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  • FIRST POST
    archived user
    My rights and H&S re the communal front door in a tenanted building?
    • #1
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:17 PM
    My rights and H&S re the communal front door in a tenanted building? 14th Jun 19 at 7:17 PM
    My ground floor neighbor dead-bolts the communal front door from inside. It prevents me from opening the communal front door to my visitors using the intercom in my second floor flat.
    Is he legally entitled to do that?

    It's extremely inconvenient, I rented a flat with an intercom for a good reason... I expect to be able to use it whenever. My neighbor has no more rights than me so who is right and who is in the wrong? My Tenancy contract doesn't stipulate I agree to any special security measures nor did I agree to any.

    I have been advised that from a Health & Safety perspective, in a tenanted property, the communal front door must open from inside with a single lock action, meaning something like a Yale lock with a simple turning-nob (but definitely not using any bolts or keys).
    Is this true?

    I'm worried to call in a fire safety inspector to decide about it as I suspect he might find a lot of other health & safety failings which may jeopardise my remaining 7 months of tenancy.


    I want to know whether I actually have any legal right concerning the communal front door - certainly I'm entitled to have a working intercom (that's in my contract). I don't want to start anything until I know what my legal rights are.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by good_tenant36; 15-06-2019 at 3:54 PM. Reason: Making it easier. SImpler.
Page 1
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 14th Jun 19, 7:24 PM
    • 1,830 Posts
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    HampshireH
    • #2
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:24 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:24 PM
    Surely the bigger issue if that the lock is there in the 1st place?
    • z1a
    • By z1a 14th Jun 19, 7:24 PM
    • 2,320 Posts
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    z1a
    • #3
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:24 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:24 PM
    Just remove it.
    • anselld
    • By anselld 14th Jun 19, 7:27 PM
    • 6,428 Posts
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    anselld
    • #4
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:27 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:27 PM
    Have you asked him to stop?
  • archived user
    • #5
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:41 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:41 PM
    Thanks for looking at my post.

    I assume he has all the locks and bolts because up until I moved in a year ago the old boy lived here all alone. This huge house was once all his own, then apparently he sold it quite recently to his son who lives mostly in Europe (to avoid death taxes later I imagine). It's a 5 storey house, he's in his late 80's and very frail, I assumed he was scared living alone and overly security conscious.

    The old guy seems to imagine the property is still all his and still exclusively his private residence. Living on his own in his late 80's he can be forgiven for living in the past somewhat but not at the expense of my Rights as a tenant.
  • archived user
    • #6
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:43 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:43 PM
    I haven't asked him to stop yet because I need to know what my rights are first. His son is the property owner now and I need to be careful not to offend anybody or to come on too strong - at least until I know I'm in the right!
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 14th Jun 19, 7:50 PM
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    HampshireH
    • #7
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:50 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:50 PM
    Local community fire officer can offer you advice. Thry usually do home visits to check these things if there is a suggestion it could be a risk to life.
    • oystercatcher
    • By oystercatcher 14th Jun 19, 7:54 PM
    • 1,937 Posts
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    oystercatcher
    • #8
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:54 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:54 PM
    No idea on legal stuff but do you have his phone number? Could you phone and ask him to open the door to your visitors etc as it's not easy for you to get down due to disability. Maybe after a couple of calls like this he will realise the problem and stop locking up. Then again it could lead you to getting an eviction notice as soon as is legal.

    Edit , phone him as in every time you have a visitor so it's annoying him too!
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Jun 19, 7:58 PM
    • 49,558 Posts
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    G_M
    • #9
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:58 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Jun 19, 7:58 PM
    Is the old boy your landlord? Or (as it sounds) is his son?


    You should certainly be talking to the old boy simply because it's an issu with a neighbour and therefore best resolved in a neighbourly fashion. Bake a cake and invite him to tea......


    Assuming the son is your landlord, that raises other questions (I'll come back to the lock!)
    1) do you have, in writing (maybe on your tenancy agreement or elsewhere) an address in England or Wales for serving notices on the (son) landlord? If not, you do not have to pay rent. Landlord and Tenant Act 1987



    2) Do you pay rent directly to the son/landlord ie into his bank? If so, as he lives abroad, and unless he has shown you evidence from HMRC that they permit him to receive his rent in full, you should deduct 20% tax (his tax) and keep it aside. HMRC can demand it off you.
    HMRC (Non Resident [= overseas] Landlord Scheme)


    Now as for the door/your rights, yes you have a right to unencumbered access. I'm unclear if this bolt prevents access from outside too or do you have a key for it?


