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Question

England | Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) | Responsibilities and Liabilities (England)

HHSRS inspection and obligations.

14 Sep 2021 | 4 comments

Dear Guildy

Tenant in property 17 years, on periodic tenancy. My tenant has complained to the local authority regarding my property. Local authority have carried out an ‘informal assessment’ and outlined various hazards – only one is to be ‘actioned immediately’ and I was already aware of this, and was in the process of having it rectified anyway.

With regard to the other observations, I would just like to clarify a few of points –

1/ The local authority agent has asked for up to date copies of Gas and Electrical safety certificates. Gas is carried out every year, so not a problem. However, with regard to the electricity, I had complete upgrade of the fuse board to a modern consumer unit 5 years and 2 months ago (July 2016). The local authority have asked for an electrical certificate not more than 5 years old, but on my Domestic Electrical Installation Certificate the installer recommends ‘that this installation is further inspected and tested after an interval of not more than 8 years’. Should I therefore have arranged for a new inspection to have been carried out before the 5 years was up?

2/ The local authority agent has noted ‘Excess Cold’ due to single glazed wooden windows at front of property. I have an original wooden framed single glazed bay window, which is a feature of the property. Am I obliged to change this to double glazing?  The property has gas central heating throughout.

3/ The local authority agent has said that my ‘tenant has mentioned other matters , which would not require attention, but worthwhile bringing to my attention’, one of which is ‘redecoration of all rooms within the property’.  Is this something that concerns the local authority?  I have ongoing problems with the state of the interior of the property due to the way my tenant chooses to live, and as a result any redecorating would probably be a waste of money. I also have major problems finding workmen to carry out any work within the property – many of them have told me that they are reluctant to come back as the working conditions are not pleasant.

4/ My tenant is on a periodic tenancy since 2012 as she was in rent arrears on many occasions. The local authority agent questioned me as to why she was on a periodic tenancy. Is this something that concerns the local authority?

Thanks in advance.

 

Answer

4 Comments

  1. guildy

    Firstly, it sounds like the council have been very reasonable so far and it’s good to see an informal letter first.

    We answer in order:

    1. The electrical report needs obtaining with urgency because (a) it’s probably not a report under 18th edition so of no use under the new rules and in any event (b) it’s more than 5 years old. You must provide a copy to the local authority straight away when you get it because they have now requested.

    Please see this page for full details.

    1. The council could insist and require double glazing technically under excess cold category. Whether they will choose to enforce this is difficult to know.

    2. Redecoration is not a landlords duty nor a category under HHSRS. It may be worth checking the terms of the tenancy agreement as it might require the tenant to redecorate in any event.

    3. Periodic tenancy is not of concern to the authority. In fact as a general rule, we recommend leaving a tenancy periodic forever (rather than doing renewals constantly).

  2. sambam47180

    Brilliant, thanks for the speedy response.
    I’ve gone back to the electrical contractor who carried out the work to ask if he can deal with the electrical certificate. If he’s unable to do it quickly, can any registered electrician carry out the inspection and provide a certificate?
    With regard to the other issues, thanks for the advice. I’ll check the original contract with regard to the decorating.

    As I mentioned, the interior of my property is extremely untidy and fairly dirty, which makes it difficult for me to find workmen that will come back to the property.
    Do I have any rights with regards to this, such as reporting the issue to environmental health?
    Does my tenant have obligations with regards to the way she keeps the inside of the property.
    Thanks again.
    Regards
    Samantha Bennett-Lewis

  3. guildy

    Any qualified electrician is fine.

    In reality, it’s difficult to enforce how clean a tenant lives. The local authority won’t be interested unless it was something exceptional.

    The only realistic way to do anything if it were really bad and perhaps damage being caused is to serve a possession notice (usually a.21 for this kind of scenario).

  4. sambam47180

    Great, thank you. Extremely helpful, as always.

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