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The Preacherman

Landlord Forced To Install Heating

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Landlord forced to install heating

A local authority has forced a private landlord to install central heating and insulation in the home of an 89-year-old woman.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council used powers under the Housing Act 2004 to order landlord Barbra Mountford to carry out improvements at the semi-detached bungalow she lets out to pensioner Lessie Willott in Eaves Lane, Bucknall. Mrs Willott has been dependent on a gas fire and electric heaters since 1997.

The local authority issued an improvement notice to Mrs Mountford after its inspection team reported that the house had inadequate heating to the bathroom, kitchen, living room, front bedroom and rear bedroom. The team also found that rotten single-glazing windows meant the property had inadequate installation.

Mrs Mountford launched an appeal against the order, claiming that it was "excessive" and that she did not have the money to pay for the recommended work.

An independent Residential Property Tribunal, however, has ruled in favour of the council, agreeing that the property was inadequately heated.

http://www.hvnplus.c...8615197.article

I wonder how many other landlords this could impact if local authorities start enforcing these powers.

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I also wonder what happens in the case that they come up against building regulations.

I live in a flat I rent from The National Trust, in a grade 1 listed building that was put up between 1635-38. Central heating cannot be installed, because drilling through the walls and floors to put the pipes in is banned under the listing provisions. The windows are single-pane, for the same reason. This was all explained to me when I started renting the place, and the rent is significantly below what you'd expect to pay for this sort of flat in this area, primarily for this reason. The energy bill for running the gas fire in my living room and electric fan heater in the bathroom in the winter is not nice, but I was forewarned that it came with the territory and the rent reflects it.

Therefore, what would happen if I took the trust to a Residential Property Tribunal in the same way she did? Natural justice says that I should be told that I went into this agreement with my eyes open and should live with it, but given that I pay taxes to support the lifestyles of people who live in somewhat more luxurious circumstances than I do as a result of their disinclination to fair play, part of me wonders about trying it.

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I wonder how many other landlords this could impact if local authorities start enforcing these powers.

They always have done. But they can't force any landlord to install central heating per se. Any fixed heaters capable of providing adequate heating within building regs. parameters will suffice : 'adequate' being the key word. For example, fixed wall heaters would be ok. Night storage heaters would have sufficed, but would probably have blighted the property. A good C.H. system with a 5 year guarantee (eg: Worcester boiler) would add value to the property.

And no - I'm not in the central heating business. :)

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I also wonder what happens in the case that they come up against building regulations.

I live in a flat I rent from The National Trust, in a grade 1 listed building that was put up between 1635-38. Central heating cannot be installed, because drilling through the walls and floors to put the pipes in is banned under the listing provisions.

Have you checked with your local council to see if N.T. is 'winging it' with this 'no drilling' business? I also live in a late 1600's building - the whole High Street was built around the same time, and I'm not aware of any beighbours, including myself who hasn't been able to install central heating.

Single pane glass issue - yes, except there are ways around this (secondary internal removable glazing units - very efficient too).

I suspect that your N.T. landlord is being over-fussy above and beyound the call of duty, and a bit evasive to boot. <_<

(Unless you're grade 1 listed, of course - which makes all the difference)

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Yes, the building I live in is grade 1 listed.

Completely off the topic but if you don't mind me asking, I know you live somewhere off Bootham but which buildings up there are 1600 other than St Peters?

If ofcourse you do mind just give me the finger :)

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Completely off the topic but if you don't mind me asking, I know you live somewhere off Bootham but which buildings up there are 1600 other than St Peters?

If ofcourse you do mind just give me the finger :)

For personal privacy reasons I don't want to answer publicly. See PM.

Edit: there is no way to send you a PM from clicking on your username - I presume you have this option blocked. Please send me one and I'll reply.

Edited by The Ayatollah Buggeri

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I hope this works out for the tenant. I have a horrible feeling that the year old 89 tenant will lose her home over this - either through the landlord selling up, or alternatively, doing the work as ordered and then bumping up the rent to pay for it, which may not be affordable by an 89 year old pensioner. The local authority involvement may have come from social services or carers calling for another reason and calling in the housing inspectors, rather than a complaint by the tenant, who may have lived in these conditions quite happily for years. It would be interesting to know whether the house was let with central heating which had stopped working or been condemned (ie. the real issue being a failure to repair) or whether the tenant took on the property without a heating system at all.

There are not usually any winners when any arm of the state starts interfering!

