Housing association and police behaviour

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
What does your client want to achieve? Sounds like a right load of stress and hassle, I would've just moved my things.

It's not part of his flat so he doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Why do you think he doesn't have a leg to stand on? That's a genuine question.

It appears to me that the prescriptive easement legislation is quite sound. Did you read that and what did you think?

There have been cases where tenants have challenged landlords on this basis and won apparently.

Anyway, this maybe wasn't the best place to post about this as it seems some are already getting irritated.

Sorry... didn't mean to upset.
 

Haliday9

Well-known Member
He has no room for it in his flat,or he would have done!
I didn't say move it into his flat, I said move it.

He can't really expect to store his stuff in a part of the building he does not pay rent for. It's not his space.

And yeah I know HAs and the council can be really annoying and petty at times but they are all having to be really carful not to get sued at the moment partly cos of Glenfall.
 
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Haliday9

Well-known Member
Why do you think he doesn't have a leg to stand on? That's a genuine question.

It appears to me that the prescriptive easement legislation is quite sound. Did you read that and what did you think?

There have been cases where tenants have challenged landlords on this basis and won apparently.

Anyway, this maybe wasn't the best place to post about this as it seems some are already getting irritated.

Sorry... didn't mean to upset.
He doesn't pay rent for that area, that's why he doesn't have a leg to stand on, I'm just being realistic.

You didn't upset me at all okay :)
 

morenish

Well-known Member
Hi all.

Not something I'd usually ask advice about but I know lots of you will have something to say about a situation I've encountered and it might help me to help the person involved.

I've been doing some support work again recently and am supporting a guy who has quite complex mental health issues. He lives in a housing association property.

Just outside and to the left of his front door is a redundant area within a communal hallway. It never has any footfall.

He has a storage box there, a shopping trolley and his bike. Nobody has ever said anything about this in the apparently 20+ years he's lived there.

All of a sudden, at the end of January, he received an email from his housing manager asking him to move the items as they were a fire hazard. There's no room in his flat for the items so it meant he had a meltdown.

As I've had a similar issue myself recently I thought I was well equipped to assist.

How wrong was I. This went to a whole other level. This is why I need some advice.

I wrote to the housing association four times on his behalf. They never responded for 48 days. When they did respond it was in the form of serving notice on his belongings in line with 'The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977.'

They actually came to the flats and placed the notice on his belongings giving him until yesterday to remove the items.

There are other tenants with items in the hallways but they were not served with a notice.

This guy, despite his mental health issues is very intelligent and after getting over his initial meltdown, he looked into it.

It looked like they didn't serve the notice correctly as they made mistakes in the administration of it. They are supposed to have photographs of the items and estimated values. It also seems that this law relates to abandoned items that someone has left behind after vacating a property?

He's got a friend who is clued up on law so sought his advice.

He put together a formal rebuttal to the notice of removal and also issued notice that he could store the items in the communal areas under 'NOTICE OF USE OF COMMUNAL HALLWAYS IN LINE WITH PRESCRIPTIVE EASEMENTS UNDER (i) COMMON LAW, (ii) THE DOCTRINE LOST MODERN GRANT, (iii) THE PRESCRIPTION ACT 1832."

That's above my pay grade but doing some digging it seemed like he might have a case.

So he sent this off via Royal Mail signed for and his housing association received it and signed for it. He heard nothing.

I got a phonecall from the office today asking me to go out and see him as something had happened and he was losing the plot.

I went out and his housing association had turned up to remove his belongings. He was refusing to let them do it. I told them that he had written to them contesting the notice and managed to show them the signature of receipt.

The guy agreed to go back to their office and look into this as they hadn't seen the letter.

An hour later, I've just calmed him down and there's a knock at the door. They're back to remove his belongings. They still haven't read his letter and don't know where it is. There's two of them and my client comes out and sits down in front of his belongings saying they can't move them. They say they can. They try to get to his stuff and he peacefully obstructs them.

They then call the police. The police say they can't attend as it's a civil matter but the housing association should leave and seek legal advice after they've read my clients letter. They then say they will continue with the removal but they don't want to hurt my client.

The call ends and they try to push past my client but he refuses to let them past. It all gets a bit physical as they try to push him out of the way.

I tell them to stop and that I'm calling 999. I speak to the police and am told the same as his housing association were told... it's a civil matter and if a rebuttal has been served then they need to seek legal advice.

