What a Nuisance! What Landlords Should Be Aware of With Troublesome Tenants.
There are two types of nuisance landlords should be aware of before renting out their properties – it would be better to avoid renting to someone with a bad tenant background before they cause you any grievances, but this information is just to keep you on your toes.
If there must be a nuisance record, this is the category landlords hope for. Private nuisance doesn’t usually cause much trouble and the landlord is not normally liable (unless bad behaviour from the tenant in question was inevitable before they even cut their first cheque.) For a private nuisance claim to be made, there needs to be activities interfering with the use or enjoyment of someone’s premises such as excessive noise or damage to possessions. However, there will have been no trespassing or physical invasion of privacy.
Usually, to deal with a private nuisance, an injunction will be served onto those performing the accountable activities to prevent them causing any further complications.
This is the category where the landlords may be dragged into legal affairs. The activities for a statutory nuisance claim to be made are strict; someone’s health must be affected by their neighbours, or a disturbance preventing them from using their premises for its main purpose. For instance, smoke or smells from industrial sites would have a huge effect on neighbours, as would artificial light intrusions, animal or insect infestations, or an accumulation of deposits encroaching premises borders.
Following a statutory nuisance claim will be an abatement notice which will either order a stop the offending activity or limit it to happen within certain times. The council will serve these to the people responsible, including both the premises occupier and the owner.
Be warned, there are penalties for not complying with the requests made. There shall be a lump sum – an initial payment, the amount of which will be set by the court. Further fines will be given for each day the lump sum is not paid. Councils may even seize or confiscate goods and equipment if the person liable will not pay. If delays continue to happen, the problem will be handed off onto the High Court for an injunction.
For landlords who believe the claims made against them are unreasonable, you can make an appeal. You will have 21 days after receiving an abatement notice to appeal to a magistrate’s court if you feel either;
- legal tests have not been made to show that the issue is a statutory nuisance
- the notice was served to the wrong person
- the notice is defective for any other reason.
An appeal can also be used as a defense if you are persecuted for not complying with the abatement notice.
For more advice on being a landlord, read our previous blogs; www.enlightenea.co.uk/blog. Of course, you could always pick up the phone to us if you feel that would be better for you – we like to accommodate to your preferences; 0121 249 0783.