Landlord details must be supplied by the tenant. Legally, we have to notify the landlord 24 hours before inspecting the property. We will inspect the property within five working days of the complaint. An officer will look at all usable rooms along with loft space, outdoor areas and buildings that the tenant has access to. The tenant can accompany the officer who will take photographs of the defects.
The information obtained will be used to carry out a risk-based assessment to rate hazards. They are rated from A to J, with A the highest risk to health. We have a duty to take enforcement action for hazards rated A, B or C. The enforcement policy also allows action to be taken on hazards rated D.
We will write to the tenant and the landlord detailing the inspection findings and works needed. The initial approach will be informal, but if the landlord fails to address the hazards the officer must take action. An improvement notice can be served under the Housing Act 2004 - which legally requires the necessary repairs are carried out within a specified timescale.
Failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable on conviction in the magistrates’ court by a fine of up to £5,000. Where there is an imminent risk of serious harm and work needs to be carried out urgently - such as no heating or hot water - and the landlord will not carry out the work or cannot be contacted, an emergency remedial action notice can be served.
This allows us to employ a contractor to carry out the works and recover the cost from the landlord. We will aim to respond to these complaints within 24 hours.
Shared houses or bedsits are likely to be houses in multiple occupation and additional duties apply - including a higher standard of fire safety provision. Houses in multiple occupation that have five or more people and consist of three or more storeys require a licence from us and have to comply with specific conditions to protect tenants’ health and wellbeing.