Whilst I'm talking to the police they try to push past my client again. I ask the police to send someone out.

The housing association back off after I plead with them.

About half an hour later two police officers arrive. They are given both sides of the story. They conclude it's a civil matter. They state the housing association think they have a right to remove the belongings. They state that my client believes they don't and can reasonably protect his belongings from removal. They say they can't intervene unless there is a breach of the peace.

Immediately my clients housing association guys push past him and start removing his belongings. He attempts to stop them and can't do so without having to physically pull their hands away.

The police pull my client away and have him up against the wall warning him to let the housing association do their job, despite saying earlier they couldn't get involved. My client continues to grab at his belongings and the police get rough with him and get the cuffs out. It's only after I plead with them that they back off but stand in front of him blocking him from interfering with the removal of his belongings.

Two more officers turn up and start talking to my client in a fairly alarming manner threatening him with arrest. I tell them about his mental health issues but I'm told "What's that got to do with it?"

I'm seriously out of my depth in this situation but I have a responsibility to support my client. I manage to calm him down but the housing association take his belongings and the police allow them to do it.

I've actually only just got home as my client is in a bad way. His sister came round and she's staying with him tonight but I'm very concerned about him.

Anyway, a few things don't make sense to me.

The police twice told my clients housing association to go back, find the letter my client sent and seek legal advice. And yet when they actually attended they said both parties had reasonable cause to believe they were correct, but they did nothing when my client was pushed out of the way by his housing association. But when he reasonably tried to protect his belongings, they physically manhandled him and threatened to arrest him.

That doesn't seem right to me?

It also seems wrong that the housing association just turned up without notice, then agreed to leave and look into the matter, but came back an hour later and got quite forceful.

I also thought my clients mental health issues should have been taken into consideration?

I understand the housing association feel there's a fire hazard, but it also seems like the law my client stated to them in the letter did carry some weight?

I'm a bit of nervous wreck after witnessing all of this and seeing my client very scared and frightened.

The police left telling him he should have just let his housing association do their job as they are the experts and know the law.

It's worth noting that he was actually given written permission about two years ago by his housing association to store the items in the hallway. We showed that to them and the police today but they ignored it.

Anyway, maybe I just needed to get this out my system for my own sanity... but I am worried about my client and wonder if there's any form of recourse in this matter?

Appreciate any input.

Firstly I must give you my utmost respect for the work you do. I use to work in a residential home for adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours and amongst many roles, I was the health and safety officer.

I do not consider the bike or trolley as a fire hazard, however the storage box could be. If these items are blocking a fire escape route, then, obviously they should be removed.

My first action would be, to contact your local Fire Brigade and get them to do a risk assessment.

Contact your local Ombudsman, Advice Centre, Police (re. their behaviour, judgement and their understanding of the law), your law friend and the housing association for their reasons of the decision.

Has the person in question got a Social Worker ?, if not, do you think they should be assessed for one ?

Is the person known to Social Services ?

Is the person under a Clinical Psychologist ?

Has the person been assessed by appropriate services re. their mental health ?, are they on an appropriate medication ?

Have you got managers that you can discuss this issue with ?

I hope any of this may help.

The best of regards to you.
 

Haliday9

Well-known Member
Firstly I must give you my utmost respect for the work you do. I use to work in a residential home for adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours and amongst many roles, I was the health and safety officer.

I do not consider the bike or trolley as a fire hazard, however the storage box could be. If these items are blocking a fire escape route, then, obviously they should be removed.

My first action would be, to contact your local Fire Brigade and get them to do a risk assessment.

Contact your local Ombudsman, Advice Centre, Police (re. their behaviour, judgement and their understanding of the law), your law friend and the housing association for their reasons of the decision.

Has the person in question got a Social Worker ?, if not, do you think they should be assessed for one ?

Is the person known to Social Services ?

Is the person under a Clinical Psychologist ?

Has the person been assessed by appropriate services re. their mental health ?, are they on an appropriate medication ?

Have you got managers that you can discuss this issue with ?

I hope any of this may help.

The best of regards to you.
Totally agree with this! My sister does it too and has helped so many people.
 

AndrewM

Standard Member
Wondering if you can look over what I've posted above and see if it's all proper and correct?

