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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Jo No.t sure which category of law this fits under, but

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Hello, Jo
No.t sure which category of law this fits under, but before I proceed further with it, I would appreciate your legal view...This is an issue with my local authority the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) and arises from the required annual gas safety checks in homes, carried out under regulation..When an annual .gas check is due, the practice has been a formal notification letter .sent, advising the fact and which includes a suggested date for that check, along with an .invitation - if the date is inconvenient - to call/write in order to arrange another. This year I received no such letter.What I did receive, was a letter dated 3rd May from the Housing and Environment Branch of the LBBD and with no response contact details, stating that on "28 May" they would be applying to "Redbridge Magistrates Court... to obtain a Warrant of Entry..... to enter the property and carry out the gas safety check."
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I should also add that .this charming missive was in a. completely unsealed envelope and .stuffed only halfway into the letterbox.I. went back through .my recent mail thinking I'd somehow missed the usual letter of notification.. Again, .no such letter, but what I did find - and in a pile of junk mail which I had previously set aside for shredding .- was an LBBD calling card, showing a contractor had called, with a Job Description handwritten as 'Gas Check.' .No date on the card..As I'm often away from home for days at a time. mail .tends to build up and my practice is to .sort legitimate letters from the mass of leaflets and other rubbish (hence, I know I didn't get a Letter of Notification) .The contractor's calling card, which is smaller than an average postcard, had been gathered up off the doormat among a bunch of circulars. Being so obscure, if I. hadn't been prompted by the .out.-of-the blue .legal letter, the card would have probably gone .unfound and. into the shredder with the rest..Tuesday. being the first working day after the Bank Holiday I called the ..LBBD, .explained all this and offered a firm date of the morning of. Wednesday 16th May for the inspection to take place:. it seemed my name and reference could not be found as my .case had been 'passed on'. Where to, was not clear. I also had my ears pinned back when I was told it "may be too late" to stop the action. .I was told to "call again tomorrow" when the people concerned would be back in the office and ."would sort it out then." I duly called again yesterday.This time a slightly more helpful person agreed this was a worrying situation and said it was more usual practice to .notify residents "two, three, or four times" before considering any warrant of forced entry. I again offered the date of Wednesday 16th May for the inspection, or indeed any date mutually suitable. I sa.id I had put this in writing and wanted to send it, but she said no need. .She could not fully answer me on the matter herself, but undertook to check with the people concerned, told me not to worry and that she would call me back the following morning, that is, today..It is now nearly 1,00pm .and I've received no such call..The usual. notification .by letter was not followed, .the unannounced dog-eared .slip in the door was a pretty shabby procedure and .the way the highly personal legal letter was delivered was disgusting. I don't appreciate the prospect of my name appearing in an open court, still less anyone forcing entry to my premises. when I'm perfectly willing to provide access at any time..I now intend to e-mail the LBBD stating in writing .what I've already offered twice verbally, a firm - or any - date for inspection, and. confirmation that the ridiculous application for warrant of forced entry is rescinded. It is this approach I'd like .your view on.Incidentally, the LBBD have form in these matters - last year I made two firm dates for the inspection to take place and on both occasions the contractors didn't show up meaning I. wasted two days. You may gather, I'm no.t best pleased with the LBBD
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Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is*****’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

I am perfectly happy to help but would you mind summarising your question?

I am mobile and I can't read all this information on my phone.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
OK, Jo
Annual gas check by LA (local authority)... no (usual) n.otification letter received, just a slip in the door which I overlooked. Now .received legal letter advising a Warrant of For.ced Entry to be requested in court. These are not issued until three or four noti.fications go unanswered. Called LA twice offering dates to enter pre.mises for the check, they promised to call back. They didn't. Am now going to write to them. C.urrently facing having my name read out in open court and premises forcibly entered when I've repeatedly offered dates for the inspection to take place. In your view is there anything else I should mention in the letter? David.

Oh ok.

Why don't you just attend the court on the date?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That's because my view is my name shouldn't even be read in any court , let alone me turning up in person for something which is totally spurious. unjustified and the res.ult of poor LA procedure) They. should accept the date I've given or any mutually acceptable date for inspection. And surely a waste of any courts . time.

Well, that is quite possibly true but the plain fact remains they have applied. They may fail. They may succeed. The only way to address that now is to go to court unless you persuade them not to and you obviously cannot force them. They can't be beaten with a stick until they agree not to apply.

If you don't want them to get a warrant then the only way to achieve that is to go to court and address it.

I really wouldn't worry about your name being read out. Local press don't generally hang around courts much anyway now and they certainly aren't interested in utilities warrants.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I think, Jo,.beating with a stick is a good idea, but .yes, a little impractical). I'm writing to them now as a formal complaint and along the lines of my original me.ssage. It just seems ridiculous to. follow this procedure when their. own procedure was at. fault and I've already told them twice verbally .and shortly in writing, that they can come in .whenever they like. Thank you for your comments. I may check back with you.

Wouldn't a better point for you be that they don't need to go to court as you will allow them access? Instead of making complaints and antagonising them, they are much more likely to withdraw if you negotiate

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
You don'.t know the LBBD!) .No, I won't be antagonistic, but will hammer home .empty purpose aspect. .

Oh no, they are unreasonable.

But that is the best way forward.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you, counsellor...

No problem and all the best.

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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
This for Jo C...I took your line, that is, converting the complaint to the LBBD into an observation that applying for a .Warrant of Entry was ridiculous, given I had .previously offered a date for the utility check and was stating again here in writing that they "could still come in then, or on any mutually acceptable date." No answer, but the contractor turned up. this morning - the very date .I'd suggested two weeks ago. Their .communication skills .are zero.. So tha.nks not so much for any le.gal advice, .but for your common-sense. I was mad that I .could have been dragged into court for the first time in my life except as a juror. .(and I found them guilty, as well). Anyhow, .thanks again, and all the best. - D

No problem.

All the best.