Heat Turned On Landlords With Cold Buy To Lets

Liverpool council has won another case forcing a landlord to upgrade a buy-to-let home because the heating is considered too expensive for tenants. This is very similar to the one they won in 2012. 

Liverpool City Council had served a notice on landlord Anwar Hadi Kassim ordering him to improve the heating in a 100-year-old flat in the city’s Wavertree neighbourhood. 

In a long-running case that has been heard before several courts, Mr Kassim lost an appeal against the notice at the First Tier Tribunal. Tenants complained the flat cost too much to keep warm because they had to pay a peak tariff for electricity to run panel convector heaters and an electric towel rail. 

The council told the tribunal that the tenants had to live in unhealthy and cold conditions at the flat because the heating cost so much to run. They argued that changing upgrading to gas central heating or fan-assisted storage heaters was more affordable for the tenants. 

The case came about due to provisions of the 2004 Housing Act that demand a council takes action if tenants face a category one hazard that threatens their health or safety. The tribunal agreed with the council’s arguments that inefficient and expensive heating could be a category one hazard and upheld the serving of the improvement notice. 

Frank Hont, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said:

“This is a significant ruling. Fuel poverty is a real issue and it has now been firmly established that landlords cannot rely on inefficient and expensive heating for tenants. “We want tenants renting private homes to live in warm and safe accommodation and not have to have to choose between heating and eating. “This decision will have nationwide repercussions and will be welcomed by tenants throughout the country.”

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Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Act 2004 places a statutory duty on local authorities to identify hazards and to assess risks to tenants’ health and safety. Local authorities are required to use a system called the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)