Private tenant, knackered Driveway

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Toland, Jan 5, 2013.

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  1. I privately rent a property which can only be described as a tad shabby. Solid walls, Crittal windows( nice and metal for maximum heat loss) and a damp problem which results in the near constant use of a dehumidifier in the winter.
    However the rent is below market and in the summer the substanstial garden and country location make up for it.

    However, I have a problem with the driveway that is getting pretty dire. It is so full of ruts and holes that I had to trade in my nice Golf for a 4X4 to cope, actually I just decided to get a 4x4 so I fit in better with the neighbours! but I would definitely bottom out bits of bodywork on my old car.
    I think it used to be tarmaced but now is just stones and mud.
    What I want to know is where do I stand on getting my landlord to repair this drive. He is not well known for being generous, once offered us a fire damaged radiator ( with melted thermostatic control to put in one of the radiator free rooms in our house.)

    I have looked online for some idea but thought I would post this question amongst the elite and always knowledgeble Arrse members

  2. Make an appointment with CAB (Citizens Advice Bureax) they will advise, and it's free.
  3. Look at your tenancy agreement, does it mention anything about landlords' responsibility as regards 'Driveway Upkeep' ?
  4. Dont think we have anything like a tenancy agreement, other than mandatory tenants rights I imagine. My wife has lived in the property for 15 plus years and for most of that has not had a contract of any sort.
    Only when we married did the landlord manage to con us out of 50 quid to renew the " contract", put the rent up 50 quid too as we were now married.
  5. Right, this is what you can do...

    Contact Environmental Health at your local Council. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) under the Housing Act 2004 applies to all dwellings whether rented or not. An EHO will visit and asses the place against 29 hazards. These range from excess cold to entry by intruders. It covers access and egress to the dwelling too - so the hazard "falls on the level" will apply to your drive. Each hazard will be scored, and if it is a Category 1 hazard, by law the Council will have to require the landlord to remedy the hazard, and if its a Category 2 hazard, the Council should require the landlord to take action. Bear in mind the current occupant is not taken into consideration, but the most at risk potential future occupant is - so in the case of your drive it will be an elderly person that is not steady on their feet.

    There is no cost to you in any of this as you rent. The EHO will look at all hazards, so I'm sure others will be found. It may of course cause some problems between you and the landlord - but then you can contact the EHO again if you get harassed or pressured to leave as they deal with that too. The action will be in the form of a notice to the landlord, probably an Improvement Notice in the case of your drive. If the landlord fails to comply with the notice he commits a criminal offence and it also allows the Council to do the work and to charge the costs back.

    Let me know if you need any more advice.
  6. CAB is your best choice.
  7. That's if you can get an appointment, get there well before they open.
  8. Don't be too surprised if your landlord get the place "Assessed for Fair Rent" and you find yourselves paying double afterwards. Alternativley as you've been there for some time, do you know how you stand under the Right-to-buy? Might well be worthwhile looking into it.
  9. Scavenger, thanks for that info, will follow up your advice.
    I have one issue- could the landlord end our tenancy because I dared have the audacity to get a problem resolved without continuing to try and get him off his fairly lazy behind.
    Had one issue before- badly blocked drains repaired at our cost by a well known drain cleaning company only for him, to have a pink fit that we didn't let him resolve this issue. He had been informed many times but chose to ignore it.
    He then demanded that said company billed him, he refunded us but I imagine there was some sort of financial gain for him
  10. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    Start sending him huge bills for vehicle repairs as a private road he is liable IIRC

    The landlord is obligated to repair the structure of the property including the roof, walls, doors etc. Essentially, if you turned the house upside down, anything that did not fall off/out is down to the ll. The landlord must maintain the property so that is is safe and habitable at all times. The landlord must also maintain access to and from the property including driveways and paths ensuring that they are safe and clear from obstruction to avoid injury. If someone is injured and the maintenance, or lack of it, can be shown to be at fault it is likely the insurers will not pay out and you may be sued through the civil courts for damages. Failure to obey health and safety guidelines may lead to criminal prosecution for breeches of building code/regulations or for shoddy, sloppy or dangerous repairs and maintenance proceedures.
  11. Troy, in regard to the rent, that is what worries me, we pay somewhat less that market rates. probably around 400 lower than compatible properties in this area.
    Would be up crap creek if he did put the rent up but then again I would expect him to bring the place up to a decent living standard
  12. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    not sure on the rules now as its been a while since I had to dispute it but if your contract doesn't have close date or he didnt issue a fresh one on rollover then your tennancy is effectively assured and you have him over a barrel.

    you do have the right to get something fixed yourself and with hold the amount from the rent if the landlord is too slow, just stick everything in writing
  13. Well, we always advocate trying to resolve it yourself first. Why not tell him you've sought advice from the Council, but you asked them not to get involved as you wanted to try and resolve it informally? Make it clear that the Council said they can and will take action, but you hope thats not neccessary.

    Any tenant can be evicted at any time, but only of the right process has been followed. The law is there to protect the tenants, often at the expense of the landlord. Unless there are unusual circumstances, he would first have to give you three months written notice. If you do not want to go, he would have to seek posession via the courts. You would then have the opportunity to speak, and the court would decide how long you can stay for - things like having kids in local schools are even taken into account. The fact you've been there 15 years, and the fact this has only happened after work needs doing to the place, will also be taken into account.

    As you can guess, the landlord wont want any of this! So its unlikely he'll try to evict you unless he's stupid. The best part of course, is that even if he does evict you, even if the house if vacant, he will still have to do the work the Council tell him to - so he has nothing to gain by evicting you.
  14. Trip up and fall over call Claims Direct and sue the bastard.
  15. You almost certainly do have a lease. Find the original lease or if it was renewed when you moved in then the revised lease and post up what it actually says. Odds are it was a Shorthold tenancy which became a periodic renewing tenancy when the original term expired.