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propertyangels
19-10-2009, 14:48 PM
Hi. Does anyone have any advice on suitable alternative accomodation for Rents Act protected tenants? Anyone have any experience of county courts in such cases? Hope to hear from somebody soon :)

tom_p
03-06-2010, 14:02 PM
I recently purchased a block of three flats in a pretty poor condition. The top floor has been occupied by a tenant since the 1970's (sitting tenant) and as part of the process of renovation I would like to move her to an identical and newly renovated flat on the 1st floor (floor below). This would allow conversion of the roof space.

I understand that it is possible to move a sitting tenant if suitable and equally secure alternative accommodation is provided. My questions are as follows:

1) do you need to justify the reasons for requesting her to move?
2) If so would development of the roof space be a suitable reason?
3) Does the tenant have to agree or is this simply a formality?

I get on relatively well with the tenant however she can be quite prickly and I would prefer to avoid the cost and agro of going through the courts.

quarterday
03-06-2010, 14:14 PM
I had a case exactly on point recently. Whereas common sense would dictate that the offer of a flat in the same building amounts to suitable and similar accommodation, the courts have unfortunately and despite the terms of the Rent Act 1977 backed tenants who have said that they prefer to stay in their own home even if only for sentimental reasons with the result that landlords have been compelled to rehouse sitting tenants temporarily only whilst carrying out works and put them back into their previous flat.

That having been said you might be able to induce your sitting tenant to move to one of your other flats, especially if you can convince her its better. Crossing her palm with silver might be required; even if as may well be the case with an elderly tenant, a flat lower down in the building would be easier than all those stairs. Be very careful not to be pushy or you will be accused of harassment.

An exchange of letters would probably suffice but ideally you should obtain a consent order. No housing advice centre would in my experience advise your tenant to agree to anything! I was appalled when our tenant ran to the local HAC who felt it was their job, funded by the taxpayer to try and negotiate a large sum out of us! Needless to say we didnt pay; tenancies under the rent act now number about 85,000 in the UK and the number is dwindling at approx one in ten per year.



Accordingly my advice to you would be to do up the flat on a lower floor as nicely as you might for letting sale, with good central heating and then invite her to have a look; with a bit of luck the idea of moving will come from her. You might suggest, for example, if the idea did come from her lips to cover the cost of professional movers and re-emulsion any rooms the colour of which she dislikes. And make it very clear to her that by transferring her tenancy to the other flat her right to security of tenure will be entirely unaffected.

We have moved sitting tenants, but looking back, no money changed hands, the accommodation was better suited to elderly tenants, warmer, smaller and in each case, interestingly enough it was at the tenants' request

post script

M'learned friend Jeffrey has set out below chapter and verse on the law on this very point; and undoubtedly he has corrected copied and pasted the relevant sectios of the governing act (s). However, as I say above, the Court does tend to make an order entitling the tenant to return to their previous home however apparently reasonable and comparable the alternative accomodation might be. Who was it who said "Hard cases make Bad law"?

You could therefore easily spend £20,000 in seeking such an order and fail which would result in you having the unpleasant obligation of paying the tenant's legal advisors, typically the local Housing Advice Centre! In reality the only way to go is softly softly

jeffrey
03-06-2010, 14:17 PM
T will almost certainly have Rent Act 1977 rights. The 'suitable alternative accommodation' case (akin to g9 in 1988 Act) appears in s.98(1)(a) of- and Part IV in Schedule 15- to the 1977 Act:

98. Grounds for possession of certain dwelling-houses.

(1) Subject to this Part of this Act, a court shall not make an order for possession of a dwelling-house which is for the time being let on a protected tenancy or subject to a statutory tenancy unless the court considers it reasonable to make such an order and either:
(a) the court is satisfied that suitable alternative accommodation is available for the tenant or will be available for him when the order in question takes effect, or
(b) the circumstances are as specified in any of the Cases in Part I of Schedule 15 to this Act.

(2) If, apart from subsection (1) above, the landlord would be entitled to recover possession of a dwelling-house which is for the time being let on or subject to a regulated tenancy, the court shall make an order for possession if the circumstances of the case are as specified in any of the Cases in Part II of Schedule 15.

(3) Part III of Schedule 15 shall have effect in relation to Case 9 in that Schedule and for determining the relevant date for the purposes of the Cases in Part II of that Schedule.

(4) Part IV of Schedule 15 shall have effect for determining whether, for the purposes of subsection (1)(a) above, suitable alternative accommodation is or will be available for a tenant.

(5) Part V of Schedule 15 shall have effect for the purpose of setting out conditions which are relevant to Cases 11 and 12 of that Schedule.

