Penalty Notice for Rear Yard Clearance
General Discussion

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320 Posts
4 months ago

Dear Forum.

One of our DSS tenancies was brokered by Oldham City Council (OCC) but was for a property within Manchester City Council (MCC) jurisdiction. We were promised ongoing support by OCC.

Crucially, OCC did not disclose to us that the family concerned faced a S8 eviction for rent arrears from their (then) current address (which fact one or more probably both parties dishonestly failed to disclose) or reveal the full degree of support that the subject tenant family would require.

The tenancy (which allowed for 5 persons in all) proved a disaster.

The family invited multiple others (girlfriends, boyfriends, children thereof) many of whom had continence issues,  and the total number of occupants increased to 12. They were unable to properly manage their recycling (having 4 bin colours to choose from)  and the Council collection team stopped emptying their bins on that account - even on the very few occasions that the bins were put out in time. The tenant family plus guests persisted in flushing wet wipes, kitchen towels etc etc down the toilet and the drains - predictably - repeatedly blocked. The rear yard became filled with fetid black bags of toilet waste and soiled mattresses, broken glass from our shattered mirror wardrobes, excrement from unauthorised dogs and cats. Our home emergency insurer's drainage contactor eventually declined to attend such a toxic environment. OCC's support eventually dried up, and it wasn't for many months that we were referred to dealing with MCC directly.

In the meantime, MCC rightly mailed warning notices and eventually a charge notice to us as landlords for failure to enforce the clearing up the rear yard. The notices were sent to two addresses: 1) our original address at the time of purchase decades ago and 2) the property address itself. Notices send to our original address were never received given the extended length of time which had passed. Notices delivered to the property address itself were criminally intercepted by the tenant family. 

We were eventually contacted by MCC via email and ordered to pay a clearance charge of nearly £500. 

We have appealed the clearance charge on the grounds that 1) we were actively and comprehensively engaging with OCC over the above issues over the subject perod and we were dishonestly advised by the tenant family itself that they themselves had done the clearing up 2) we didn't receive MCC's notices at the time 3) we were not advised of the tenant family's true level of dependency when first consenting to house them and (not least of all) 4) the tenant family's collective dishonesty (of which OCC must have been aware) and their criminal behaviour in intercepting our mail.

Our appeal has been declined on the following grounds: "Although you consider this debt to be unfair, I am satisfied the notice and debt has been served and raised correctly and therefore, this account will stand and you as the registered owner are liable for this debt". 

What does the forum think of this situation and MCC's refusal of our appeal?

Apart from not accepting any Council referrals what advice would you give us now.







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