Not really my area of expertise, but if the claims are correct in that the HA did not also serve notice on other tenants, that would be inappropriate in my (non-legal) eyes, i.e. treat all residents who are in contravention equally.

As my original post, I would expect no storage whatsoever in the common parts, so my advice would be for your client to remove the goods asap, and chase up any actions of inequality with the HA following this, at least in this respect the safety aspect has been addressed and your client could not be accused of being a contributory factor should an emergency occur.
 

AndrewM

Standard Member
Bikes and pushchairs ARE allowed in my clients communal hallway, but his shopping trolley and storage box aren't. He's told them that if bicycle tyres burn they release poisonous fumes, but that his items are non-flammable.

They've never answered his query from what he tells me???

I'm going to see him mid-morning so will see how he is and hopefully know more.

An unusual situation, I don't know the specifics around the block, but if it is such that the common parts are the primary escape routes then obstacles in these areas would be a hazard (the general cut off point for reliance on common parts for means of escape is where the top floor of the block is over 4.5m above external ground level - generally anything 3 storeys and higher). Where the top floor is less than 4.5m above ground the escape strategy may be reliant on means of escape windows, as per a typical 2 storey dwelling), but even in this case, if less than 4.5m, storage in the common parts still presents a hazard, but not in the sense of being an absolute life safety hazard due to persons having an alternative route of escape (via an escape window within their own demise).
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
Firstly I must give you my utmost respect for the work you do. I use to work in a residential home for adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours and amongst many roles, I was the health and safety officer.

1. I do not consider the bike or trolley as a fire hazard, however the storage box could be. If these items are blocking a fire escape route, then, obviously they should be removed.

2. My first action would be, to contact your local Fire Brigade and get them to do a risk assessment.

3. Contact your local Ombudsman, Advice Centre, Police (re. their behaviour, judgement and their understanding of the law), your law friend and the housing association for their reasons of the decision.

4. Has the person in question got a Social Worker ?, if not, do you think they should be assessed for one ?

5. Is the person known to Social Services ?

6. Is the person under a Clinical Psychologist ?

7. Has the person been assessed by appropriate services re. their mental health ?, are they on an appropriate medication ?

8. Have you got managers that you can discuss this issue with ?

9. I hope any of this may help.

10. The best of regards to you.
1. The items weren't blocking an escape route. They were in an area that literally has no footfall. It's very obviously the case. The trolley and storage box are non-flammable.

2. My client asked about this in one of his responses. He was ignored.

3. You can't contact the ombudsman until 8 weeks after a final response to a complaint. He's put a complaint in. He's also put a complaint in to the police. Regarding reasons for the housing associations decision, my client received an email asking him to move his belongings on 28th January. He replied on 29th January, 31st January, 1st of February and 8th February. In these emails he asked genuine questions regarding the reasoning for the decision. He actually proposed solutions and provided some sketches. He even offered to pay for some of the work himself in order to reach a compromise. All of these emails were ignored. They didn't respond for 48 days and that was only when they served the notice of removal under the Torts Act. Because they hadn't responded he believed the matter was closed as their response time is 5 days.

4. No social worker. They were deemed to be too high functioning to need one.

5. See 4.

6. No. They were but were discharged as they were deemed to be 'well.' His only recourse these days is his GP but they just refer him to IAPT.

7. Yes, he's on medication and does take it religiously.

8. Yes... but they're not particularly good managers.

9. Anything is a help and I appreciate it.

10. Thank you.

I spoke with my clients sister this afternoon. She said that the thing that's troubling him the most is the injustice. He tried to engage with his housing association but they ignored him. When they served notice, which was not in anyway legally binding, he rebutted that notice and provided evidence of a law that can be seen to be perfectly valid in this case. They ignored that. He feels it was an injustice that his housing association were told twice to leave and consult a solicitor yesterday over the phone by the police, but then when officers attended the police allowed them to use force and when he tried to stop them, it was he who was restrained.

To be honest, I was disgusted by the actions of so called professionals during yesterday's ordeal. I was particularly shocked that police will refer to a housing association for guidance on the law because "they know better than any of us." But when they are shown something that challenges that law, they simply wouldn't entertain it.

One of the reasons I do this work is to give a voice to those who haven't got one. I told the police that they were overreacting and why were they not restraining the housing association staff. They told me to be quiet and started asking me my name, where I live, have I had any prior police involvement. I was quite shocked.