    If you can get both in an out, eiher by using a key outside or turning the bolt inside, then your access not being denied.


    The issue seems to be the inconvenience caused by the intercom system which is unable to open the bolt? I doubt this is a H&S issue. Though undoubtedly inconvenient.


    If the tea and cake approach does not work, then write formally to the lanlord, whoevr that is, briefly explaining the problem, and suggest
    * the bolt is not used, or

    * the bolt is removed, or

    * the intercom is upgraded so it unlocks the bolt, or
    * an alternative lock is installed in its place which is linked to the intercom.


    edit: I see the other lock is a 'slip lock'. Do you mean like a latch? Just screwed onto the door? If so, that is inadequate and the door does needs a 2nd lock, some kind of deadbolt/mortice built into the door.

    Last edited by G_M; 14-06-2019 at 8:04 PM.
    • another casualty
    • By another casualty 14th Jun 19, 10:12 PM
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    another casualty
    FWIW , I live on the gd flr of a converted Victorian Hse split into 4 flats. When I moved in , I noticed there was not a mortice lock on my own front door. . Just a standard Yale . So I immediately got a locksmith to install one . Apart from the obvious safety aspects of it , it's a must for insurance purposes.
    The communal door is standard , and works from the intercom as well as the Yale key when entering.

    My leasehold flat is run by managing agents , so this is seen as standard imho.
    I am not sure who owns your flat o p . I do think that what the old guy is doing is dangerous and awkward to say the least .
    When I was renting a flat for a few months before purchasing this , I got a knock on the door from a fireman who wanted to check the flat for safety reasons . He advised me that the landlady should move her alarm a few yards into a different spot . She being arrogant , disagreed. Still , it was good that the fireman visited albeit unexpectedly .
    Maybe if you could arrange for a firefighter to speak to the old guy ,just saying it's a routine visit? If the flat was owned by managing agents I'd be telling them ASAP .
    It's also annoying for the couriers who tend not to wait long at times .
    Has the old guy got a mortice lock on his own front door ?
    Last edited by another casualty; 14-06-2019 at 10:18 PM.
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 14th Jun 19, 11:03 PM
    • 2,240 Posts
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    BrassicWoman
    It means I have to schlep down flights of stairs to open the front door to my nightly visitors, postman and meal deliveries. I'm disabled and so this is extremely inconvenient.
    Originally posted by good_tenant36
    Sounds like you need a ground floor flat yourself. I bet the number of visitors makes him anxious. I would move.
    May 19 grocery challenge 100.79/ 200
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 15th Jun 19, 6:58 AM
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    bouicca21
    Others will know better but I think the landlord is required to conduct a health and safety inspection. Maybe you should ask whether it has ever been done?
    • Fire Fox
    • By Fire Fox 15th Jun 19, 9:09 AM
    • 25,148 Posts
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    Fire Fox
    I rent a 1 bed flat in the private rental sector, it's a FIRST FLOOR flat in central London. I'm on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.

    Currently to open the main front door from inside I have to turn a brass dead-bolt knob two times anti-clockwise and a second separate lock once anti-clockwise! Am I entitled to ask the elderly gentleman to stop bolting the front door and only use the single slip lock? Are the two locks he currently uses illegal - at least from a fire safety perspective? There are no other exits nor any fire escapes in the building except the main communal front door! I'm the only tenant in this 5 storey building except the old boy downstairs. The rest are untenanted flats.

    Any advise greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Originally posted by good_tenant36
    Thanks for looking at my post.

    I assume he has all the locks and bolts because up until I moved in a year ago the old boy lived here all alone. This huge house was once all his own, then apparently he sold it quite recently to his son who lives mostly in Europe (to avoid death taxes later I imagine). It's a 5 storey house, he's in his late 80's and very frail, I assumed he was scared living alone and overly security conscious.

    The old guy seems to imagine the property is still all his and still exclusively his private residence. Living on his own in his late 80's he can be forgiven for living in the past somewhat but not at the expense of my Rights as a tenant.
    Originally posted by good_tenant36
    When was the building converted to flats? Is this definitely a legal conversion?

