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tomcat
26-10-2005, 20:46 PM
I have had a tenant in a property for nearly 3 years. She has had some mental health issues, and on the whole has been a good tenant. Today, however, I visited the house to find the gardens completely overgrown (the back garden had lots of bird food on the floor, which I am worried will encourage vermin), the house was a complete mess .. rubbish everywhere, very unclean, cat litter tray in hallway, house totally smelling. I feel that house is not being kept to the standard I want. I am also worried about the tenant's ability to keep it in good order. I have not put the rent up since she moved in and looking at what rental values are like feel that now is the time to increase the rent up to its local value. I have a few questions - (1)what rights do I have to tell the tenant about my expectations relating to the interior of the house (i.e kept clean and tidy and rubbish out as it is a fire hazard), (2)we provide her with garden tools ... can I expect to keep the gardens up to scratch (3) do her mental health issues affect any of her responsibilities? (4) if she has support workers/agency helpers - what expectations should I have of them? (5) are there any limitations on how much I can put the rent up by?
Any help in this would be really appreciated. to be honest, I am in complete shock at the state of the place.
Thanks

DAMO
26-10-2005, 20:51 PM
In relation to (5) there is no limit to which you can raise the rent, although there is a fair rent tribunal through which the tenant would have to drag you if they considered your increase unfair. I believe 2 months written notice is required and it must be a rent day for increase - eg. if they pay on the 5th of every month then the rent goes up on the 5th of a month.

Energise
26-10-2005, 21:21 PM
(1)what rights do I have to tell the tenant about my expectations relating to the interior of the house (i.e kept clean and tidy and rubbish out as it is a fire hazard)

The same rights as your tenant coming to your home and demanding you instigate her preferances of homekeeping.

tomcat
26-10-2005, 22:33 PM
I guess it sounds like I want to dictate my standards onto her. I don't .. I am just concerned as the house is getting full of old papers, carrier bags, etc. Last year she burnt the carpet with a candle ... if she did that this year, I'm worried the whole place could catch fire because of all the rubbish. As a landlord, can't we have expectations that the house is kept clean, and well looked after? After all is she leaves or is asked to leave, who foots the bill to get it back to the good condition it was in when she moved in?

MrShed
26-10-2005, 23:11 PM
I have eliminated the unneccessary from your post.

(1)what rights do I have to tell the tenant about my expectations relating to the interior of the house (i.e kept clean and tidy and rubbish out as it is a fire hazard)

Zero, in my opinion. As long as the property is returned to you in a reasonable condition, then the period in between is up to the occupier. Personal standards of housekeeping is just that, personal and individual standards. If she wants to live in a tip, so be it. As long as it is tidy when the property is returned to you, so be it. If there, for example, was a fire, and her standards of housekeeping were to blame, then she would be liable. Whilst I do not believe that her housekeeping methods are your business, and do not think that you have a right to force her to change them, it may well be worth keeping a record of the standard of the property, to ensure if the worst does happen you do have grounds to blame her under. This is good advice regardless, as it can help you under eviction issues etc.


(2)we provide her with garden tools ... can I expect to keep the gardens up to scratch

Same as above. Unless you have specifically stated in her tenancy agreement that she must maintain the gardens, then as long as they are sorted by the time you have the property back, then she can do what she wishes.


(3) do her mental health issues affect any of her responsibilities?

No. Whilst I understand your concern, mental health issues are an illness, and any attempt to enforce extra responsibilities because of this, is the same as trying to enforce responsibilites due to any other illness, for example cancer or anything else. It makes no difference....mental illness is just that....an illness, and you should not discriminate against it.


(4) if she has support workers/agency helpers - what expectations should I have of them?


None. They are not the tenant, they have zero responsibility.

(5) are there any limitations on how much I can put the rent up by?
Any help in this would be really appreciated. to be honest, I am in complete shock at the state of the place.
Thanks

I am sure someone else will answer number 5. Hopefully the rest of the answers may help. However, I would urge you not to feel "put upon" by or discrimate against this tenant, you took them on knowing they had some mental health issues. I personally(although I must stress, this did not affect my answer...my answer is common sense) feel very strongly on the subject of mental health issues, and you seem to be assuming a lot based upon the tenants mental health issues.
I

MrShed
26-10-2005, 23:15 PM
I guess it sounds like I want to dictate my standards onto her. I don't .. I am just concerned as the house is getting full of old papers, carrier bags, etc. Last year she burnt the carpet with a candle ... if she did that this year, I'm worried the whole place could catch fire because of all the rubbish. As a landlord, can't we have expectations that the house is kept clean, and well looked after? After all is she leaves or is asked to leave, who foots the bill to get it back to the good condition it was in when she moved in?

Apologies, did not read the second post until after my previous post! It almost goes without saying that the tenant is reponsible for getting the property back to that condition(apart from fair wear and tear). But in the meantime, it is to all intents and purposes her property, and quite frankly what she does with it in this meantime, as long as she pays the rent promptly, is none of your business!

susan 2
27-10-2005, 09:54 AM
Dear tomcat - I had a similar case to yours. Although not quite so bad, and I can understand your worries. I asked the solicitor on the landlordlaw web site and she confirmed what the other forum members have been saying. That basically once you have let a place you cannot insist on your standards of housekeeping. But in your place I would be equally concerned. When she does leave it would be up to her to pay for bringing the place back to the standard let to her. However from what you say she may well not have the will to do this. And your property in the meantime will get worst. I think as you are so worried I would contact evoiromental health and your tenancy relations officer at the council and have a chat with both of them. Also if you know her support workers contact them as well with your concerns. They may not be able to do anything, but if her mental state is getting worse, they should know. Hard as it seems I would work on asking her to leave, as from what you have told us, the situation is not going to get any better. If you do want to put up the rent it will depend on when her AST is due for renewel. You can always put up the rent when offering a new one. It is then for the tenant to decide whether they want to take the tenancy at the new rate. Best of luck Susan