Part IV. Suitable Alternative Accommodation
3. For the purposes of section 98(1)(a) of this Act, a certificate of the local housing authority for the district in which the dwelling-house in question is situated, certifying that the authority will provide suitable alternative accommodation for the tenant by a date specified in the certificate, shall be conclusive evidence that suitable alternative accommodation will be available for him by that date.
4.(1) Where no such certificate as is mentioned in paragraph 3 above is produced to the court, accommodation shall be deemed to be suitable for the purposes of section 98(1)(a) of this Act if it consists of either:
(a) premises which are to be let as a separate dwelling such that they will then be let on a protected tenancy other than one under which the landlord might recover possession of the dwelling-house under one of the cases in Part II of this Schedule), or
(b) premises to be let as a separate dwelling on terms which will, in the opinion of the court, afford to the tenant security of tenure reasonably equivalent to the security afforded by Part VII of this Act in the case of a protected tenancy, or a kind mentioned in paragraph (a) above,
and, in the opinion of the court, the accommodation fulfils the relevant conditions as defined in paragraph 5 below.
(2) . . .
5.(1) For the purposes of paragraph 4 above, the relevant conditions are that the accommodation is reasonably suitable to the needs of the tenant and his family as regards proximity to place of work, and either:
(a) similar as regards rental and extent to the accommodation afforded by dwelling-houses provided in the neighbourhood by any local housing authority for persons whose needs as regards extent are, in the opinion of the court, similar to those of the tenant and of his family; or
(b) reasonably suitable to the means of the tenant and to the needs of the tenant and his family as regards extent and character; and
that if any furniture was provided for use under the protected or statutory tenancy in question, furniture is provided for use in the accommodation which is either similar to that so provided or is reasonably suitable to the needs of the tenant and his family.
(2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(a) above, a certificate of a local housing authority stating:
(a) the extent of the accommodation afforded by dwelling-houses provided by the authority to meet the needs of tenants with families of such number as may be specified in the certificate, and
(b) the amount of the rent charged by the authority for dwelling-houses affording accommodation of that extent,
shall be conclusive evidence of the facts so stated.
6. Accommodation shall not be deemed to be suitable to the needs of the tenant and his family if the result of their occupation of the accommodation would be that it would be an overcrowded dwelling-house for the purposes of Part X of the Housing Act 1985.
7. Any document purporting to be a certificate of a local housing authority named therein issued for the purposes of this Schedule and to be signed by the proper officer of that authority shall be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is shown, shall be deemed to be such a certificate without further proof.
8. In this Part “local housing authority” and “district” in relation to such an authority have the same meaning as in the Housing Act 1985.

tom_p
03-06-2010, 14:35 PM
As far as my case is concerned, all of the above criteria for suitability would be met as the new flat is identical to the current one (except it is newly renovated) and could be let with all the existing rights of the tenant still in place. My concern are how the court defines "reasonable grounds", since as post 2 highlights it is hard to combat an argument based on grounds of sentimentality.

quarterday
03-06-2010, 14:45 PM
every time you think of going to the law to permanently move a sitting tenant, grab a large saucepan and hit yourself over the head until the idea goes out of your mind. I thought exactly the same as you - identical factual matrix, and lost! And my barrister told me that the solicitor we used ought to have known that nowadays the county court judges are very loathed to enforce a sitting tenant to move.

You'd be much better off to follow my advice and offer her, if she is interested a couple or even a few thousand pounds ex gratia if she would care to transfer her tenancy to your other flat. Such a sum would be a mere bud on a burgeoning sapling of legal costs you will incur and most likely to no effect. Believe me, this is not one to litigate!

jeffrey
03-06-2010, 14:47 PM
As far as my case is concerned, all of the above criteria for suitability would be met as the new flat is identical to the current one (except it is newly renovated) and could be let with all the existing rights of the tenant still in place. My concern are how the court defines "reasonable grounds", since as post 2 highlights it is hard to combat an argument based on grounds of sentimentality.
You'll need to comply with Schedule 15: produce either the Local Housing Authority's certificate [para. 3] or the evidence demanded by para. 4.
NOTE: the new letting will, I think, be a RENT ACT TENANCY.

quarterday
03-06-2010, 14:49 PM
You'll need to comply with Schedule 15: produce either the Local Housing Authority's certificate [para. 3] or the evidence demanded by para. 4.
NOTE: the new letting will, I think, be a RENT ACT TENANCY.





It will not be a new letting; it will be a transfer to different accommodation of an existing tenancy. It will indeed be the same rent act tenancy.

tom_p
03-06-2010, 15:07 PM
Thanks for your advice and you're probably right that incentives are the easiest way to encourage her to move. No one whats to use the law so a new kitchen and bathroom will hopefully do it.