Even down to my clients rebuttal giving my housing association a timescale to respond and one said "You're not allowed to do that, only your housing association can give out response times." I had to educate the officer at that point but they didn't apologise for not knowing.

He also feels victimised as it was just him who was served notice.

I have other clients in the area who are with the same housing association and to be frank, they operate on a "We're right, your wrong, we don't have to explain anything to you" type philosophy. And from what I witnessed yesterday, the police endorsed that philosophy.

I'm pretty upset about it as I've not experienced anything like it before and the attitude of all the professionals involved was to shut down anything that challenged them.
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
Not really my area of expertise, but if the claims are correct in that the HA did not also serve notice on other tenants, that would be inappropriate in my (non-legal) eyes, i.e. treat all residents who are in contravention equally.

As my original post, I would expect no storage whatsoever in the common parts, so my advice would be for your client to remove the goods asap, and chase up any actions of inequality with the HA following this, at least in this respect the safety aspect has been addressed and your client could not be accused of being a contributory factor should an emergency occur.
Yes, he was the only one served with a removal of goods notice. He's asked why this was and was ignored for quite some time. The only time anyone did respond to that question it was along the lines of "we don't share what we do with other tenants due to data protection."

The goods are gone... the police allowed the housing association to remove them whilst restraining my client. To my simple mind, this means they intervened in a matter that they were not able to intervene in. I felt they should have seperated both parties to stop a breach of the peace. But they should not have restrained one to allow the other to remove belongings.

Just my limited view on what happened and with it being 24 hours later.
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
This is why the police get so much bad press to be honest. It sounds like from what you've said they've behaved very poorly, and frankly it's me being generous there really.

This below smacks of intimidation in order to control you throughout the incident.

They told me to be quiet and started asking me my name, where I live, have I had any prior police involvement. I was quite shocked.

It really does appear they took the option of what they considered to be the least hassle and paperwork; and sided with the HA out of sheer ease, as opposed to applying the law and procedure correctly.

From what you've also said it looks like your client has a strong case if you were to get a solicitor involved.
 

Ilovewaffles

Well-known Member
Yes, he was the only one served with a removal of goods notice. He's asked why this was and was ignored for quite some time. The only time anyone did respond to that question it was along the lines of "we don't share what we do with other tenants due to data protection."

The goods are gone... the police allowed the housing association to remove them whilst restraining my client. To my simple mind, this means they intervened in a matter that they were not able to intervene in. I felt they should have seperated both parties to stop a breach of the peace. But they should not have restrained one to allow the other to remove belongings.

Just my limited view on what happened and with it being 24 hours later.
Sounds unfair and badly handled, very traumatic for your friend.
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
An unusual situation, I don't know the specifics around the block, but if it is such that the common parts are the primary escape routes then obstacles in these areas would be a hazard (the general cut off point for reliance on common parts for means of escape is where the top floor of the block is over 4.5m above external ground level - generally anything 3 storeys and higher). Where the top floor is less than 4.5m above ground the escape strategy may be reliant on means of escape windows, as per a typical 2 storey dwelling), but even in this case, if less than 4.5m, storage in the common parts still presents a hazard, but not in the sense of being an absolute life safety hazard due to persons having an alternative route of escape (via an escape window within their own demise).
He's on the ground floor. You go out of his front door and there is a space in that communal hallway to the left about 6 x 4ft that never experiences any footfall. You then go out through a door into another communal hallway where the stairs are. Bikes and pushchairs are allowed to be kept at the foot of the stairs, to the left of the rail. The bike handles poke through the stair grate and are a trip hazard, but this is allowed.

My client has questioned the paradoxical nature of the policy but they don't answer.

I feel that if this went to court, anyone with an ounce of intellect would see it's all been one-sided and there are so many contrary statements coming from the housing association... but as it is now, they are acting like bullies.

I'm obviously not directly involved and can apply a sense of detachment and try to see both sides. And I understand the fire safety aspect. But it's how it's been handled.

We were looking at their Twitter feed today. Someone has been given 14 days to remove a pond because it's a fire risk???

I don't get it really.

I also don't get why the housing association are not marking an area in my clients car park that is for emergency services, but that people still park in, and has been identified by the fire service as needing to be kept clear. That was two years ago.
 

morenish

Well-known Member
1. The items weren't blocking an escape route. They were in an area that literally has no footfall. It's very obviously the case. The trolley and storage box are non-flammable.

