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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
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Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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About an agreement signed with landlord for renovations in

Resolved Question:

About an agreement signed with landlord for renovations in an overcrowded flat which we are being forced to return to even though an 18yr old girl-student would have to share a room with her two young brothers(13yrs and 8yrs) or be forced to sleep in a single size sitting room,which a judge gives approval to the landlord to go ahead with,awarding cost as well to the landlord-a housing organization.Could we have any advice on the situation since this is extremely stressful and upsetting.?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Who is forcing you to return to the flat?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For your
information, me and my family (a pensioner husband, an 18yr daughter, two
sons,13yr and an8yr old) are tenants of Genesis Housing Ass.

We moved to
11b Huddlestone Road, originally a 1-Bed flat converted into a 2-Bed 3persons
flat provided by PCHA at the end January 1999.Genesis took over in early 2011
as the new Landlord.

The flat/accommodation
needed urgent repairs as it was neglected for a good decade and was seriously
affecting our health and wellbeing. Not much was happening.

We contacted
our MP(Sarah Teather),the Housing Ombudsmen and finally the Head Of Brent
Housing, they in turn contacted Genesis who then decided to take action on the
matter.

We were sent
copies of correspondence from all parties, including a copy from Brent, stating
’London borough Of Brent Housing Act.2004,section 29,Hazard Awareness Notice’. It
has stated ‘once the tenancy has expired or the existing occupants move ,ensure
that the number of individuals occupying the house is restricted to a maximum
of four persons’.

Genesis
therefore decided major repairs would have to be carried out and insisted we
sign an agreement to move out temporary. As we had no alternative and with the
state of the accommodation a serious health hazard I would say we were coerced to
sign the agreement.

What’s
happened?

Genesis took
us to Willesden County Court on the 22nd April 2014,after ignoring
countless pleas for a suitable accommodation and the Judge decided we should
use the living /sitting room as a bedroom even though its partitioned with the
kitchen next to it. He reckons it is not a hazard and all we have to do is to
be careful.

We would
like your advice and if an appeal is possible as this has left us in a vulnerable
and dangerous position, causing some sleepless nights.

Thank you, hope
to hear from you soon, God’ Bless!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

26th April 2014.


For your information, me and my family (a pensioner husband, an 18yr daughter, two sons,13yr and an8yr old) are tenants of Genesis Housing Ass.


We moved to 11b Huddlestone Road, originally a 1-Bed flat converted into a 2-Bed 3persons flat provided by PCHA at the end January 1999.Genesis took over in early 2011 as the new Landlord.


The flat/accommodation needed urgent repairs as it was neglected for a good decade and was seriously affecting our health and wellbeing. Not much was happening.


We contacted our MP(Sarah Teather),the Housing Ombudsmen and finally the Head Of Brent Housing, they in turn contacted Genesis who then decided to take action on the matter.


We were sent copies of correspondence from all parties, including a copy from Brent, stating ’London borough Of Brent Housing Act.2004,section 29,Hazard Awareness Notice’. It has stated ‘once the tenancy has expired or the existing occupants move ,ensure that the number of individuals occupying the house is restricted to a maximum of four persons’.


Genesis therefore decided major repairs would have to be carried out and insisted we sign an agreement to move out temporary. As we had no alternative and with the state of the accommodation a serious health hazard I would say we were coerced to sign the agreement.


What’s happened?


Genesis took us to Willesden County Court on the 22nd April 2014,after ignoring countless pleas for a suitable accommodation and the Judge decided we should use the living /sitting room as a bedroom even though its partitioned with the kitchen next to it. He reckons it is not a hazard and all we have to do is to be careful.


We would like your advice and if an appeal is possible as this has left us in a vulnerable and dangerous position, causing some sleepless nights.


Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX hear from you soon, God’ Bless!

