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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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Myself and family own a self contained flat which we let.

Resolved Question:

Myself and family own a self contained flat which we let. About a year ago the local authority East Devon District Council telephoned to say they had inspected the flat and found the heating inadequate. It has a gas fire in the lounge and electric convector heaters in the bedrooms. They said we MUST fit gas fired central heating and issued an Improvement Order to this effect. When I questioned this they said night storage heaters would be an alternative and must be fitted to all rooms including bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. I told them I thought the heating was quite adequate to comply with the Housing Act 2004 and went to appeal. This was heard on 24 October before a judge and two chartered surveyers. The Environmental Officer giving evidence admitted that the heating was indeed adequate but was unaffordable. The panel stated affordability was outside the Act and not an issue and upheld the appeal. In my opinion the council acted outside the law first insisting we fit either gas central heating or night storage heating when the Act does not specify type of heating and secondly saying that affordability was the main issue when this is not mentioned in the Act. They have given us eight months of harassment and stress... my wife and I are 84. I feel they should be made to pay for this. Do we have a sound case please?
Richard Hadley.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Matt Jones :

HI i will try and help

Matt Jones :

in what court was the appeal heard?

Matt Jones :

also did you incur legal costs, and if so how much?

Customer:

I dealt with this entirely on my own and did not incur any legal costs.

Matt Jones :

so, other than the stress was there any other loss?

Matt Jones :

also can you let me know the appeal court?

Matt Jones :

I am sorry but I need to go away from the computer for a few hours. If you reply to my last questions wen I return i will check in and come back to you.

Customer:

No

Matt Jones :

hi thanks

Matt Jones :

I am back. sorry for the delay

Matt Jones :

I presume your last "No" was the reply to my question "was there other loss". If I have misunderstood let me know.

Matt Jones :

In my view there are a few issues that mean that a "Counter claim" against the Council would be difficult.Firstly the Council case may have been ultimately unsuccessful, but whilst misguided it may not be spurious. They may have got it wrong but it is for the judge to decide the case,and they may have had some element of grounds. Secondly the lack of real and ascertainable financial loss means it is difficult what you would be suing for. Usually in a civil action the losing party pays the winning parties legal costs, but there is no element attributed for stress and anxiety (rightly or wrongly). It is just part of the civil process.

Matt Jones :

If the stress and anxiety affected you physically/psychologically (i.e you have been to the doctors and been prescribed something for it) and there was an element of malice on the actions of the Council or council members that one would consider to be unreasonable, I suppose there could technically bring and action for persona injury but it is a bit of a long shot.

Matt Jones :

I am sorry that this may not be what you wished to hear but I hope I have been of some help

Matt Jones :

If you wish please ask any follow up questions. if not at the moment then please leave me positive feedback so I can be paid for my time. The question wont close and if you think of anything later on you can always come back and ask.

Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience: I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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