2. My client asked about this in one of his responses. He was ignored.

3. You can't contact the ombudsman until 8 weeks after a final response to a complaint. He's put a complaint in. He's also put a complaint in to the police. Regarding reasons for the housing associations decision, my client received an email asking him to move his belongings on 28th January. He replied on 29th January, 31st January, 1st of February and 8th February. In these emails he asked genuine questions regarding the reasoning for the decision. He actually proposed solutions and provided some sketches. He even offered to pay for some of the work himself in order to reach a compromise. All of these emails were ignored. They didn't respond for 48 days and that was only when they served the notice of removal under the Torts Act. Because they hadn't responded he believed the matter was closed as their response time is 5 days.

4. No social worker. They were deemed to be too high functioning to need one.

5. See 4.

6. No. They were but were discharged as they were deemed to be 'well.' His only recourse these days is his GP but they just refer him to IAPT.

7. Yes, he's on medication and does take it religiously.

8. Yes... but they're not particularly good managers.

9. Anything is a help and I appreciate it.

10. Thank you.

I spoke with my clients sister this afternoon. She said that the thing that's troubling him the most is the injustice. He tried to engage with his housing association but they ignored him. When they served notice, which was not in anyway legally binding, he rebutted that notice and provided evidence of a law that can be seen to be perfectly valid in this case. They ignored that. He feels it was an injustice that his housing association were told twice to leave and consult a solicitor yesterday over the phone by the police, but then when officers attended the police allowed them to use force and when he tried to stop them, it was he who was restrained.

To be honest, I was disgusted by the actions of so called professionals during yesterday's ordeal. I was particularly shocked that police will refer to a housing association for guidance on the law because "they know better than any of us." But when they are shown something that challenges that law, they simply wouldn't entertain it.

One of the reasons I do this work is to give a voice to those who haven't got one. I told the police that they were overreacting and why were they not restraining the housing association staff. They told me to be quiet and started asking me my name, where I live, have I had any prior police involvement. I was quite shocked.

Even down to my clients rebuttal giving my housing association a timescale to respond and one said "You're not allowed to do that, only your housing association can give out response times." I had to educate the officer at that point but they didn't apologise for not knowing.

He also feels victimised as it was just him who was served notice.

I have other clients in the area who are with the same housing association and to be frank, they operate on a "We're right, your wrong, we don't have to explain anything to you" type philosophy. And from what I witnessed yesterday, the police endorsed that philosophy.

I'm pretty upset about it as I've not experienced anything like it before and the attitude of all the professionals involved was to shut down anything that challenged them.
I do not know your name, so I’m going to call you inspiration.

Inspiration,

I would pursue with the Fire Brigade, they are ultimate experts regarding this issue. The Advice Centre would be a good resource to use, providing invaluable help.

I’m sure you have done this, but evidence speaks volumes. Writing your account, the person writing theirs. Any mark on the person ? Photo etc. All communication in email form, witnesses etc.

I completely understand your point about giving a voice to those that don’t have one. Many of our residents were non verbal, but they did speak to me, they spoke through their eyes, facial expressions and body language and I did, in turn.

If I experienced this action, I would consider the law firms, advertising, no win, no fee. They generally give a free consultation from which, if anything, will give you an understanding of your rights, with regards to the law.

I’m afraid law is not my forte, I worked within Social Services, who obviously dealt with that. My main concern, like yours, was providing the best care and support that was humanly possible.

My colleagues and I fought both internally and externally for their rights. Budgets and quality of life being the biggest. I could go on, but I won’t.....

Good luck in supporting your person. I’ve often thought that support is just, not a big enough word, to describe what you and your like do for other people 👏
 
Ultimately it is a civil matter and not a Police issue as things stand until people start grabbing at each other etc...

However from what you say a potential assault or breach of the peace was likely to occur hence why they've probably told him (and rightly so) he could be arrested.

Irrespective of his mental health issues he still has to abide by the law and can't just go about doing what he wants albeit there would be safeguarding issues etc to take in to consideration eventually.

I do hope you get the situation resolved one way or another!
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
Ultimately it is a civil matter and not a Police issue as things stand until people start grabbing at each other etc...

However from what you say a potential assault or breach of the peace was likely to occur hence why they've probably told him (and rightly so) he could be arrested.