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I hope this works out for the tenant. I have a horrible feeling that the year old 89 tenant will lose her home over this - either through the landlord selling up, or alternatively, doing the work as ordered and then bumping up the rent to pay for it, which may not be affordable by an 89 year old pensioner. The local authority involvement may have come from social services or carers calling for another reason and calling in the housing inspectors, rather than a complaint by the tenant, who may have lived in these conditions quite happily for years. It would be interesting to know whether the house was let with central heating which had stopped working or been condemned (ie. the real issue being a failure to repair) or whether the tenant took on the property without a heating system at all.

There are not usually any winners when any arm of the state starts interfering!

I would have thought that the state busybodies are the winners as it keeps them in non jobs.:rolleyes:

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I hope this works out for the tenant. I have a horrible feeling that the year old 89 tenant will lose her home over this - either through the landlord selling up, or alternatively, doing the work as ordered and then bumping up the rent to pay for it, which may not be affordable by an 89 year old pensioner. The local authority involvement may have come from social services or carers calling for another reason and calling in the housing inspectors, rather than a complaint by the tenant, who may have lived in these conditions quite happily for years. It would be interesting to know whether the house was let with central heating which had stopped working or been condemned (ie. the real issue being a failure to repair) or whether the tenant took on the property without a heating system at all.

There are not usually any winners when any arm of the state starts interfering!

Moving the old lady to somewhere warmer might have been an idea but maybe she was a protected tenant?

And if the LL can't afford to do the repairs she'll have to sell and the tenant can have a new LL who will do the work required...

(Although she might get a really low price for it - if she bought before 97 she paid naff all for it anyway)

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It wasn't heating, but I know of a student house where the Llady was forced to act.

Place was a dump even by student standards - there was a mass wrong with it, inc. illegal flammable stuffing bursting out of the sofas, completely inadequate/dodgy wiring, where if you switched the oven on, the lights went out, etc. Can't remember all the rest.

However, when they asked her just to change the sofas (they'd had a fireman round to test the stuffing - he'd put a bit in a frying pan and put a match to it) - she just screamed at them - literally- and abused them down the phone.

Result, they went to the council, who found a list as long as your arm of stuff that needed doing, and gave her 6 weeks to do the lot. or else they'd do it themselves and give her the bill.

She did it.

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Only because they wanted to keep renting to the council.

If it were me, a private tenant, I'd be given the cold shoulder (excuse the pun) and possibly told to move on.

Personally, I wouldn't have moved in somewhere if it were so dire in the first place. neither should the council have rented suuch a place in the first instance.

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Moving the old lady to somewhere warmer might have been an idea but maybe she was a protected tenant?

And if the LL can't afford to do the repairs she'll have to sell and the tenant can have a new LL who will do the work required...

(Although she might get a really low price for it - if she bought before 97 she paid naff all for it anyway)

People that age hardly ever want to move, though. They so often cling to the familiar, and if they're forced to move the stress and upheaval can mark the beginning of the end. I've known of one person in late 80s who found it very stressful even coping with a different cooker with different controls.

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Moving the old lady to somewhere warmer might have been an idea but maybe she was a protected tenant?

The article says that 'Mrs Willott has been dependent on a gas fire and electric heaters since 1997", implying that either that was when she moved in (in which case that's post-1988 Housing Act, meaning that presumably she'll be on an AST), or that the central heating system has not been working since then, in which case she may be a sitting tenant under the pre-1988 legislation.

And if the LL can't afford to do the repairs she'll have to sell and the tenant can have a new LL who will do the work required...

If there's a sitting tenant in place, good luck trying to sell it! Some time last year I noticed a terraced two-up, two down in a York suburb being advertised with an asking price of £70k in the local rag: those houses typically go for double that. Reading the small print, I discovered the reason why: there was a sitting tenant in place, meaning that until they die or move out voluntarily, the new owner is required to continue letting the place to them at way below the going rate for a new AST signed now. In some circumstances, they can also pass the tenancy on to their offspring, too.

I don't know what the end game is if the LL can't afford the repairs and can't sell the place either.

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Have you checked with your local council to see if N.T. is 'winging it' with this 'no drilling' business? I also live in a late 1600's building - the whole High Street was built around the same time, and I'm not aware of any beighbours, including myself who hasn't been able to install central heating.

Single pane glass issue - yes, except there are ways around this (secondary internal removable glazing units - very efficient too).

I suspect that your N.T. landlord is being over-fussy above and beyound the call of duty, and a bit evasive to boot. <_<

(Unless you're grade 1 listed, of course - which makes all the difference)

He did say that it was Grade 1.

But the point is that the NT are wearing two hats here.

