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senior partner, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 13216
Experience:  30 years commercial law
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The local council refuses to take action regarding failure

Resolved Question:

The local council refuses to take action regarding failure of my landlord to provide summary as per S.21 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. They stated that as it is a private property, as opposed to council's property, there is nothing they can do.

My question is:

1.Is the council obliged to take action in such circumstances?
Or is it that the have the option to decide?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will try to help with this.

What action would you like the council to take?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Hi, thank you for the reply.


 


I was under the impression, that the local council has the power to prosecute a landlord who doesn't comply with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.


What I expect from the council is to contact the landlord and request the summary to be provided and if they fail to do so to prosecute them.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Thanks.

I see what you are asking.

I am sorry but they do not. No authority can prosecute him for failing to serve a S21 notice. Its not a criminal offence. The only consequence is that a Court would disallow an application for possession because notice is void.

Even in the case of unlawful evictions the council do not prosecute. Thats a matter for the police.

The Council do not generally have control over private landlords anyway save for things like environmental health issues.

Thats not to say that failing to serve a S21 notice is lawful but it will not lead to any action per se. His possession application will fail and that will be the consequence.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for your answer.


It is clear what you wrote.


 


I just would like to ask you to clarify something.


I have read on few council's websites that they can help private leaseholders if their landlords do not provide the summary of th service charges. This includes my local council. It does say there that they have the power to prosecute. So, I am a little confused.


 


One option to explain it would be that although a council is not obliged to get involved, some of them have chosen to do so.


 


Below I have copied a relevant part of a council website:


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Existing private tenancy

This page provides information regarding your rights if you are illegally evicted or being harassed.


The vast majority of landlords are responsible and fair. In the unlikely event of you experiencing trouble with your landlord, the Council may be able to help.


The Council's Powers Under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977


Harassment and illegal eviction as defined in the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, are criminal offences.


The Council has a power to prosecute persons who commit offences. The Council's Officers investigate complaints and mediate between the parties wherever possible. The Council will consider bringing a prosecution where the evidence is sufficient to indicate the likelihood of a successful prosecution and where it is in the public interest.


The Council's Powers under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, as amended


The Council has powers to prosecute landlords who fail to fulfil their obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, as amended.


Such matters include the failure of landlords to provide rent books and the failure of freeholders to give long leasehold tenants information concerning service charges and insurance.


Where a complaint is received the Council's Officers will endeavour to secure that the required information is provided. However in the case of persistent failure to provide the information a prosecution will be considered.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 


I would be grateful if you coud comment on the part regarding the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 in terms of our previous discussion as from the above it does appear that a local council can prosecute.


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
The council do have powers to prosecute but for things that amount to matters that can be prosecuted - health and safety issues, environmental protection.

Even if he were a landlord that never used S21 notices, knew the law and ignored it that still would not amount to a criminal offence and nobody can be prosecuted for things that are not offences in the UK.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Hi, thank you for the reply.


It is not that I wish to argue with you, but there still issues which remain unclear to me and it would be very kind if you could clarify them.


 


1. Could you, please, comment on the exact statement of the council's website - they say:


'Such matters include the failure of landlords to provide rent books and the failure of freeholders to give long leasehold tenants information concerning service charges and insurance.


 


Where a complaint is received the Council's Officers will endeavour to secure that the required information is provided. However in the case of persistent failure to provide the information a prosecution will be considered.'


The above clearly refers to the summary of the service charges, but not environmental issues,etc. Also, they do state that they can prosecute.


 


Is it that you are saying that on their own website they migt have done a mistake or have said untrue information?


 


2. I was under the impression that a failure to provide the summary as per S21 of the LTA 1985 was a summary offence under the Act.


Did you mean that only criminal offences can warant a prosecution, but the summary once are left with no action?


 


I would be grateful if you could clarify te above as this is the main reason for my question in the first place - the discrepancy of the information on the council website and what they wrote to me.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Sorry but I'm not going to comment on the information on the Councils' website.

Opting out.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Hi, I respect your decision to opt out.


However, I do not understand the reason for it.


I was clear about what my question was and what I needed help with.


Commenting on the councils' website is not itself the main thing. It is the contradictory information.


I am sorry to say it but I am left with the impression that my question might have not been your area of expertise. This is ok. I understand that you can not be expert in all aspects of law.


However, what I do not agree with is the way you closed the discussion. I believe, that if the above was the case you should have stated the exact reason for your decision not to proceed with the question.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Expert:  senior partner replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your question. You are correct failure to provide s21 information is an offence and yes the local housing authority has power to prosecute . Why they are refusing to do soI do not know. In theory you could probably bring proceedings against them to review their decision to refuse but that would be expensive. I suggest you start by contacting your local councillor and possibly your MP and ask why the local housing authority is refusing to use its powers under s34 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to protect tenants.
senior partner, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 13216
Experience: 30 years commercial law
senior partner and 3 other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

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