Irrespective of his mental health issues he still has to abide by the law and can't just go about doing what he wants albeit there would be safeguarding issues etc to take in to consideration eventually.

I do hope you get the situation resolved one way or another!
Thanks.

I think you have kind of hit the nail on the head here.

Nobody can just go around doing what they want. My client can't... and his housing association can't. They have to abide by laws too and can't simply ignore legal challenge.

But in this case, one party has been allowed to do what they want and one hasn't been allowed to stop it, initially by using formal methods, but then having to resort to physical measures only when they've been imposed on him.

Everything he's done has been ignored. He's effectively been gaslighted and made to feel like his legitimate thoughts, feelings and expressions of the law are worthless. This is how his sister said he feels.

It's been an eye opener for me personally and I thought I was beyond being surprised.

His parents are visiting him now. They don't live locally but were due to visit for a few days. Couldn't have come at a better time really. I've spoken to them and they'll deal with things for the next few days.
 

nvingo

Distinguished Member
On a public street;
Would the police just stand by and watch a mugging take place?
Would the police restrain a mugging victim so that the muggers could make off with the victim's belongings?
Is not the communal part of a 'council' dwelling, a partly public space, for access by service and delivery persons?

When the police restrain a person, they are preventing that person from carrying out their responsibilities and the police must act as a proxy and be responsible for that person;- if the person is a carer for elderly, disabled, a minor or pets, the police must arrange alternative - they can't leave a child not picked up from school, or a dog shut in without food/water or exercise; if the police break a door to arrest someone, they can't leave that property unsecured for looters.
So when the tenant was restrained the police should have acted in his interest to prevent the removal of his property.
I take it you recorded the badge numbers and identities of the officers?

The tenant's home is inadequate for his needs, there is insufficient/unsuitable storage for his possessions. Things like cycles, lawn mowers, outdoor sports equipment and gardening tools, should not be stored in the living space - is there no secure 'garden shed' supplied with the property?
The tenant has accumulated belongings since he moved there and utilised the communal area seemingly with the landlord's implied permission.

Why did not the landlord effect removal of other tenants' communally-stored property at the same time, a cut-off date for clearing the halls and stairs?

And the alleged leaving of the person who took delivery of the signed-for letter sounds like a tactic/lie. Can you determine whether that person has really left and if so, how long ago?
Also, somebody has taken on the case to have booked the removal job; their file should contain the documents that the previous person possessed. Can the tenant request copies of that file - subject access - which might even clue to why this action has come about (complaints)?
The area is only used by neighbours on the same floor?

The police should have given the tenant the opportunity to move his possessions inside, regardless that the property is too small to keep them.
 
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John

Moderator
is it possible that its not what the space is for in everyday life , but rather that it needs to be clear in case of emergency . maybe a refuge or staging point for firefighters in an actual event
 

AndrewM

Standard Member
is it possible that its not what the space is for in everyday life , but rather that it needs to be clear in case of emergency . maybe a refuge or staging point for firefighters in an actual event

Precisely, common areas have a multitude of purposes, with refuge being a significant one (albeit in this case I note the client is ground floor, so would be unusual in terms of the general regulations). On top of this, from a layperson perspective I don't think they appreciate the extent of the ramifications of their actions, in that when storing elements in common spaces, they could be blocking a smoke vent, or affecting the expected movement of smoke that maybe have been modelled via a CFD analysis.....there are so many permutations.

But..... touching back on the HA and Police conduct, they seem very heavy handed and out of proportion.
 

Kapkirk

Active Member
Whilst I really do sympathise these items (and the bicycle and flowers etc) are a hazard in communal areas. They MAY not be a hazard in the way you’re suggesting but they are in terms of they will impede rescue. If the hall becomes smoke logged all these things make it much harder to feel your way forward and potentially cause deaths of residents and fire fighters.
I totally understand that but as I pointed out my scooter would not impede rescue or the fire service carrying out their duties as they are tucked away in an alcove and not in the path of entry or exit. Also, the scooter is made primarily of metal and fibreglass which is not flammable, the batteries are not stored on the scooter unless it is being used.
I understand the council's position but they should also try to understand those of disabled residents and should at least look into providing a place outside of the building for those residents who need to use disability scooters. If they cannot address those needs in the building in which I live then I think those with similar needs should be considered for re housing in an apartment that is more suitable.
As it is at the moment if there were a fire in my flat, because my scooter is now blocking the hall inside my flat I would have difficulty escaping the flat and the fire service would not be able to enter my flat easily especially if it was filled with thick smoke. This was discussed with the council and the fire officer when they visited me the first time and even the fireman agreed with me but still the council later insisted I remove it. I'm sure there are thousands of residents in the same situation but council's don't seem to care.
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
1. On a public street;
Would the police just stand by and watch a mugging take place?
Would the police restrain a mugging victim so that the muggers could make off with the victim's belongings?
2. Is not the communal part of a 'council' dwelling, a partly public space, for access by service and delivery persons?

