Duty of care question
08/10/2010 5:40 pm
I have a slight problem that I can't get an answer to. I searched the net and came across this site. Someone here may be able to help or point me in the right direction.
I rent a LA first floor flat. It is old and not well maintained. My electricity fuse box/meter and isolator switch are situated on the ground floor and are accessible to anyone who gains admittance to the flats. On many occasions it has been turned off, usually when we are out. I put up security cameras as a last resort. After complaints I requested permission from my housing officer who reluctantly agreed. However under pressure from a particular family I have had to remove the camera with the proviso that the entrance doors are to be kept closed at all times. The doors are now being left open which leaves my electricity supply vulnerable once more. What rights, if any, do I have and what responsibility, if any, has the council to protect my supply?
I am at my wits end and would be grateful for any help or advice
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15/10/2010 3:51 pm
Kass, behave yourself. Look at my first post on this thread here – it is totally on side of tenant and clearly outlines my viewpoint re: lame landlords. However, as measured reply, my post also supports Paula’s opinion that “ not all tarred with same brush ”.
My second post on this particular thread gives short shrift to Anonymous who appears to be hi-lighting fact that Sandy’s landlord is LA and not HA. My post clearly states, the outcome would have likely been same, no matter RSL type.
To: Sandy – regardless of costs, the landlord is placing themselves in a very vulnerable position legally (and your well-being, safety general) if they are aware of the problems you encounter if fuse box goes / other. It may be expensive but not in the great scheme of things– indeed it’s another trait of RSLs re: minimum expenditure. Go back to the landlord, get some guidance from CAB or indeed from this thread
Your positive note at end re: roof over head, I am taking as slight banter. Don’t put yourself in (some) social landlord mindset that tenancy signed, job done. You have a right to reasonable standards.
Sunshine this weekend – I think you’ve more chance of getting fusebox moved ;-)
15/10/2010 4:02 pm
My intentions was to point out those who excuse landlords and themselves by saying they are being tarred with the same brush... if you are not one of them then it was my mistake to imply you were...and I promise to behave myself in your respect. Please go on defending tenant who are being victimised...
15/10/2010 4:41 pm
My suggestion would be to check with your housing officer what he/she has done to stop the tenants turning off your supply. You are entitled to 'quiet enjoyment' of your flat and turning the power off doesn't equate to that.
Have you been able to establish why the tenants turn the power off? Is it because you think they are effectively harrassing you for some reason? or because they are concerned about the lighting in the common parts or the cost to them of the electricity etc?
If there is a 'genuine' but mis-guided attempt to sort out a problenm with the lighting in the hall, then you housing officer should tackle that with the tenants concerned. If you think they are just trying to make life difficult, then there is a question here about anti social behaviour. Harrassment should be something your landlord will take pretty seriously.
One suggestion might be to that you ask the landlord to fit a meter cupboard and a lock.
15/10/2010 5:54 pm
My initial thoughts are that the landlord is not responsible for the electricity box/meter but think it reasonable that we would do all possible to provide a secure box which has a lock and the key provided so the tenant/utility company can gain access.
If others in the block were experiencing same then keys would be shared.
Obviously if it was known who was causing the problem the LA/HA could intervene to prevent this happening but at least with a lockable cupboard the risk to the supply is minimised.
I have also assumed that the property is not being maintained and that regular electrical test and inspection is not carried out as a matter of course?
The tenant should persist and contact the landlord.
15/10/2010 8:22 pm
The landlord might not be responsible for the box itself if this is in the contract with the supplying company, but isn't the landlord responsible for the 'location' of it? And should not the locastion be such to be reasonable one for the tenant not to be harassed or disturbed in the way it has been described? I mean whose responsibility is the location of the supply box? And should the location of it be a problem whose responsibility if to correct it? Surely not the tenant if thetenant has been clearly and probably repeatedly reporting the problem to the landlord. and this is not up to the landlord to rectify should not the landlord advise the tenant about whose responsibility it is?
15/10/2010 8:48 pm
The electricity is turned off when we are out. An attempt was made to break into my car and my shed has been targetted. All made by family members. The police are aware and had no problem with the CCTV.
The council pay for the electricity which powers the lights in the communal areas and my neighbour is aware of that. One member of the family has boasted that she knows who it is that is doing it but won't reveal their identity.
