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Put on Notice

  • When a person (landlord, tenant, agent, trades-person) is put on notice they have been made aware and warned of a situation they cannot later deny that they knew about.  Once informed there may be a duty to respond.
  • This might be a blatant notice with a red hand pointing to it so that it is so obvious no one would attempt to deny being aware of it.
  • However, some notices are effective despite being more subtle, it is these that give rise to disputes.
  • If a tenant when asked "When are you paying the rent" responds, "When I get my loan through, and by the way my gutter is leaking", the landlord enquiring about one thing has been put on notice about another - that they must attend to the leak.
  • In such an instance Leydon Lettings was informed that water was pouring out from a gutter.  Important but not an emergency one might think, until discovering the ball valve had broken (the piston punctured the diaphragm) and it was actually the overflow pipe just below the gutter that was leaking - not the gutter.  Within a very short time the loft cistern had filled up and overflowed, flooding the lower floors.
  • The point of this anecdote is that the tenants put the agent on notice that there was a leak.  Tenants are not expected to be experts in identifying the exact nature of the leak nor the urgency or consequences of misleading information.
  • Fortunately, I was available and attended to be met by tenants with an umbrella - indoors!  I quickly isolated the water and mopped up and no serious damage resulted.
  • Who would have been responsible for the flood had this agent not taken it seriously and perhaps prioritised it as a non emergency until the next day to arrange a plumber to attend?
  • Once put on notice there may be a duty, potentially an obligation and a thus a sense of urgency to act, even if the matter appears innocuous and might wait until a more convenient time.
  • When put on notice it is best to act without delay and to assume the worst.  Drop everything and act!  This way one is less likely to be guilty of negligence.
Published: 29 September 2015 Last Updated: 18 November 2021