Outlawed Again!

Call up this website:


and advance to para 3.7 in the document.

We refer later to this case in Known Disputes in the context of the intimidation that allegedly ensued. However, in the context of delapidations this case elicits such serious implications for almshouse licensees that we consider it needs a dedicated web page.

By law (Housing Act 2004), local councils are responsible for the condition of all housing within their area. This includes both rented and privately owned homes. Councils use a rating system called the Housing Health and Safety Rating system (HHSRS) to assess the potential dangers or hazards present in a home. Furthermore, they have the responsibility to ensure that action is taken by landlords to tackle any such hazards. The HHSRS assesses 29 categories of housing hazard. Under this system Category 1 Hazards are those that could cause significant physical or mental harm to people living in a home. Under the Act a tenant can petition the local council to compel the landlord to abate the hazard(s).

So if your ceiling looks about to fall in or your wiring is a fire risk and your landlord is tardy with the necessary repairs, you can contact your local council and they will serve notice on your landlord requiring him to effect repairs with due despatch under penalty of such fine or other sanction as is prescribed by the Act. So far, so good, one would think …

Well no actually. If the property is an almshouse the council has no powers to enforce any repairs. So once again the elderly and vulnerable are outlawed, this time in the crucial matter of their personal safety.

The Act itself makes no reference to almshouses. Sufficient it is that councils consider themselves powerless when up against charitable trust landlords. We are not privy to the constraining legal imperatives but would speculate that they are founded in the iniquitous and flawed judgement in the case of Gray v Taylor.

Go now to The Charity Commission.