The council housing maintenance manager and the housing officer are both aware of the problems with the electricity supply and say that it would be too expensive to resite the meter and the fuse box. The wires are intermingled with those that run to my neighbours so it would be impossible to box the meters/fuseboxes unless the whole lot was ripped out and started again.
My neighbours have been instructed to keep the communal doors shut and have keys to gain access so the council think that this should be enough to ensure the safety of my electricity supply.
15/10/2010 10:12 pm
You are clearly a victim of antisocial behaviour. The council say it is expensive resiting meter and fuse box, Maybe you should ask them how much have they already spent on your case, summing up all the time and other expenses their staff have spent on it, including all the time the police have spent on this and any others involved. Probably the re-siting would have already paid for itself. But of course is going to be costing even more in the months and probably years to come if you are still lving there....
19/10/2010 12:14 pm
Kass you asked the question "Paula P Do you work in social housing perhaps?... ". I live in Social Housing, I am a LA tenant. Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't automatically mean they are not a tenant! I have worked in Social Housing in the past although not currently.
Sandy - listen to the experts. Go back to your landlord and make it clear that you believe you are being harassed and that your health and safety is being compromised. Write a letter setting all this out and make it clear you want a solution. If they do not respond to your satisfaction then raise a complaint. You can follow the complaints process all the way through to Ombudsman if necessary. Don't accept that they can't do anything, they are responsible for ensuring your quiet enjoyment of your property as the expert said.
19/10/2010 12:52 pm
I am glad you agree with what I said in the first place. If Sandy feels not pretected she should complain againt landlord, police and LA antisocial unit.
They have put her now in a situation that she MUST COMPLAIN. If she does not complain and something untoward happens in future she will be asked the crucial question WHY did you not raise a complaint at the time. And they will blame her for not complaining against them - that's how crazy it is.
19/10/2010 1:44 pm
No Kass I am saying write a letter setting out the fact that she is being harassed and insist on them acting to prevent further harassment. Only if they do not act in a way that Sandy is happy with should she raise a complaint. She has been given some good advice on this topic and can use the information to set out her letter. The LA may well then take further action, she should give them the chance before complaining as she needs a solid basis for a complaint. Any inaction following her letter or if Sandy is not happy with the action they do take will then form the basis of the complaint.
Of course we only have brief details of what's been happening, I have no doubt that there is a lot more to it, Sandy clearly has been dealing with her Housing Officer and the LA have already considered and rejected moving the meter. The initial letter can then be used further down the line as evidence in a stage 3 complaint or ombudsman complaint if that turns out to be necessary which I hope for Sandy's sake it is not. She also still has the option of writing to her Cllr, she could send a copy of her initial letter to the Cllr with a covering letter or go to the Cllr's surgery with a copy of the letter.
19/10/2010 2:11 pm
I am sure Sandy has already tried a hell of a lot, as she says, and what for? She got nowhere, If she has strength and determination all she can do now is to start formal complaints... ~The basic issue is this why a victim of antisocial behaviour, has not been protected so far? And why she has gone through whas she has gone and still a long way to go with no end in sight?
I do not know Sandy's health situation, but if she was healthy I suppose she'll lost it or soon lose it. And if she is frail, she cannot do much more.
I do not know the details of their case but I know about lots of cases that sound exactly the same.
A lot of resources have already been employed, long time has passed and the problem should have been solved. But it has not been solved. There are paid up staff of the involved organastions and their directos who shoujld have made sure of a satisfactory solution but they have failedto do so.
19/10/2010 10:15 pm
Check your tenancy agreement very carefully. If you landlord has agreed to take action to deal with complaints of anti social behaviour made by tenants then you may have grounds for trying to compel your landlord to take some steps to reduce the effects of the anti social behaviour you are experiencing. I find it difficult to accept that the fuse box cannot simply be boxed in. It will cost less than the costs of the landlord taking legal advice if you decide to take matters further. Another way out is for you to try and do the works. However the landlord will most likely not pay your costs.
19/10/2011 4:55 pm
This post has been removed.
19/10/2011 10:05 pm
In response to your initital post. Ask your LA to assess whether spring hinges could be fitted to the main entrance door and/or meter cupboard door. That way, unless someone is purposefully holding the door open, it should close by itself (?). I used this solution to help prevent copper theft from communal meters, after the tenant's living in the flat block were leaving the doors unlocked.