No isn’t an answer – access for works

Liverpool Mutual Homes v Mensah, County Court at Liverpool. 31 August 2017.

(Thanks to Legal Action Housing Repairs Update May 2019 for this case)

This is perhaps a rather obvious point, but reminders can never hurt.

M was LMH’s tenant. Following a disrepair letter of claim, there was a joint inspection by the parties’ experts. Some defects were agreed by the experts, but the tenant’s expert identified further defects not accepted by the landlord’s expert.

LMH sought access to carry out the agreed works, pursuant to the right of access for repairs under the tenancy agreement (which made warning of injunctions if access refused) and statute. This was repeatedly refused, and M’s solicitors wrote saying access would not be given as the schedule of works did not include the further defects identified by the tenant’s expert.

LMH brought proceedings for an injunction for access.

There was some degree of agreement subsequently on timing of works, but M would not give an undertaking on access, so the hearing went ahead.

The circuit judge did not accept M’s account of attempts to communicate with the landlord, nor that the health of her daughter was a factor in her refusing access. The landlord had been reasonable and only brought injunction proceedings as a last resort. M’s argument that para 6.3 of the Housing Disrepair Pre-Action Protocol referring to the landlord providing a ‘full schedule of works’ meant that all the works should be agreed did not succeed. The protocol at 6.3 expressly contemplated such a situation where the totality of the works were not agreed. The contractual and statutory rights were, in any event, not overridden.

Injunction granted.

 

About Giles Peaker

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts, and still is Nearly Legal on Google +.
Posted in Disrepair, Housing law - All.

2 Comments

  1. All landlords do is refer to this case as a way of gaining access – yet they refuse to agree compensation – list effective times and dates but consider it a right of passage now that they have costs attached that they should enter.

    Where is the protection for claimant’s as with respect their argument regarding this case / and being a prudent landlord is surely nil and void – is it not – given claimant has been complaining for 5 years and only now they listen?

    Solicitors attempt to negotiate settlement – landlord refuses despite adequate report / SSched – quotes this case and considers the claimant to be unreasonable – hardly fair?

    Also the new version of tenants rights came out 1 month after I bought the red and black (6th edition) – I think… does it differ much save for fitness for habitation?

    • Landlords have the right of access, on 24 hours written notice. That is so no matter how long they have delayed, faffed about, failed to do anything, and keep wanting to re-inspect.

      Tenant’s rights are on the failure to respond or do works within a reasonable time. If the landlord fails to negotiate settlement on terms of works and compensation that the tenant pursues the claim. If tenant has been refusing access, this may impact the claim, yes.

      The new edition of Housing Conditions: Tenants Rights includes H(FFHH)A but also more recent case law and the structure is changed to be more directed to practical use.

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