14/09/2012 2:48 pm
we moved into our bungalow 3 and a halve years ago rented from housing ass,, we hav a very large tree in the front garden some 50 ft across and 50/60 ft high, i mentioned it after about 3 months over the phone to my assosiation but got no reply the tree is at the corner of the front garden tight to the fence, and overhangs the tel phone wires, and stops an awfull lot of natural light from entering the building it sways very badly in the winds and the fear it will crash through the bungalow at som point , after contacting the ass over the last 2 days and by email wishing the said tree to be pruned back and not to be cut right down as it is also a haven for the wild life .our information was that it is are responsebility to tend to said tree as in the tennancy agreement ,but as the tree was of this size on moving in i feel that the responsebility should not be ours as all previose tennants have ignored it over the years surely we cannot be responsible for this matter as had we planted it i would have managed its size from initial planting,, further more if said tree were to crash thrugh the bungalow roof or break tel phone wires it would apear that we would have to pay for any repairs to damage our housing officer is coming back to us next week with her disision, as all other trees around the estate on open plan are kept under control by assosiation contractors we feel that this is a bitter pill to swallow your comments are appretiated
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14/09/2012 3:38 pm
You are responsible for the items you accepted in signing the tenancy agreement. However, If you were not aware of such responsibilities, because they were not explained to you and your attention not directed to the specific sections of the tenancy agreement relating to, (for instance, trees already existing within the property boundary) then there is legal precedent that the owner (the association) may have to address the defect before your responsibility begins.
Arguing such a precendent though may be time consuming, and if you are not a good self advocate, expensive.
If the tree represents a potential structural hazard to the property the landlord - who is also the owner of the tree - should take action to protect their asset, and avoid future costs of repair.
Your association, and if not then your local authority, should have measures in place to assist vulnerable or elderly persons in such matters. Expressly, the local authority can offer you the advice (and services if not cut) of their aboroculturist. This may lead to an order for the owner of the tree to take action, but may also lead to a protection order being placed on the tree.
Take advice from your local council to see what your options are.
Alternatively (mainly to cheer you up a bit) why not advertise a large quantity of raw timber available for free (buyer collects) on freecycle or in your local free adds. Just remember to include 'may need your own axe to collect' in the advert!
P.S. - telephone cables are regularly inspected and maintained. It is therefore a safe assumption that the tree represents no excessive risk to the cables, even though it may appear otherwise.
19/09/2012 12:02 pm
Id be interested to hear how you get on William. We have some large TPO trees in our garden. They are much older than the house itself and no mention of them is to be found in the tenancy agreement. The HA has previousley maintained them but now they have said they are the tenants responsibility.
20/09/2012 0:56 am
when I was given the tenancy nothing was explained to me and the small garden was in a terrible mess and overgrown with a huge sycamore making its use pretty difficult... It took twenty years of fighting of housing officers, surveryours, letters to the council and to London and quadrant and god knows how many hours of mangers and directors coming and visiting, etc etc... But in the end I got rid of it... You are lucky if you are given a few hours to decide whether to accept a tenancy or not. It was almost impossible to get anything in writing from the landlord about the state of the property as a proof you can then use. If you start complaining afterwards you are told "if you didn't like it you should not have taken it."... Yes, great, telling that to homeless people desperate for a roof over their head, how can they have the strength and the wits about them to investigate the property before accepting them?... It's a real scam... I visited a few property in an attempt at transfer and to get anything in writing I found it impossible, so if something turns out wrong you cannot prove anything... On the other hand if you start asking questions about the state of the property don't you think your landlord will soon come up with some excuse and pass it on onto someone who asks no questions. So many homeless people, desperate for a home, they are not going to ask any questions about the state of the property, and the landlords can get away with murder.
20/09/2012 10:53 am
Oh get over yourself tenantplus. 20 years "fighting" about an overgrown tree and a garden? I'm sure that they were there when you saw the property and instead of fighting you could have just dealt with it. 20 years? Think of all the money that your HA have wasted on you that could have been spent on someone deserving of it. Don't like the tree? Move to the 20th floor of a tower block and let someone else actually enjoy the garden
20/09/2012 11:09 am
Nonny - tenantplus raises some real issues that will become even more pressing as a result of the depleation of available housing and the reduction in legal support and rights of tenants.
For a start, agreeing a complex contract is not something that can be done in seconds. Yet this is what tenants are expected to do, without debate - take it or leave it / like it or lump it is the attitude.
There is case law where, for instance a person recognised with a learning disability had their entire rent arrear quashed because the need to and the means for paying rent, whilst within the contract signed by the tenant, had not been explained during the sign-up process. Indeed when the officer concerned explained how that sign-up was conducted was normal the judge commented that it is a wonder that every tenancy does not end up in court.
Tenants take much on trust, which is fine in most cases until that trust is abused.
Then there is the reluctance to put things in writing, prefering verbal exchange and dealings through call centres. Again, this involves the tenant taking much on trust, but when things go wrong there is no proof on either side what actually transpired.
