PDA

View Full Version : Quiet enjoyment problem - landlord built shed in garden



Wickerman
04-11-2009, 17:09 PM
Hi all,

Just a quick question...

I look after three houses for a beginner landlord (bought 17 houses in dire condition a while ago, problems ever since, we started managing 17 but are now down to three).

He has just built a rather large shed in the rear yard of a student property. He has builders who come to this shed and do work (assembling furniture, using power tools etc). They come and go at various times, sometimes as early as 8am, generally entering and exiting through the rear gate.

Tenants were never consulted. Power has been fed to the shed from inside the house. Tenants are on a capped inclusive rent (£120 per month) so are effectively paying for the use of electricity in the shed. Tenants have been woken up very early to the noise of power tools from the shed.

It looks unlikely that the landlord will stop using the shed, as presumably it cost a lot of money and it was built for a purpose (eg to be a base for his builders). Builders have also entered the house without warning including a time where a builder entered the house (while a tenant was making a cup of tea in the kitchen, in his boxers). Builder walked right past him and let himself into the rear yard. Landlord has meanwhile blamed us for not passing on contact details of the various tenants and otherwise slated us[1]

What can be done to stop this? It is fairly clear that he is in breach of quiet enjoyment. Changing the locks? Lock on back gate?



[1] It should be noted that one of the tenants is seeing a girl in another of our student houses, and she has given generally favorable reports to him regarding our competence in managing her house.

subjecttocontract
04-11-2009, 18:09 PM
What can be done to stop this? It is fairly clear that he is in breach of quiet enjoyment. Changing the locks? Lock on back gate?

Assuming the garden forms part of the property that has been rented then I see no problem with changing the locks in this situation and putting a lock on the garden gate. The original locks must be refitted at the end of the tenancy.

westminster
04-11-2009, 18:28 PM
Is the house let on a joint AST for the whole house and garden?

Or, are there individual ASTs for each tenant and the LL has retained right of access to the communal areas (which would presumably include the garden)?

If the former, yes change locks. If the latter, not sure - while the shed itself may be a breach of some kind, the comings and goings may be permissible?

Telometer
05-11-2009, 09:04 AM
No idea. Some thoughts:


Tenants are on a capped inclusive rent (£120 per month) so are effectively paying for the use of electricity in the shed.

So are effectively NOT paying for the additional electricity used? Or does their usage not reach the cap?


This is an HMO? So does L not have all sorts of obligations to access the property without notice - let alone rights - for e.g. cleaning, gardening etc.? Are - even on a joint T - Ts lawfully permitted to restrict their L's rights to enter the HMO?

Telometer
05-11-2009, 10:00 AM
With HMOs landlords are required to maintain the common areas in a suitable clean state, and I don't think the manager of an HMO or his representative has to give notice to do this, do they? On this basis, can the Ts legally change the locks? (Or at least, if they do, does L then have a legal requirement to break in and change them to something he can open.)


Anyway, you need to resolve this. There is a quiet enjoyment issue. Even if L is acting within his rights, there is a happy tenant issue. You manage the student house. You value your reputation as a letting agent. You should therefore:

1. Resign from acting for L; or
2. Arrange for the locks to be changed and bill L; or
3. Give L an earful and tell him to desist from using the garden.



When I was at University, the College had HMOs - admittedly not on joint tenancies and admittedly before current HMO legislation - where the communal areas were used by the College for maintenance/storage etc. activities during the day.

Edit: re electricity I think I misunderstood how your cap works. I agree with you.

mind the gap
05-11-2009, 22:14 PM
With HMOs landlords are required to maintain the common areas in a suitable clean state, and I don't think the manager of an HMO or his representative has to give notice to do this, do they? On this basis, can the Ts legally change the locks? (Or at least, if they do, does L then have a legal requirement to break in and change them to something he can open.)
.

HMO landlords only maintain the common areas when property is let to tenants on individual ASTs, not a joint one. In a joint tenancy situation, LL is expected to inspect the property, but has no more entitlement to disturb Ts' quiet enjoyment than a LL with any other kind of residential rental property.