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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70412
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I moved into a Housing Association (Downland now Affinity Sutton)

Customer Question

I moved into a Housing Association (Downland now Affinity Sutton) flat over 10 years ago. I was given the keys to a front door which into a porch area, then another door to my flat. I assumed this area belonged to the flat and cleaned and decorated this area.There is nothing in the Tenancy agreement relating to this area, nor any area drawn in red relating to the flat. Affinity Sutton now plan to fit a new fire door with no locks or furniture saying that it is a communal area. The flat is on the 1st floor of a block of three. There is no requirement for any one to enter this area. I have written to the Planned Investment Surveyor in charge of fitting the doors and said that by not having locks fitted increases the risk of anti-social and criminal behaviour. He has responded by saying that this area is not a part of the Tenancy agreement and fitting a lock to increase my security is not an option. Do I have any legal rights?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Have you contacted the housing association about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes,the Planned Investment Surveyor belongs to Affinity Sutton.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

You do not rent this area and therefore you probably have no rights over it.

They appear to be putting in a fire door and the essential feature of a fire door is that it is not locked or is only locked to intruders so that anyone can push the bar to open from the inside.

If you have treated this area as your own for over 10 years you may be able to claim adverse possession of it although adverse possession of residential property has been a criminal offence since October 2012.

You would therefore be faced with arguing this is not a residential area. That could be an expensive and lengthy court battle.

The Housing Association are adamant that this is not to have a lock and any argument that you have with them whether over a claim for adverse possession of the area (and tight link you to have a lock on the door) is going to be protracted and drawn out and potentially could cost many thousands of pounds if you were to lose for any reason.

If a complaint to the Housing Association does not bear fruit your only other recourse is to go to court to make an application for judicial review of their decision not to allow you to put a lock on the door. Judicial review could easily cost you £10,000 if it is not successful

You could however tell Housing Association, in writing, that you are of the opinion that as you are the only person who uses this area and there is no need for a fire door therefore, this impinges on your security and if as a result of this, you are burgled or suffer any other kind of loss you will hold them responsible.

I'm sorry that this is bad news but that probably is as much as you can do without risking many thousands of pounds in court.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Remus2004 and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 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 http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Jo, not want I wanted to hear, but at least I know now, if I
thousands to gamble I wouldn't be living in a Housing Association flat, I
can let Roy Rogers and Tom Mix fit the new door!

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.