3. When the police restrain a person, they are preventing that person from carrying out their responsibilities and the police must act as a proxy and be responsible for that person;- if the person is a carer for elderly, disabled, a minor or pets, the police must arrange alternative - they can't leave a child not picked up from school, or a dog shut in without food/water or exercise; if the police break a door to arrest someone, they can't leave that property unsecured for looters.
So when the tenant was restrained the police should have acted in his interest to prevent the removal of his property.
4. I take it you recorded the badge numbers and identities of the officers?

5. The tenant's home is inadequate for his needs, there is insufficient/unsuitable storage for his possessions. Things like cycles, lawn mowers, outdoor sports equipment and gardening tools, should not be stored in the living space - is there no secure 'garden shed' supplied with the property?
The tenant has accumulated belongings since he moved there and utilised the communal area seemingly with the landlord's implied permission.

6. Why did not the landlord effect removal of other tenants' communally-stored property at the same time, a cut-off date for clearing the halls and stairs?

7. And the alleged leaving of the person who took delivery of the signed-for letter sounds like a tactic/lie. Can you determine whether that person has really left and if so, how long ago?
Also, somebody has taken on the case to have booked the removal job; their file should contain the documents that the previous person possessed. Can the tenant request copies of that file - subject access - which might even clue to why this action has come about (complaints)?
8. The area is only used by neighbours on the same floor?

9. The police should have given the tenant the opportunity to move his possessions inside, regardless that the property is too small to keep them.
Thanks for this.

1. This is how I see it. The police allowed it to happen simply because the housing association had a piece of paper with no legal backing saying they could. My client produced evidence to rebut that. He showed it to them and proved it'd been sent to them and received with a signature. Neither my clients housing association or the police were interested. The housing association were told to leave twice before this by police officers over the phone. The officers who attended decided to act contrary to that.

2. The tenants pay a service charge for upkeep of the communal areas.

3. My client is disabled. However we define that is subjective, but the government have seen fit to award him full rate disability benefits so that can be used as a measure.

4. Yes.

5. There is a drying area at the flats. It's a fairly big area, fenced off with a gate with washing lines. My client says that in the 20+ years he's lived there, nobody has ever used it. Tenants have apparently asked for this area to be re-purposed for some kind of storage. My client showed me minutes from a residents meeting four years ago where this was discussed. And yet three weeks ago, this drying area was being re-fenced by contractors.

My client showed me a questionnaire that was sent out to residents a year ago regarding this area. They have admitted they had responses from all tenants. They have used the results of this questionnaire to assert that it is not feasible to re-purpose the area. My client asked for the findings of the survey to be published. The housing association said this would be a breach of data protection.

"Implied permission" is an expression I've been searching for but haven't had the imagination to muster. This is effectively the basis for the law my client used in his rebuttal notice. He also has written permission for the items to be stored there, from his housing association.

6. This has been asked by my client and not answered apart from they can't reveal the reasons due to data protection. However, they have stated that all residents are subject to the same treatment.

7. The notice of rebuttal was sent to the issuer at the housing associations head office. It was probably received and signed for by someone on reception. The housing association claim to have not received it but said it doesn't matter what it says, they will ignore it. The only documentation the housing association posses is the notice they issued that was formally rebutted in the notice he sent which they claim not to have received.

8. Yes.

9. They did, but there isn't room. It's quite a small one bedroom flat with a tiny, almost square hallway. The police tried to enter my clients property to look around but I reminded them of their boundaries in that respect.

Just can't help but feel that the police assisted the housing association with removal of my clients belongings, thus intervening in a civil matter they themselves said they couldn't intervene in. If they had stopped the housing association removing the belongings, just stood between them and my client, nothing would have happened and the housing association would have left.

Above all though, my client is okay. That's all that matters really.

