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satwant
13-03-2010, 13:23 PM
I hope somebody can help me with this please.

I have a flat in a private development of 235 flats. All the flat owners own the freehold and are equal shareholders. There is the management company consisting of 6 directors and a company of managing agents are employed to run the affairs on the instructions of the members of the board. I have been letting out the flat for the last 2 years to 2 very decent and polite young ladies. They keep the flat in tip top condition and the rent is in my bank account every month on the dot. In short, I couldn't ask for better tenants.

Yesterday, I received a letter from the managing agents that it has been brought to their notice that my tenants are running a business from the flat and that it is a breach of T&C of the head lease. I have been told to tell them to either stop running the business, but if they don't, I have to evict them within 7 days. I spoke to my tenants this morning, they agree that they run a mail order business from the flat but it should not worry anybody. No customers are allowed to come to the flat. The only reason the directors of the board have found out is that some times there are return parcels left with the concierge addressed in the business name.

I read out the letter to them over the phone and told them it is the management have a problem and not me. However, to safeguard myself, my tenancy agreement with them does forbid them running a business from the premises, same wording as in the head lease. They said that they can't stop running the business as it is their bread and butter and there is no way they can move out within 7 days but if given a couple of months notice, will do their best to find alternative accommodation. I just don't know what to do, if they refuse to move out within 7 days which is what I'm asked to do in the management notice. I can't just pick up their belongings and kick them out on the road. I'm sure I will get arrested for doing that. On the other hand if I don't get them out within 7 days, I don't know where I stand with the management, have no idea what action they can take against me.

What I'm finding very difficult to understand is that how is the management agent allowed to send out such a notice demanding an eviction within 7 days. It is clear it can not be done but would the letter making such a demand not be considered illegal, if they refuse to move out and the case goes to the court? I will be very grateful if you could please help if you have legal knowledge on this kind of situation.:confused:

Poppy35
13-03-2010, 13:47 PM
From what I am led to believe you cannot stop anyone from earning a living and what they are doing appears to sound no different from someone sell lots of items on ebay for example.

As for the 7 days notice to quit...........slightly wrong im sure!

Im certainly not the best person to give advice but perhaps on monday other members may be able to help you.

ram
13-03-2010, 16:03 PM
Unfortunately, it is not only your tenants that are in breach of T&C of their AST, but also you for allowing your flat to be running a business in breach of the head lease.

Suggest you write back to the Managing company, to state that as your tenants are sub-tenants, the LAW on Ast's requires you to give 2 months notice, and that you are happy to comply with the Managing companies request, and say, but you must obey the law, and you hope that the running of a business will no longer a problem for the M/C in 2 months time, and you have given them 2 months notice, as is required by the Housing act ( Subject to their current AST break clause, or periodic lease ( no AST agreement )

They don't need to know if your tenents have a valid AST revised every six months / 12 months, or that it lapsed into a periodic lease, just try above.

7 days is a shock tactic.

Be thankful they are not giving you, 7 days notice.

satwant
13-03-2010, 16:41 PM
[QUOTE=ram;197903]Unfortunately, it is not only your tenants that are in breach of T&C of their AST, but also you for allowing your flat to be running a business in breach of the head lease.

First of all, thank you both for your thoughts.

My AST states very clearly that the premises will only be used as a private dwelling and the tenant will not be allowed to run a business from the property.

Now yesterday was the first time I learnt that my tenants are running a mail order business from there, I can't see how I can be held breaching the head lease. The tenants have not denied what they are doing but there's no way I get them out so quickly. Even after 2 months notice has passed, its no guarantee that they will have found suitable alternative and I may have to go to the court to get them out.

What is really making me mad is that surely by asking me to evict the tenants within 7 days, I'm being told to do something which is unlawful. I would have thought that the management agents could get into trouble for this 7 days notice letter, which I'm sure is not permitted by the law of the land.

ram
13-03-2010, 17:56 PM
I can't see how I can be held breaching the head lease. evict the tenants within 7 days,

You have a lease, your teneants have an AST.

If a legal document says YOU cannot run a business from your flat, and a business is clearly operating from YOUR flat, you are in breach of the headlease, irrespective if you did not know, or have only just found out.

Many landlords give their tenants 2 months notice throughout the year and your tenents knew they were not allowed to run a business, especialy when they now have a "Business name", and probably a web site quoting YOUR address ? for return of goods.

What happens if the business goes under, and they leave, and have hundreds of claims for receiving money but not supplying goods, and summonses coming to your address for fraud, or court summonses to your flat.
The head lease is to prevent Mr. Plumber or Mr go-cart supplier from having his van parked outside and storing his goods / transporting goods through the premises, thereby making it into commercial storage premises ( be it mail order only ) - The list is endless.

