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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2437
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello. i have been living in a rented house for the last

Customer Question

Hello.

i have been living in a rented house for the last year. In March due to high winds my fence o the right side blew down. I also have a dog which is an issue because he keeps escaping. I have rang about getting the fence fixed and i keep being told that they are trying to work out who's responsibility the fence is, ours or next doors. However this has been 3 months now and still nothing. Surely they have a duty of care when it comes to things like this? what if my dog escapes again and causes a serious accident?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.

Alex Hughes :

My name is Alex and I'm happy to help with your question today.

Alex Hughes :

What has your landlord said about this?

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

First they said they are finding it difficult to find fence panals

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

then they said they don't know who is responsible for the fence

Alex Hughes :

Your landlord has a responsibility to repair the structure and exterior of the building, such as the walls, fences, roof, external doors and windows. If the fence isnhis responsibility then he must repair it - otherwise you could take legal action against him. However, if the fence is the neighbours responsibility then your landlord must get the neighbour to repair it as soon as possible - it will be very difficult for you to take action against the neighbour because you have no agreement with him.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

The agent acting on behalf of my landlord has said that they are chasing the deeds to see if its next doors responsibility. Next door is also a rented property from a different company.

Alex Hughes :

Your legal relationship is with your landlord. If he fails to do something then you can take action. But you have no such relationship with the neighbour. You could try and take action based on nuisance but usually this is something the landowner would do.

Alex Hughes :

The two landlords of the properties will have to work out whose responsibility this is.

Alex Hughes :

Then one of them will have to fix the fence; your best option is to keep putting pressure on the agent and/or landlord.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

So they are saying that they think if its the right half of the fence then thats the neighbours responsibility, and if its the left then its theirs

Alex Hughes :

Without seeing the deeds of the properties I can't say unfortunately. They will have to look at the deeds to settle this.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

but this has been going on and on now. my dog keeps escaping which they know, i keep ringing and ringing and now i want something done, hence me being on here

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

i want to put pressure on them

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

so i am no further forward then really

Alex Hughes :

The best way putting pressure is to notify the agent and your landlord that you are planning to take legal action for breach of the tenancy agreement namely the landlords failure to repair.

Alex Hughes :

The legal action would be for breach of the tenancy agreement specifically the requirement to keep the property in good order.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

Yes i was going to do that but i wanted to know i was doing the right thing. Their argument will be the same and i won't get any further forward.

Alex Hughes :

I suggest you take that step and write the letter. It may result in some action if they see that you're being serious about legal action.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

Ok so a written letter is best? not an email?

Alex Hughes :

If they take no notice then you will have to consider legal action or withholding rent - the difficulty with this, of course, is that if the fence is the neighbours responsibility then your landlord may consider your actions to be unreasonable.

Alex Hughes :

You can send it by e-mail - doesn't really matter.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

ok. and thats where they have me over a barrel because all they will say is the same thing "we are trying to find the deeds to see who's responsibility it is" not a lot i can do about that

Alex Hughes :

Sadly not.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

ok. well thanks anyway

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

i think i will end up paying and fitting it myself, and they get off Scott free!

Alex Hughes :

In a strange and sad way if this was causing a health issue then you would have been in a much stronger position.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

Well my argument on that is, if my dog escapes and worst case causes an accident and somebody is seriously injured or worse then who does that lye with?

Alex Hughes :

The responsibility for keeping the dog under control is with the owner. If a dog is dangerously out of control then then owner or person controlling it is liable.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

No, my question is, if he escapes because there is no fencing then that is not my fault, i can't be expected to keep a dog inside all day

Alex Hughes :
No, of course not. But if you know the fence is in a state of disrepair then you as the owner have a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that your dog and others are safe.
Alex Hughes :
Re: Request for repairs at <your address>
I am writing again concerning the outstanding repair work needed at the above address. Please find enclosed copies of previous correspondence.
So far you have not contacted me to arrange for the repair work to be carried out. I'm concerned that the disrepair is:
[You may want to stress again that the disrepair is causing problems. For example:]
·<adversely affecting my health/ the health of other members of my household>
·<making the property unsafe and may result in injury>
·<damaging the premises and may lead to further disrepair>
·<causing great inconvenience.>
If the problem is not fixed within <set time limit - eg two weeks>, you leave me no option but to carry out the repair work myself and deduct the cost from my rent. I would therefore be most grateful if you could contact me as soon as possible to arrange for the repairs to be carried out.
I look forward to hearing from you soon..
Yours sincerely,

Alex Hughes :

Try using the template

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

ok your missing my point. The point of all this is that they have a duty of care to ensure that the house is in good SAFE working order, we also pay extra to keep a dog so they we have one

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

ok thanks

Alex Hughes :

I understand - but the duty of care is to humans not dogs.

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

ok

JACUSTOMER-9v0w8md5- :

i will leave it at that

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