Many thanks.

jeffrey
03-06-2010, 15:11 PM
It will not be a new letting; it will be a transfer to different accommodation of an existing tenancy. It will indeed be the same rent act tenancy.
No, it won't. A tenancy cannot be transplanted from property1 to property2. It will be a new letting, albeit within the 1977 Act.

quarterday
04-06-2010, 04:48 AM
I think not Jeffrey, for if it was a "new letting" under the rent act, there would be rights to wholly new successors, whereas the person being moved might be the last successor (ie daughter of a widow to whom a tenancy has devolved); substituting accommodation is possible under the same tenancy agreement.
If a tenant is temporarily moved out for works into a much larger house, he still holds it -albeit temporarily- by virtue of the original rent act tenancy.

jeffrey
04-06-2010, 10:51 AM
I think not Jeffrey, for if it was a "new letting" under the rent act, there would be rights to wholly new successors, whereas the person being moved might be the last successor (ie daughter of a widow to whom a tenancy has devolved); substituting accommodation is possible under the same tenancy agreement.
If a tenant is temporarily moved out for works into a much larger house, he still holds it -albeit temporarily- by virtue of the original rent act tenancy.
Still no. A tenancy is not transplantable. End of.

Interlaken
04-06-2010, 13:10 PM
If the tenant moved to this new flat could the rent be increased to reflect the more salubrious surroundings? I have a relative in this very situation at the moment who won't move out for repairs in case he is charged more rent. Consequently he is living in 1950's conditions - only electric fires and poor state windows and doors.

In this case the landlord applies bi-annually to have the rent increased - this time it was by £44 a month.

jeffrey
04-06-2010, 13:22 PM
Yes, it can be increased. However, the letting is governed by the Rent Act 1977. This limits L's power to increase rent and involves the Rent Officer.

quarterday
04-06-2010, 15:17 PM
Originally Posted by jeffrey
You'll need to comply with Schedule 15: produce either the Local Housing Authority's certificate [para. 3] or the evidence demanded by para. 4.
NOTE: the new letting will, I think, be a RENT ACT TENANCY.


Posted by Quarterday

It will not be a new letting; it will be a transfer to different accommodation of an existing tenancy. It will indeed be the same rent act tenancy.




Jeffrey : Do you at least agree that if a tenant who is a second successor is moved, no additional and further successors to the original tenancy are entitled to succeed to what you consider to be a new rent act tenancy? If so, this must surely prove that it is in fact the original statutory tenancy in respect of which the accommodation has been substituted.

If you were right that A NEW RENT ACT tenancy is being created it is unlikely that any landlord would ever have been prepared to move a tenant (or as is so often the case today) a successor to a rent act tenancy.

Furthermore, I do not believe by statute a New Rent Act tenancy can be created; only succession rights remain.

jeffrey
04-06-2010, 15:22 PM
Jeffrey : Do you at least agree that if a tenant who is a second successor is moved, no additional and further successors to the original tenancy are entitled to succeed to what you consider to be a new rent act tenancy?
Yes, I do agree. Clearly, the new letting is in substitution for the old one. But it's not the same tenancy, no matter how it arises.

quarterday
05-06-2010, 12:17 PM
I am curious to research the byzantine byways of the Rent Act further to find an answer, and am still of the view expressed earlier, that a relocated tenant is still a tenant under the original tenancy. However, as tenancies under the Rent act are in reality governed by statute rather than an agreement, and indeed it is very rare for a rent act tenant to have a written agreement, the difference is pretty academic save for one point.

Under the rent capping legislation, there is a very small number of exemptions to the application of the cap, one of which is where the application for "fair" rent is a first registration. If Geoffrey were right that is a new tenancy created by subsitutute alternative accomodation, it would mean that any landlord rehousing a tenant could get round the rent cap rules, whereas our friends in (what used to called) the Rent Officer Service do not consider a relocated tenant a new tenancy - and- hence exempt the rent capping order if the tenant has previously had a rent registered albeit at another address.

What does Megarry have to say? Does anyone have a copy to hand??

jeffrey
06-06-2010, 21:44 PM
Geoffrey
Who's that, then?

jeffrey
14-06-2010, 16:25 PM
I am curious to research the byzantine byways of the Rent Act further to find an answer, and am still of the view expressed earlier, that a relocated tenant is still a tenant under the original tenancy. However, as tenancies under the Rent act are in reality governed by statute rather than an agreement, and indeed it is very rare for a rent act tenant to have a written agreement, the difference is pretty academic save for one point.

Under the rent capping legislation, there is a very small number of exemptions to the application of the cap, one of which is where the application for "fair" rent is a first registration. If Jeffrey were right that is a new tenancy created by subsitutute alternative accomodation, it would mean that any landlord rehousing a tenant could get round the rent cap rules, whereas our friends in (what used to called) the Rent Officer Service do not consider a relocated tenant a new tenancy - and- hence exempt the rent capping order if the tenant has previously had a rent registered albeit at another address.
I have found s.39 of Housing Act 1988. Does this help?

Where there is (on/after 15 Jan. 1989) succession to a 1977 Act letting, Part I of Schedule 4 to the 1988 Act amends Part I of Schedule 1 to the 1977 Act. The successor acquires, by s.39(5), a special statutory assured periodic tenancy largely following the 1977 Act tenancy's conditions [s.39(6)].