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  • Legal FAQs

    Housing Act 2004 Section 239 Notice

    Hi, I was hoping someone might be able to answer a question for me. I was left about a year ago a small seaside cottage that is not currently occupied by someone who has passed away. There are lots of legal wranglings around this in the will and as a result the property has slipped into disrepair whilst it has been unoccupied. There are no tenants in the property and frankly I don't have enough money to do the property up so it is likely to be sold once the will is sorted. However in the meantime the local council have tried to serve a Section 239 Notice on the property. I was wondering though as it's not rented out do they have the right to do this? From what I have read this notice is to with rented properties. I am aware the council have a habit of doing things the wrong way round legally and I wonder whether this is a case of this?

    Any help/advice would be much appreciated.

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    Its the little turds at the Council getting busy because they think they might be able to screw a few bob out of you. If solicitors are involved, and it sounds like they are, then the easiest route is to refer the matter to them, and they should politely tell the jobsworths to **** off. 

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    Ha ha, that's what i am trying to do just need to be sure of the facts before i do, thanks for the advice.

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    Can't help you on the legalities I'm afraid but you say you haven't the money to refurb the property? 
    I'm assuming you're into property in one way or another as you are on this forum? 
    If the property will be yours without any finance or charge once the legalities are sorted  can't you use bridging finance secured on the property to do the Renovations them get a buy to let or similar mortgage once the property is up to scratch? 
    It sounds perfect as a furnished holiday let? 
    Isn't this the perfect opportunity for you to maximise the properties potential? 
    Remortgage Once it's all done to get your cash out to move on?
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    Thanks, might be something to do just not sure i have the time to organise at the moment but will bear in mind.

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    I'm sure there are subscribers on this site who might be interested in purchasing a seaside property...

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    If the property is still in the deceased name/ executors and probate has not been granted ( you say outstanding points in the will) then tell the council the estate is still awaiting probate. The only thing that can be taken from an estate before probate is funds for the funeral. They can't enforced any thing until probate sorted out as no one has the authority to deal with the property only make it secure and safe. Not a lawyer but the above makes sense to me and enforce the point to the council.

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    As I understand Section 239, it deals with more than rented properties. For example, 239(1)a allows them to inspect empty properties (see sections 3, 4 & 132 of the act).

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    The council can serve a notice under section 239 Housing Act 2004 if they wish to inspect the property. This could be due to concerns about disrepair or if the council are considering action, such as an Empty Dwelling Management Order. It is only a notice to inspect, not to carry out any remedial work. It is advisable to cooperate as obstructing access is an offence. The council can also apply for a court warrant to force entry if entry is refused.

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.

    Hi Richard, thanks for your reply. I am aware that normally the council need to serve notice on certain things to the legal owner.  In this case i don't live at the property and only received the notice by chance when i went to inspect the property. I am not currently the legal owner yet so they have not actually served notice on the current owner of the property. Does this make any difference as to the their right of entry to the property do you know?

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    Under section 246 Housing Act 2004, a notice in respect of an unoccupied property can be served on the owner by fixing it to the property. My advice is that you notify the executor or other relevant person currently in control of the property so they can liaise with the council.
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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.