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HairyLandlord
01-08-2009, 01:05 AM
I rent a house as rooms with unrestricted shared use of bathrooms, kitchen and lounge and in my tenancy agreements, I specify that a tenant can have a single person staying over for a short period of time.

However, I don't specify how often this staying over can be and so potentially, I am allowing a tenant to have someone to stay for x period of time, be gone for a day (technically) and then return for another x period, perpetually, without breaching that clause. Potentially, this could happen for all tenants at the same time!

I would like to restrict this aspect to, say, once in a 14 day period and would like to know if I can just write this in simple terms, or is there some special wording that I should use to make sure it is correct and not misinterpreted?
I would also like to know if I could restrict any further visitors during a period of time when one tenant already has a guest or has one coming?

And where do I stand legally by specifying this kind of restriction. Am I curtailing the tenants human rights or other freedoms/rights?

My reason for having such a restriction is because there are 4 single tenants and there are shared common areas, which aren't big.
If tenants can bring anyone (or more than one person) to stay over whenever they want and for as long as they want, then the house can potentially become very crowded, a circus perhaps and all sorts of issues can then arise, as well as greater wear & tear and potential damage and/or theft that somehow "no-one knows about".

I don't really want to restrict people's social lives, but in a shared environment such as this, there must be some rules and I believe it is upto the LL to make those rules.

In my view, the rule is there to enable tenants to have visitors while not upsetting the enjoyment of the other tenants accommodation and facilities.

Strictly speaking, while the tenants are on separate tenancies and are not liable to each other for most aspects of their tenancies (security & cleaning excepted) they do all socialise together and get along well, so it is more like a normal house-share.

Therefore, I hope and would like to think that tenants would talk to each other and plan potential visitors like adults and be considerate, but as the LL, I have to plan for the worst case scenario and put measures in place for this.

I would be keen to hear from other landlords who rent rooms about what they do for this aspect, as well as from legal minds as to where I stand and how I should word such a clause.

P.Pilcher
01-08-2009, 11:53 AM
Well, although I only rent houses and maisonnettes, I never attempt any form of restriction with guests staying over even if it is very long term. I also never wish to know what, if any, financial arrangement that this involves. My tenant is expected to pay the agreed rent. I have one property where my tenant has approached me and stated that her financial circumstances had changed and she could no longer afford the rent. She asked if her boyfriend could move in to help. I advised her that it was totally up to her. That was three years ago, my rent has always been paid in full, on time and whether the same boyfriend or another is in residence, I have no idea, but she has always been an excellent tenant.
If your tenant wishes to put up with the inconvenience of sharing a single room with another person, then I would let them get on with it, subject to HMO regulations and no excessive increase in utility costs.

P.P.

HairyLandlord
01-08-2009, 12:14 PM
Well, although I only rent houses and maisonnettes, I never attempt any form of restriction with guests staying over even if it is very long term. I also never wish to know what, if any, financial arrangement that this involves. My tenant is expected to pay the agreed rent. I have one property where my tenant has approached me and stated that her financial circumstances had changed and she could no longer afford the rent. She asked if her boyfriend could move in to help. I advised her that it was totally up to her. That was three years ago, my rent has always been paid in full, on time and whether the same boyfriend or another is in residence, I have no idea, but she has always been an excellent tenant.
If your tenant wishes to put up with the inconvenience of sharing a single room with another person, then I would let them get on with it, subject to HMO regulations and no excessive increase in utility costs.

P.P.

As your opinion/experience is only from whole properties, in which the issue of my post does not impact on anyone, there is no problem at hand in those circumstances. It would be different if you wanted to put the additional person on the tenancy agreement however.

But what do you think the impact will be on the other co-tenants, each of whom will now be sharing with 4 strangers (or more if others come) instead of 3 and the number of people sharing is an important issue for some people in home shares.

mind the gap
01-08-2009, 14:53 PM
I agree with OP that the situation is rather different from that in a whole-property joint tenancy where the tenants are (in theory at least) known to each other and jointly responsible for the property and bills, etc. Here, the expectation is (and it generally works in practice) that they will self-regulate to some extent when it comes to overnight/long term guests. In student HMOs for 6 students, I'm sure there are up to 12 bodies in the place some weekends - and although the LL may prefer that not to be the case, in the end, if they are all happy with queuing for showers, stumping up for increased elec/gas bills, etc., that's up to them. It's their home.

However...in a property let out as single rooms on separate ASTs it is different. The tenants have signed up to being one of four or five (or however many) occupants of a house; they may not know the other tenants; they know their guests/lovers/hangers-on, even less well. They should not be expected to put up with long-term 'house-guests' who have not been subject to the same character referencing process as the tenants (the 'guests' could be violent, drug-abusing, thieves... anybody, couldn't they?); apart from the added risk they bring, the chances are that the house which is an HMO, quite possibly licensed, will end up overcrowded. This represents a greater fire risk, exacerbated by the fact that the original tenants have no particular bond, or reason to look out for each other in an emergency.

I think this is a case for the LL being very strict about overnight guests from the outset and having the rules written into the TAs and making them 100% clear with each tenant who moves in. There is scope for a huge amount of bad feeling because a multi-bedroomed prop let out as single rooms is a fragile sort of ecosystem at the best of times. Given the difficulties of policing any rules, I'd go for something simple. Like 'one overnight guest per week - other Ts must be informed in advance - if any one T abuses this, others should be able to complain.' Alternatively, even better - get them round a table to discuss what they think is reasonable, and go for a consensus if possible. Go for a joint tenancy, even better!

There are no easy answers here - good luck.