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View Full Version : Renting from someone with power of attorney-other complications...advice needed!!



Danni19
21-10-2009, 10:05 AM
Hello everyone,

Someone from another forum recommended this site as somewhere good to get advice from tenants, landlords and solicitors, so here it goes. also, i have no experience of renting property apart from student rooms

My friend/boss and her husband have power of attorney of a mans assets who is 95 years old and in palliative care, he will not be recovering or coming home. He is adamant that he wants all furniture to remain in the flat as well as his cat (i think the idea of it all being there keeps him going). Now my boss goes in there twice a day to check property and feed cat which she doesnt really have time for. She suggested that i could move into the flat as it would make sense to have the place lived in and have company for this cat. originally we all agreed that we would have a proper AST etc, the old man is in agreement. However, some distant relatives (who have had nothing to do with this man for the last 30 years) have started taking an interest in his 'welfare'. the man is fully aware of the fact that they are gold digging. the flat is all ready to be let, except for the electrics which are safe but dated. they told me that to have it all legal with AST they would be required to have the appropriate safety certificates and if they were seen to be getting maintainence work done so that they could let the property, these relatives may have a case to accuse them of using the man's money for their own gains. does this all sound right?

So, they have suggested that i move in without an AST. They dont want to make any money out of it, they just want my rent to cover council tax and i would pay my own utility bills etc.

i have a few more options ie i could get written consent from the man saying he is happy that im there looking after place and cat. i could also get the same from them.

my main concern is that if something went wrong i could be liable? and they could make me move out with no notice? they are good friends and i am almost 100% certain that they wouldnt, but you can never be sure. also, im not giving up a tenancy for this flat, i live with my parents and they would have me back if it didnt work etc

any advice is greatly apprieciated, thanks in advance :D

jeffrey
21-10-2009, 10:10 AM
It's risky. Here's some questions:

1. Is the Power of Attorney:
a. a standard Power;
b. an Enduring Power; or
c. a Lasting Power?

2. Is the Owner (O) still mentally competent?

3. Never 'move in without an AST'. Informal = problems; either do it formally or not at all.

Danni19
21-10-2009, 10:17 AM
It's risky. Here's some questions:

1. Is the Power of Attorney:
a. a standard Power;
b. an Enduring Power; or
c. a Lasting Power?

2. Is the Owner (O) still mentally competent?

3. Never 'move in without an AST'. Informal = problems; either do it formally or not at all.

hi thanks for the reply!

I need to ask, but at a guess i would say standard.

Yes i think the owner is mentally competent, but physically on his way out. i would have to check to make sure.

In your opinion, would getting the work done to get safety certificate for electrics be classed as inappropriate? They want everything above board if an AST is going to be taken out

westminster
21-10-2009, 15:02 PM
if they were seen to be getting maintainence work done so that they could let the property, these relatives may have a case to accuse them of using the man's money for their own gains. does this all sound right?
Surely any rent you paid would technically be going to the old man? - so the rent should cover the outlay on any repairs/maintenance etc. The idea surely should be for the old man to make a small profit (or at least break even) and have the peace of mind that the cat is happy.


So, they have suggested that i move in without an AST. They dont want to make any money out of it, they just want my rent to cover council tax and i would pay my own utility bills etc.

Arguably your friends would not be acting in the old man's best interests if they didn't charge rent at the market value (taking the cat into consideration) and make a profit on behalf of the old man. If they charged you nominal rent, these relatives might claim that your friends were allowing you - their friend/employee - to benefit at the old man's expense, when they could otherwise achieve a higher rent from a stranger willing to care for the cat in exchange for a discounted rent. (I suppose it all depends on the answer to Jeffrey's questions, and whether the old man is legally allowed to make a decision to let you - and not a higher paying tenant - live there).