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
It looks like the expert has opted out. I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience and have a great deal of expertise in housing matters. I will try to help you with this. Can ou tell me what the urgent repairs required were? I will be travelling for some of this morning but will get back to you as soon as I can.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Did Genesis seek an order for possession to carry out repairs while you were to be moved elsewhere? When are the repairs due? If an enforcement notice was served was it an enforcement notice or a prohibition notice? Have you sought compensation for putting up with the disrepair?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The Major repairs were as follows:(according to our Landlord-Genesis Housing Ass.)
Kitchen:To supply and fit new kitchen units.Redecorate and renew Vinyl to kitchen.
Bathroom:To replace sanity fittings including Bath,Basin and WC.Renew Vinyl and wall tiles to Bathroom(150 by 150mm)
Electrics:Test and upgrade to meet current Regulations,provide and fit Extract Fan as necessary and rewire kitchen.
Plumbing and Central Heating:Upgrade Central Heating and plumbing as necessary
General Works:Overhaul Doors and General repairs to joinery.Patch Repair Plaster where damaged by leaks and the roofs.Redecorate affected areas,installation of flatmaster.
This is the Description of Work which Genesis said to be carried out.
Hope to hear from you soon-urgent.
R
Thank you.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
why did Genesis take you to court? Were you represented?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Genesis made us sign a contract to move out temporary for the repairs to be made,knowing fully well we had no choice.If we did not,we would be left(remained) in that deplorable uninhabitable accommodation. We were put in a 3-Bed accommodation,whiles the work was taking place.They did not seek an order for possession to carry out the major works.


However they did take an order of possession from the County court for the 22nd of April 2014(which they served upon us on the 17th of April 2014) after we have pointed it out to their officer about their own regulation which states that we require a 3-Bed,5persons' accommodation,which obviously they must have rejected.We were represented by a duty lawyer due to the time factor when their court order was served upon us to go to the court.Please we need to know if we can make an appeal..?


 


 

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
What was their ground for getting the possession order. I am sorry for the questions but your situation is very unusual.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Because they said, we sign an agreement therefore we had to go back.very upsetting for children. just want to know if we can take it any further or just move back to the old tiny place. thanks.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Oh I see they got a possession order on the temporary flat you were in while they repaired your original flat which had been subject to the Hazard Notice.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Unfortunately the place is too small for the five of us, all we want is a suitable accommodation to move to, 18yr old girl sharing a room with her two brothers a 13yr and 8yrold.Do we have a case to fight for?

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Ok thankyou for that. I am going to be busy this evening but I will answer you tomorrow. I hope that is OK and I apologise for the delay.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
If you follow this link you will see the law overcrowding explained. It seems that your flat is not overcrowded in the legal sense although it is in any normal use of he word.
http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/common_problems/overcrowding
As far as the possession order on the temporary accommodation is concerned I would think that this would have impossible to defend or that it will difficult to launch a successful appeal. If you wish to appeal you must commence this within 21 days of the possession order being granted.
Your main concern is the overcrowding I think and it is not clear to me if you have returned to Huddlestone Road. It seems that probably the best thing to do is to return to that flat and try to get a move. You are not statutorily overcrowded but it may be that you could argue that the accommodation is so unsuitable that you are in effect homeless and are entitled to be housed in suitable accommodation by the local authority.
You could consider making a homelessness application and see if it works.
Another strategy is to make life difficult for Genesis. It may be that you have lived in accommodation that was in poor repair for some time. If the disrepair was to the structure or exterior (the water penetrating in sounds like it would fit this definition) or the facilities for sanitation or heating were not in working order then you may be able to claim compensation for putting up with the poor conditions. The worse the disrepair and the longer you put up with it the greater your claim will be worth. If anyone’s health was affected then that would increase the value of the claim. It might be that you could threaten to bring an action for compensation against Genesis but make it clear that you would consider dropping the case if they transferred you to better accommodation. What security of tenure do you have? Are you an assured tenant?
The shelter website linked to above has a very good section about disrepair here http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions.
I think y are in a difficult position but you do not have much alternative but to return to the flat and appply as homeless &/or put pressure on Genesis in the way suggested.

I apologise for the delay but i was unwell yesterday. I hope this answer helps but please feel free to ask further questions
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 814
Experience: Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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