    Agree with contacting the Fire Service. Also check Planning on your local council website.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
    • martinthebandit
    • By martinthebandit 15th Jun 19, 9:13 AM
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    martinthebandit
    Your rights?

    Really?

    Invite the old boy up to yours, give him tea and cake and politely explain your problem, discuss it with him and hopefully come to a solution you are both happy with.

    Because if it was my Dad and it came down to a choice of making him unhappy or my tenant I know which I would pick

    If you don't find joy in the snow,
    remember you'll have less joy in your life


    ...but still have the same amount of snow!
  • archived user
    Your rights? Really?

    Invite the old boy up to yours, give him tea and cake and politely explain your problem, discuss it with him and hopefully come to a solution you are both happy with.

    Because if it was my Dad and it came down to a choice of making him unhappy or my tenant I know which I would pick
    - - - -

    I'm not sure what you mean by... Your rights? Really?...

    Thankfully these days Tenants have legal rights
    which are protected by law. A landlord can't evict a tenant mid term because his dad isn't happy. My legal rights as a tenant are still valid and enforceable regardless of whether the elderly guy is my landlords dad or not. I have a 12 month Tenancy Agreement so any attempt by the landlord at an impromptu eviction would result in me taking him to court.

    All I want to know is whether I actually have any legal rights regarding the double locking of the communal front door as the double locking prevents my intercom from working.

    .


    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 15th Jun 19, 3:04 PM
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    TonyMMM
    Just try talking to him ......no need for all the "my legal rights " stuff at this stage, that's just going to immediately make things confrontational.
    • csgohan4
    • By csgohan4 15th Jun 19, 3:04 PM
    • 6,491 Posts
    • 4,373 Thanks
    csgohan4
    Your rights? Really?

    Invite the old boy up to yours, give him tea and cake and politely explain your problem, discuss it with him and hopefully come to a solution you are both happy with.

    Because if it was my Dad and it came down to a choice of making him unhappy or my tenant I know which I would pick
    - - - -

    I'm not sure what you mean by... Your rights? Really?...

    Thankfully these days Tenants have legal rights
    which are protected by law. A landlord can't evict a tenant mid term because his dad isn't happy. My legal rights as a tenant are still valid and enforceable regardless of whether the elderly guy is my landlords dad or not. I have a 12 month Tenancy Agreement so any attempt by the landlord at an impromptu eviction would result in me taking him to court.

    All I want to know is whether I actually have any legal rights regarding the double locking of the communal front door as the double locking prevents my intercom from working.

    .


    Originally posted by good_tenant36

    Nope, all it does is inconveniences you and not prevent access for you, as others have said, have you discussed with your neighbor or your LL failing the primary?


    Nothing stopping you finding somewhere else where the door is more to your liking when your contract finishes
    "It is prudent when shopping for something important, not to limit yourself to Pound land/Estate Agents"
    • markin
    • By markin 15th Jun 19, 4:17 PM
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    markin
    "Accidentally" snap your key in it, on the inside?
    • martinthebandit
    • By martinthebandit 15th Jun 19, 4:49 PM
    • 4,017 Posts
    • 7,088 Thanks
    martinthebandit
    Your rights? Really?

    Invite the old boy up to yours, give him tea and cake and politely explain your problem, discuss it with him and hopefully come to a solution you are both happy with.

    Because if it was my Dad and it came down to a choice of making him unhappy or my tenant I know which I would pick
    - - - -

    I'm not sure what you mean by... Your rights? Really?...

    Thankfully these days Tenants have legal rights
    which are protected by law. A landlord can't evict a tenant mid term because his dad isn't happy. My legal rights as a tenant are still valid and enforceable regardless of whether the elderly guy is my landlords dad or not. I have a 12 month Tenancy Agreement so any attempt by the landlord at an impromptu eviction would result in me taking him to court.

    All I want to know is whether I actually have any legal rights regarding the double locking of the communal front door as the double locking prevents my intercom from working.

    .


    Originally posted by good_tenant36
    You missed my point, I wasn't talking about you being evicted I was suggesting that going in blathering on about 'rights' and such like is only going to end with you not getting what you want.

    Tea, cake and polite conversation just might do though.

    If you don't find joy in the snow,
    remember you'll have less joy in your life


    ...but still have the same amount of snow!
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