Improvement Notice

What is an Improvement Notice?

Under sections 11 and 12 of the Housing Act 2004, a local housing authority can serve a landlord or person managing or in control of a property with an improvement. Generally, the requirement is that the improvement notice is served on the person having control of the property. Such notice is served where the local housing authority believe there is risk to the health and safety of the occupants of the property or visitors to the property.

An improvement notice requires the person on whom it is served to carry out necessary work that will remove or reduce the hazard. It may refer to the dwelling itself and to common parts that relate to that dwelling.

Copies of the notice must, within seven days of service on the person required to remedy the hazard, be served on the occupier of the premises and on anyone who to the knowledge of the local authority has a relevant interest in the premises as set out in Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 2004.

An improvement notice must include information on [1]:

  • whether it is made in relation to a category 1 or 2 hazard
  • the nature of the hazard(s)
  • any deficiencies contributing to it (or them)
  • the nature of remedial action, and
  • dates when that is to be started (not sooner than 28 days) and completed,
  • the right to appeal, and
  • the period within which an appeal may be made

It is an offence to fail to comply with an improvement notice without reasonable excuse and the local authority may do the work in default or by agreement. Since 6 April 2007, a local authority can impose a civil penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.

Landlords committing such an offence may also be subject to a:

  • (on or after 6 April 2017) rent repayment order
  • (on or after 6 April 2018) banning order.

The local authority must revoke the notice if satisfied that the requirements have been complied with and may revoke it partly if the notice deals with several hazards and only some are dealt with before others. An improvement notice cannot be ‘withdrawn’. [2]

In certain cases, an improvement notice could be invalid for various reasons, such as the notice failing to comply the requirements of an improvement notice or if it was inappropriate where the local housing authority should have taken alternative action.

An improvement notice can be appealed in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). The period within which an appeal must be submitted to the Tribunal is 21 days form the date the improvement notice has been served. The Tribunal have the power extend the deadline for appealing if it is satisfied there are good reasons to do so.

 

[1] Section 13 of the Housing Act 2004

[2] Simon v Denbighshire CC [2010] UKUT 488 (LC)

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