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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69254
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I am a landlady of a UK property. Today the council rang me

Customer Question

I am a landlady of a UK property. Today the council rang me to tell me I had an emergency repair to make on one of my properties chimneys as they had deemed it an emergency under Act 77 of the building act.

THis was the first I had heard of the problem from the tenant and they had reported it behind my back.

The council went on to say that if I didn't get the chimney safe by tomorrow then they would send their workmen round and I would be charged accordingly.

Tonight I sent a builder round to access the situation and he said it needed doing but was in no way an emergency and the time limit to get such a big job organised was unreasonable.

My questions:

1. Can the council do this without any notice or any proof of a structural report.

2. Have I not got a time period to get the work done.

3. My options.

I know the works need doing but finding out at 3.30pm to be started the next day when a professional has classed it as not an emergency seems unreasonable. Have they the power to do this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Whats the nature of the danger please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

THey say that the chimney is angled and in danger of falling down.However the builder says it is angled but is not an emergency and will have been like that for years probably.


The council said they had been round to inspect the property nd take a photo and a structural engineer has based his decision on the photograph and google maps.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
The council do have the power to do this and once they have served a dangerous structure notice, you either have to comply with it or they will do the work and charge you.

If you disagree with the notice, you can apply to court for judicial review of the decision to issue it but that could easily cost you £10,000 if you lose.

You would need a structural report to support your claim for judicial review.

You can only bring judicial review on the basis that the Council's decision was irrational, illegal or had not followed the correct procedure.

Even of judicial review is successful the court will only tell the council to consider the matter again, it will not tell the council what decision to come to.

Usually you would get a period of time to do the work and very often, during that time the council would fence the area off.

However if the work is deemed to be urgent and it is not practical to fence the area off, you would be required to do it immediately.

Whether the amount of time they have given you is reasonable or not really comes down to the state of the chimney.

Please bear in mind that if someone is injured by falling brick chimney pot, you could potentially face a personal injury claim which could run into six or seven figures.

Judicial review could take several months to get to court and meanwhile you are faced with doing the work.

I'm sorry if this is bad news but the council do have the powers to do this and that then leaves you arguing with the council, after the event, in an application for judicial review.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I haven't received anything in writing by the council. Do they need to issue a dangerous structure notice to me? I only received a badly spelt text message.


Doing the works is not a problem it's the time scale they have given for what is not, by professionals, classed as dangerous.


The structural engineer from the council hadn't even been to see the property he judged it off a photograph.


Any advice would be appreciated.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Call the local authority and speak to whoever it is that is dealing with this in the A building Control Department.

I am beginning to doubt the provenance of the text message because it is most unusual for the local authority to deal with this by text message and I certainly have never heard of it in over 20 years. It also begs the question as to how they got your mobile number.

They have to give you a formal notice.

There is nothing to stop them working from a photograph however if the problem looks so apparent from the photograph. However there is no reason for them not to come out straight away (they have lots of staff), this is an important matter and they could be at the property within an hour.

Texts are extremely unreliable and are not an acceptable way in law of giving notice.

Here is the process adopted by one particular Council
and other councils will adopt a similar procedure.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So just to confirm (and that's it!) what classes as a formal notice and what would happen if they did the work without a formal notice?


I have only received a text message (illiterate) and had phone conversations.


Thank you.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
A formal notice is in writing.

If they start without giving notice you can make emergency application to court to make them stop.

I would also call the Police who will not get involved but will usually tell whoever to suspend matters pending resolution of the paperwork

You also have grounds to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.

But you are only delaying the inevitable it seems
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69254
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Remus2004 and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile

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