the gas safety certificate and an electrical certificate.

I notice that you are struggling to find suitable tenants and although I appreciate that you have employed a letting agent to carry out this task, we do have services that may be able to assist you in finding a suitable tenant,.

If you require any further advice or assistance then please do not hesitate to contact me on the telephone number below. Our work is important to us and we do wish to assist as many owners in returning their properties back into use.

I look forward to hearing from you

I think my mistake was responding in the first place!

Could I really charge the council for inspecting my property? LOL I'd LOVE that - thing is - I have absolutely nothing to hide, but I work full time and we are currently in the process of moving house, which has been a nightmare and I just don't need unnecessary stress! I'd have to take time off work, which is a pain in the @rse and I just don't see why I should - it's a private tenancy and I'll never have council tenants! I'm quite prepared to tell her plain and simply 'where to go', but if I am obliged in any way I don't wanna ruffle her feathers as I don't want any backlash due to being difficult. A friend of mine, who's sister works for the council says they now have rights to 'police propertys', which I find ridiculous!

My agent bills me annually for the gas safety certificate and boiler check, but I didn't know I had to have a EPC - how can I get this done and how much is it gonna cost me? The house is unfurnished so no probs with fire regs. I guess my only concern about my property would be the steepness of the staircase, it's an old terrace property, but it does have a landing?

Melboy - "This does smack of Big Brother Interference by a Jobs Worth council employee." - LOVE this! haha, my thoughts exactly!

Cor - I had thought about asking her to detail the legislation that causes me to have obligation to comply and with regards to the elec cert - this makes me think she's wanting to inspect so that she can suggest tenants and I'm not interested! I have no idea what 'selective licensing' is so I'm presuming this doesn't apply?

Richlist - If I bill them and it's successful I'll paypal you £50 for your advice!!!

Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate this!

Lucy

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest caravanj

That's a true fact Gramps but in Lucy's case she hasn't even got a tenant. Was Lucy's last tenant on housing benefit? We don't know that as yet?

The empty property legistlation has no legal right as of 2011 but it was and still is a proposal put forward by the last Government whereby empty properties could be taken over by the local council.......but not after 1 month I should add.

If it was me I wouldn't even be bothered to reply even more so as I don't ever do DSS tenancies nor would I.

Edit: Here you go..........2006

http://news.bbc.co.u...box/5112926.stm

Mel.

If I choose to leave a property empty then what's it got to do with the council or anyone else!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest caravanj

My agent bills me annually for the gas safety certificate and boiler check, but I didn't know I had to have a EPC - how can I get this done and how much is it gonna cost me? The house is unfurnished so no probs with fire regs. I guess my only concern about my property would be the steepness of the staircase, it's an old terrace property, but it does have a landing?

An EPC will cost around £40. Regarding the pitch of the staircase I would advise you to have a bannister rail fitted at both sides of the stairs.

I don't understand the problem surrounding not having a landing becauseI have a brand new large 4 bedroom house with a gallery landing but even so when you step out from the master bedroon you're immediately level with where the stairs joins the landing so the landing is meaningless at that point. It just smacks of nit-picking HSE.

All early 1900's terraced houses will fail the current building regs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I choose to leave a property empty then what's it got to do with the council or anyone else!!

That's what you get when you get a meddling Labour Government and especially brain dead 2 Jags Prescott in charge of affairs.

Everything they touched was stealth tax raising and the only good thing the Tories have done so far was to scrap the pointless home information packs. EPC's of course were an EU directive to the UK Government. I wonder if the French are conforming?

As an aside to landord's forum I have lost my V5 logbook for my car which I am selling.....can't find it anywhere searched high and low for it. So I contacted DVLC on Friday to be told it will cost me a whopping £25 to send me a duplicate within 4 days or 6 weeks if I write to them a covering letter to say it is lost. Hardly good value for money, just another rip-off for the motorist again.

Mel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As an aside to landord's forum I have lost my V5 logbook for my car which I am selling.....can't find it anywhere searched high and low for it. So I contacted DVLC on Friday to be told it will cost me a whopping £25 to send me a duplicate within 4 days or 6 weeks if I write to them a covering letter to say it is lost. Hardly good value for money, just another rip-off for the motorist again.

Mel.

I dont think you have to pay if you say you never had one when you brought the car or if you have a second address you can use just say you have moved and get one for free.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Still off topic,

Be careful of telling the DVLA you have moved, a seller of a car to me was fined £100 for failing to inform them of his new address,

in fact he registered the car at his business address at purchase but gave his home address at sale.

On topic Councils have been able to compulsory purchase properties for years, I bought such in 1995 (ish) it had been empty and untouched for 14 years though.

The alternative is squatters so it seems.

The council here are being Stalinist, as there are strange legislations that we learn of at our cost asking what legislative rights the council have for this inspection has intelligence.

No right, no inspection, just tooooo busy.

Mel- it used to be that a car buyer with proof of purchase could apply for his V5, in fact I'm sure anyone could apply for a V5 as it's not proof of ownership just 'registered keeper', trouble is a buyer might be reluctant to buy without a V5.

Are you aware of recent legislation that says if a car is taxed it must be insured, regardless of if it's kept of road? Probably doesn't concern you but interesting to be aware. Just more of the black leather boot brigade stomping us down.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mel- it used to be that a car buyer with proof of purchase could apply for his V5, in fact I'm sure anyone could apply for a V5 as it's not proof of ownership just 'registered keeper', trouble is a buyer might be reluctant to buy without a V5.

Are you aware of recent legislation that says if a car is taxed it must be insured, regardless of if it's kept of road? Probably doesn't concern you but interesting to be aware. Just more of the black leather boot brigade stomping us down.

Yes it is all insured and taxed etc. it was just as I came to the selling bit I could not find my V5. Buyer is quite relaxed about it all and is waiting for the new V5 to arrive to me so we can complete the changeover of owners.

I have my original bill of sale to me from my garage and an honest face so the buyer wasn't concerned about ownership etc.

I have had a personal conversation with DVLC type person and they said V5 will be here with me by Wednesday and in any event any problem always write a letter of explanation to them to avoid any fines in the future.

Honest Mel.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 years later...

Straight talk. From my experience I requested as a tenant to inspect the house I rent privately. 

 

For the following reasons. We smelt gas and asked gas board to come out they checked and said all is good but you need your gas heater serviced. I called the letting agents and guess what he came and blew at the gas fire and said it's all sorted.  What a wanker. Then I had paint flaking off the ceiling and he wouldn't come out to fix it just said someone is coming next week it's booked in. Nobody ever turned up. So for this reason I got sick and tired of wasting my time I thought let the council come and put pressure on him. It's 20 per charge per fault found and 7 days to fix. So as a tenant it's in my favour. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The gas room heater would be part of the annual gas safety check and annual servicing so it should be listed & registered on the gas safety certificate.

Any person would be right to call the gas safety people out for a gas supply check if they smelt gas. I have never heard of any such cases whereby the gas is not shut off if there is a problem with the gas supply.

It is then up to the tenant/landlord/property owner to call in a gas safe engineer to determine where the fault is......if there is a fault before the gas supply can be restored to the property and signed off as safe.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...