Also, note that it is possible for there to be an AST even without a written agreement. Unless you paid no rent/extremely low rent then the tenancy would be an AST by default, and all the LL's legal obligations re safety etc etc would kick in.

mind the gap
21-10-2009, 15:08 PM
The problem will be when the old man does pass away and the relatives start circling. Will you (and the cat) be homeless?

westminster
21-10-2009, 15:14 PM
In your opinion, would getting the work done to get safety certificate for electrics be classed as inappropriate? They want everything above board if an AST is going to be taken out
If you had an AST, LL would have no choice in the matter. LL would be legally obliged to give you a gas safety certificate, ensure that the electrics were checked and safe, ensure furniture complied with fire safety regulations, install smoke alarms, provide an energy performance certificate, protect any deposit you paid, not to mention complying with s.11 repairing obligations (see link)
http://www.letlink.co.uk/letting-factsheets/factsheets/factsheet-11-landlords-repairing-obligations.html

Poppy
21-10-2009, 15:40 PM
Friends often do not remain friends when letting/renting to/from the other. (There are many many posts on the subject.) In fact, you’d by starting out with several clouds over your heads already. Why would you voluntarily enter into an agreement with such undesirable conditions?

If you really want to rent this property, keep everything formal by signing an assured shorthold tenancy agreement on or before moving in.

Telometer
21-10-2009, 15:42 PM
Any argument that this is an excluded tenancy? Is it the old man's home?


However, I don't really see what the problem is. You're currently living with your parents. You would be house sitting for the old chap and his cat. When anybody gets bored with the arrangement, you move back home. You have lost nothing, and gained your own place for a while at least.

Even lodgers, however, require a gas safety certificate.

Danni19
21-10-2009, 15:50 PM
Any argument that this is an excluded tenancy? Is it the old man's home?

hi yes it is the old mans home, he owns it. but my boss and her husband have power of attorney. legally they are quite within their rights to let the property out, however they are unsure as to whether getting the electrical work done and the money it would cost would be 'in the best interests' of the man, especially as there are some money grabbing relatives coming out of the woodwork. to have the AST all safety certificates have to be valid, they just dont want to leave themselves open for accusation if they spend the mans money on electrics so i can rent the flat...would these relatives actually have a valid case against them?

Poppy
21-10-2009, 16:09 PM
The hovering, non-owning relatives are not important to you as a prospective tenant, because you are not the owner nor a relative of the owner.

From this prospective landlord, you need to know:


you have been given an assured shorthold tenancy to read and agree BEFORE deciding to move in
there is a valid gas safety certificate
there is an energy performance certificate
that the electrics are safe (certificate not statutorily required in the same way as a gas safety certificate)
how the deposit will be protected
that the cat will be removed from the property before the tenancy commencement
that an accurate inventory is available to be signed by you on moving in day
that you can afford the rent and all associated bills

Have I missed anything important?

jeffrey
21-10-2009, 16:12 PM
my boss and her husband have power of attorney. legally they are quite within their rights to let the property out.
Are they? How do you know?

Danni19
21-10-2009, 16:20 PM
The hovering, non-owning relatives are not important to you as a prospective tenant, because you are not the owner nor a relative of the owner.

From this prospective landlord, you need to know:


you have been given an assured shorthold tenancy to read and agree BEFORE deciding to move in
there is a valid gas safety certificate
there is an energy performance certificate
that the electrics are safe (certificate not statutorily required in the same way as a gas safety certificate)
how the deposit will be protected
that the cat will be removed from the property before the tenancy commencement
that an accurate inventory is available to be signed by you on moving in day
that you can afford the rent and all associated bills

Have I missed anything important?

hi thats great advice thanks. the only thing would be that the cat would stay, and im guessing that can be put into the AST anyway. now ive just got to try and get it all sorted!! :D

johnjw
21-10-2009, 16:29 PM
I'd suggest that with a Power of Attorney your employers would be well within their rights in carrying out work to make sure the services in the property are safe.
Granting you a tenancy based on a properly drawn up AST and a reasonable rent, would be hard to find fault with; particularly as the old man himself is in agreement.

Danni19
21-10-2009, 16:31 PM
Are they? How do you know?

haha well i looked it up on the code of practice for public guardianship site...but i might be wrong...am i :confused:

the owner is in agreement...

westminster
21-10-2009, 18:27 PM
Danni19, I think it would be a good idea to show this thread to your boss/friend so they're aware of all the possible issues.