Firstly they are the LL renting out the flat to produce income (or more likely to avoid the expense of keeping it empty),

But they are also the main player in the Heritage "industry" and the guidelines that planning authorities use to decide whether listed buildings should be allowed to e.g. have DG installed for the benefit of the occupants, are influenced by them based upon their (IMHO) prejudiced views of what is right and wrong for heritage properties.

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If there's a sitting tenant in place, good luck trying to sell it! Some time last year I noticed a terraced two-up, two down in a York suburb being advertised with an asking price of £70k in the local rag: those houses typically go for double that. Reading the small print, I discovered the reason why: there was a sitting tenant in place, meaning that until they die or move out voluntarily, the new owner is required to continue letting the place to them at way below the going rate for a new AST signed now. In some circumstances, they can also pass the tenancy on to their offspring, too.

I don't know what the end game is if the LL can't afford the repairs and can't sell the place either.

According to Allsopps latest auction results, regulated tenancies go at a yield of 4-5%:

PrRegulated 23 22 95.7 4.1 % £178,310

Assured Shorthold 49 35 71.4 8.62 % £206,779

Ground Rents (80 yrs+) 8 7 87.5 5.85 % £14,571

Sites with PP 5 4 80 - £682,500

Sites without PP 10 9 90 - £48,000

(sorry formatting lost but I'm sure you're capable of finding the original!)

Edited by cartimandua51

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I can only assume that the landlord lets the place out to the council on a 5 or 10 year guaranteed tenancy, who then in turn provide the home to the 89 year old pensioner in receipt of LHA.

Fair play to the council for getting their money's worth from this scumlord.

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I hope this works out for the tenant. I have a horrible feeling that the year old 89 tenant will lose her home over this - either through the landlord selling up, or alternatively, doing the work as ordered and then bumping up the rent to pay for it, which may not be affordable by an 89 year old pensioner.

She is almost certainly a protected tenant on a stupidly low "fair" rent.

This will be the reason that the LL has made no improvements to the property

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She is almost certainly a protected tenant on a stupidly low "fair" rent.

This will be the reason that the LL has made no improvements to the property

With only the scant details to hand, I'm inclined to disagree.

http://www.iigloo.co...-news&Itemid=66

This article states that the bungalow was the landlords former home. Also, in order to be a protected tenant, she would have had to have started the tenancy before at least 1988, where as hers started in 1997.

If she was on an AST, I'm sure the landlord would have booted her out by now. My gut feeling is the scenario I posted above, hence the landlord being forced to complete the work.

As an aside, I'm appaled at the shockingly vague journalism at play here. As If I was a journalist, establishing the pensioners tenancy agreement would have been one of the first things on my list of questions.

Edited by bomberbrown

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With only the scant details to hand, I'm inclined to disagree.

http://www.iigloo.co...-news&Itemid=66

This article states that the bungalow was the landlords former home. Also, in order to be a protected tenant, she would have had to have started the tenancy before at least 1988, where as hers started in 1997.

If she was on an AST, I'm sure the landlord would have booted her out by now. My gut feeling is the scenario I posted above, hence the landlord being forced to complete the work.

As an aside, I'm appaled at the shockingly vague journalism at play here. As If I was a journalist, establishing the pensioners tenancy agreement would have been one of the first things on my list of questions.

That would be cutting her nose off to spite her face as the Improvement Notice would remain in force. Once its compliance date had passed, if relet she could be prosecuted and the Council could do the works in default and put a charge on the property plus charge their reasonable expenses.

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With only the scant details to hand, I'm inclined to disagree.

http://www.iigloo.co...-news&Itemid=66

This article states that the bungalow was the landlords former home. Also, in order to be a protected tenant, she would have had to have started the tenancy before at least 1988, where as hers started in 1997.

If she was on an AST, I'm sure the landlord would have booted her out by now. My gut feeling is the scenario I posted above, hence the landlord being forced to complete the work.

As an aside, I'm appaled at the shockingly vague journalism at play here. As If I was a journalist, establishing the pensioners tenancy agreement would have been one of the first things on my list of questions.

Agreed, as is the assumption that complying with a ruling to ensure that each room can be heated equals "must install central heating".

20 quid wall mounted panel heaters in each room would suffice.

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Agreed, as is the assumption that complying with a ruling to ensure that each room can be heated equals "must install central heating".

20 quid wall mounted panel heaters in each room would suffice.

Absolutely. H & V News reporting seems to be equivalent to Daily Mail standards of journalism. My local rag does a better job.

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