The issues tenantplus is raising are simply resolved by better sign-up procedures, officers being given the required time to conduct a sign-up and not pressured to restrict the time for such, and better customer service coupled with prudent record keeping that is contemporary with the legal status of processes being followed.
20/09/2012 11:37 am
Chris equally there is an element of trust expected by the landlord
i have spent hours with a sign up going through clause by clause and then trusting the tenant when they say they understand and accept and wish to sign
what recourse do i have if they do not abide by the tenancy conditions then claim Oh i signed but i didnt understand that bit
if a person is arrested they are asked if they understand why and the police officer can rely on the persons agreement to detain them lawfully
do you read digest and take advice on avery clause of every transaction you complete for say every purchase you make ?? i think not - you accept that if you want the goods you must agree the contract
20/09/2012 12:22 pm
All true Philthy, and I cast no aspersion at staff.
As you know, judges treat landlords as professional large businesses and tenants as amatures and individuals, and as such give a slant against the larger over the smaller. Therefore the extent of trust in the landlord is not legally equal to the converse, and this is how it should be if we do not wish to completly rebase our legal basis.
It is not enough for us to take a tenant's word that the understand the tenancy. We must be clear about their ability to understand, that we have taken all reasonable and required steps to aid understanding, including providing an interpreter an/or a responsible adult where either or both are required to validate understanding.
The same applies to police officers also, for the same reasons.
It may be irritating to be faced with a tenant who is not an expert in contract or tenancy law, but Lettings Officers will have to accept that occassionally this may be the case.
21/09/2012 11:49 am
You have to decide within an hour or a couple of hours whether to take a property offered to you or you'll go back on the waiting list. Tell me how most tenants, some of them elderly, frail, or coming straight from the street or with some mental disability have the resources and the time to get an expert to check the property is sound and there are no problems with it?... Tenants have no safeguards and the staff have no time, everytime I visited a property the staff was late, or did not have answers to questions, even wanting to know in writing that there are no antisocial issue with the property is an impossible task... so the landlords can get away with murder and blame the tenant for accepting the property in the first place.
21/09/2012 12:45 pm
this thread has a great deal of deja vu about it. people bidding for properties should at least have an idea about the area they want to live in
anyone buying a home would check out if the area suits and whether there are any local issues to put them off
by the time you bid for a home you should be pretty sure if you could live there. many people who get caught out by gardens have seen the garden before but dont keep up with maintenance. if you dont want a house with a garden dont bid. if you do - put the work in if only to show a bit of pride in your home
21/09/2012 1:52 pm
philty boots 21/09/2012 12:45 pm..."if you dont want a house with a garden dont bid. if you do - put the work in if only to show a bit of pride in your home"... why are accusing tenants of not having pride in their home?... surely is because they do have pride they start thread like this... So for you to have pride in their homes tenants should put some work in it instead of being lazy and just cut down trees in their gardens without the landlords permission?... And what's the area got to do with the state of a single property? How can a tenant know what really are the problem of the property by only having looked at it for five minutes and then given an hour to decide to either remain homeless or accept the property blindly without knowing what she is letting herself into?
24/09/2012 12:58 pm
TP definitely no accusation from me - i merely suggest that caring for a garden is one demonstration of pride in the property.
i suppose my point is by the time you view a property you have had generally plenty of time to vet an area otherwise you wouldnt have bid to live there. that being so the viewing is all about the detail of the particular property and that would include the garden. only you would know how keen a gardener you are and whether the shrubs, tees and borders are your worst nightmare or your greatest pleasure. a very personal decision but a commitment that impacts on the wider neighbourhood as each well kept garden or not contributes the overall appearance of the community
24/09/2012 2:12 pm
philthy boots, please don't twist things round... How can you be proud of your property if you cannot enjoy it if a tree blights it?... What's the tenant fault here?... should she be happy and proud to have a tree making her life a misery?... If the tree is a nuissance or a danger hasto be removed and the tenant cannot remove it as she does not own the ground it's on. so it is the landlord who is at fault for the area not looking ship shape for the state of gardens... I am not against trees. for any removed tree the council should replant more trees elsewhere more suitable both for people and the trees themselves...
25/09/2012 8:17 am
there seem to be a lot of hot aired accusations flying about here
has anyone consulted the tree or challenged its nuisance behaviour ?? it could in fact be underoccupying the garden
26/09/2012 1:03 am
William you are raising the issue of feeling taken advantage of by your
landlord in this matter. Legally if your tenancy explicitly & clearly states that you are responsible for tree maintenance then you are. Although you may have a case to argue if the tree has not been properly maintained before you moved in & your HA should be oprn to negotiating about that.
If your tenancy agreement does not clearly & explicitly state that you are responsible for tree maintenance & if this was not clearly spelt out to you before you signed your tenancy agreement - then - they probably don't have a legal leg to stand on. See "Unfair terms in consumer contracts" or similar type legislation!