He's got two weeks to collect his belongings.
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
I totally understand that but as I pointed out my scooter would not impede rescue or the fire service carrying out their duties as they are tucked away in an alcove and not in the path of entry or exit. Also, the scooter is made primarily of metal and fibreglass which is not flammable, the batteries are not stored on the scooter unless it is being used.
I understand the council's position but they should also try to understand those of disabled residents and should at least look into providing a place outside of the building for those residents who need to use disability scooters. If they cannot address those needs in the building in which I live then I think those with similar needs should be considered for re housing in an apartment that is more suitable.
As it is at the moment if there were a fire in my flat, because my scooter is now blocking the hall inside my flat I would have difficulty escaping the flat and the fire service would not be able to enter my flat easily especially if it was filled with thick smoke. This was discussed with the council and the fire officer when they visited me the first time and even the fireman agreed with me but still the council later insisted I remove it. I'm sure there are thousands of residents in the same situation but council's don't seem to care.
It seems that what is happening is that these councils and housing associations are suddenly wanting communal areas completely free of all personal belongings. I understand that. But they are not willing to assist with helping tenants find alternatives and it comes to an unnecessary standoff like it did for my client.

My client submitted a sketch of how the area he uses could be gated and caged off to allow it to be used safely. He in no way demanded it be done but he was trying to work with his HA to find a solution.

The response was along the lines of "We want to work with you to resolve this, however, you have to move your belongings."

These kind of statements are contradictory to my simple mind and amount to what is commonly known these days as gaslighting.

I experienced this myself fairly recently with my private landlord but common sense prevailed there.

Please keep us updated with your situation as there are some similarities.

I feel for you.

Your story actually helped my client when I shared it with him. He didn't feel quite so victimised.
 

lynx

Senior Moderator
If this is your job in an employed capacity can you involve the management to pick the issues up? Obviously if doing this in a personal role the above is moot.
Is approaching one of the local mental health charities and option?
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
If this is your job in an employed capacity can you involve the management to pick the issues up? Obviously if doing this in a personal role the above is moot.
Is approaching one of the local mental health charities and option?
Management leave it to us... it's our job. We discuss it with them but it's left to us to see it through.

Made some progress today. Got an interview next week with a free legal service for him. It's for an hour so should be helpful.

Didn't realise he's got injuries on his arms. Bruises, grazes and some nail marks. Nothing serious but they don't look pretty. He took pics of them.

I've got a few days off now so will be switching off from this until next week.

He's got his parents with him and he's pretty calm now.

Thanks for all the input...
 

iqoniq

Active Member
Because at some point soon there's a good chance the Housing Association will find a way to terminate his tenancy.
Don't talk nonsense. There's a small HA estate not far from here and one of the families there are almost feral. Their kids have caused no end of problems with the police, out at all hours (they were apparently kicking off at 4am last week), and it usually ends up around here for some reason. The HA have had a lot of complaints, the police are fed up with it (there was the possibility of the house being "closed" on the basis of antisocial behaviour), but there's nothing much that can be done (ironically the kids who are the main problem are actually preventing much in the way of action due to some responsibility of care or something).

If they're not going to kick someone out like that, I can't see another HA making moves to kick a tenant out over what is effectively a disagreement. It's remained relatively civil (even the confrontation with the HA staff seemed relatively polite all things considered), the guy is trying to handle it properly, and not creating any other problems so why would they kick him out?

As long as the guy is up to date with rent, and not causing any other problems they're unlikely to try and kick him out. HA's have a lot of responsibility due to them dealing with a lot of vulnerable people, and are more or less endorsed by the council. They're not lone landlords with a portfolio, who would much rather kick someone out than deal with an issue like an adult.

To be honest, you have to really try hard to get kicked out of a HA place, and the only time I've seen it happen is when either the police have used their powers of closure (requires court) or the tenant has been crazily behind on rent (or any service charges - some places provide things like unlimited heating and hot water for a small fee). My mum is a solicitor, and occasionally has to deal with house associations, and she's always said they're far easier to work with because there's things they have to do to meet their requirements, and can't just throw a S21 and kick the tenant out.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Don't talk nonsense.

Nicely put. Been a while since I’ve seen a ‘My Mum says’ post. So what of the responses from the HA in this situation has lead you to believe that they act rationally and in the interests of their tenants well-being?
 

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