Landlord Fails To Conduct Repairs And Is Fined Over Delay
A landlord in Northumberland has been fined £2,000 (GBP) by Sunderland Magistrates Court for failing to carry out rental property repairs within a reasonable timescale.
Mr Brij Bushan Chowdhry was fined £1,000 (GBP) plus £900 (GBP) costs and a £100 (GBP) victim surcharge for failing to comply with the terms of a Housing Act Improvement Notice served on one of his properties.
Complaints about the disrepair of the rental property were first made by Mr Chowdhry’s tenants back in September 2010 and the property was subsequently visited by housing officers and a list of essential repairs was passed to Mr Chowdhry, however, the repairs were not carried out.
Sunderland City Council served a formal improvement notice to Mr Chowdhry in October 2012 but he again failed to act.
Sunderland City Councillor Graeme Miller said: “We work closely with private landlords to provide them with what help and support we can to maintain their properties, but will not hesitate to take action against those who fail to do so wherever necessary. Sunderland City Council will prosecute poor landlords who fail to co-operate with us in eliminating poor standards of accommodation in our communities. All tenants have the right to expect to live in safe, secure and healthy housing and we will continue to work with private landlords to ensure that right is respected.”
This story seems very one sided, however there is little point in landlords ignoring either tenant requests for repairs or formal improvement notices served by county councils because as the above report shows, the landlord will lose. What is worse is that without repairs being done the damage will get worse and the costs to make good any damage will increase, so swift action may have a cost implication but failing to do anything will be far more expensive in the long run.
But, what if these requests were not ignored?What if the landlord had tried to make good the repairs to the rental property but the tenant refused access or repeatedly pretended to be out?
Trust me it isn’t, I have had this happen to me on numerous occasions, for what purpose I still don’t understand, but some tenants can be like that. Eventually the contractors will get fed up with no response and they deprioritise the work to put other jobs, that will pay, first.
The onus would still be on the landlord to make good the repairs but the courts would be more lenient when passing judgement and all the evidence provided by the landlord and contractors would have to be considered.
It is always a good idea to keep a record or log of what happens at each rental property, making a note of phone calls received, correspondence and dates and times of visits, so that there is always a trail to follow.
This simple yet effective method of record keeping and administration can help safeguard the livelihood of the landlord, just by showing a trail of actions.
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