I wish the 7 days notice was real, as I am about to do something similar, but am sueing the owner for transgressions by his tenants, as the owner is responsible to observe the head lease.

The Management company receive their directions from the 6 directors, when required to ) and if the 6 directors live in the building, suggest you write to them stating the nice young ladies just take parcels to the post office, and are not plumbers or drain cleaners etc, and can they see their way to let the ladies stay, provided the ladies have all mail sent and received via a Post office box.

However, in light of the "What happens if " - - you must tell them to stop running a busines there, or leave, but if they can give you an undertaking not to run a business from there and get some office space, that could also apease the Management company, in that a business is no longer operating from your premises.

Hope this helps, to either see that you must not break any lease, or find a way to observe the lease and your tenants can stay.

R.a.M.

satwant
13-03-2010, 18:33 PM
ram

All that is well and good, agreed that the tenant and I are both in breach of the head lease.

Thank god the ladies are only running a mail order, it could have been worst than this, they could have had clients coming over to the flat for other services and could have been advertising for these services in the local press. They dont want to stop running the business and want time to move out.

You say you are in a similar situation with an owner, do you expect the owner to physically kick his tenants out and get arrested?

The help I want is if somebody can point out to me if there is a law that allows an owner of a flat to evict his tenant within 7 days, even in a situation like this or worst than this.

What?Estate
13-03-2010, 19:19 PM
Firstly unless your tenants vacate voluntarily and surrender the lease you will need a court order to evict them. If this is mid-term you will need to serve a Section 8 notice and the grounds that you will serve it on will be for a breach of one or more obligations under the tenancy agreement. You will have to prove the breach, so you will need either written or photographic evidence that the tenants are in breach. This is a discretionary ground and you may find that the judge does not find in your favour.

You will also find that the managing agent is using scare tactics. They too will have to go through a number of legal procedures to find you in breach of your lease (Section 146 of Law of Property Act I believe) and it will take them longer than 7 days.

My recommendation is that you speak to the managing agents and follow up with an email or letter. Explain that you were unaware that this was the case and that you will proceed with serving notice on the tenants as they will not agree to terminate their business from this address. Explain that this is not a mandatory ground for possession and that if the court finds in their favour you will not be able to terminate until the end of the tenancy term. Ensure that the Section 21 notice is correctly served to expire at the end of the term too.

Make sure that you get assurances from the managing agent that they will not be issuing proceedings and that you will not be charged any legal or documentation costs in the meantime. Make it clear that you are doing everything you can, keep them posted and copied in on all correspondence and Notices to prove to them that you are doing so.

Good luck.

Ruth

What?Estate
13-03-2010, 19:22 PM
Sorry, still didn't answer the question.

No, the law does not allow you to evict the tenant in 7 days.

satwant
13-03-2010, 19:48 PM
What?Estate

That is exactly what I was thinking that there is no law in this country which would allow me to evict my tenants within 7 days, unless I use force to physically evict them.

The best I can do is to serve the tenants a 2 months notice starting from the next rent due date, 11 April 2010 and hope that they move out without too much hassle by 10 June 2010. If they don't, I may have to take them to court which can take another couple of months before they are finally out.

I'm very angry at the wording of the letter, which I feel has treated me like a 6 years old kid, in fact I feel that they are using bullying tactics. At this stage, I think the letter should have simply asked me to a have a word with my tenants to stop running business, otherwise legal action will be taken.

Its the 7 days thing is making me mad,:mad: they should know that it is not possible. If they are asking me to do something which is not permitted under the law of this country then what they are asking me to do, must be classified as unlawful.

What?Estate
13-03-2010, 19:58 PM
SatWant

When does the fixed term expire?

Ruth

bullybantam
13-03-2010, 20:34 PM
Just a thought, feel free to shoot down...

What if the registered address was elsewhere, then wouldn't your tenants merely be "working from home" which is quite commonplace and within the terms of the lease?

satwant
13-03-2010, 20:51 PM
Ruth

They first signed a 12 months AST on 11 November 2007, there was no rent increase on renewal in 2008 due to the financial meltdown but on 11 November 2009, new 12 months, no break clause at 5% rent increase, which they happily agreed.

Really very nice tenants, very hard working, keep themselves to themselves and bother no one. I will be very upset to be loosing them. Its a straight 12 months contract but sadly I will be asking them to vacate on grounds that there is breach of contract.

I really wish I could take some action against the managing company for employing bullying tactics, asking me to evict the tenants in 7 days. We all know that even the Great Gordon Brown can't get away with bullying people in this country.

mind the gap
13-03-2010, 20:53 PM
Just a thought, feel free to shoot down...

What if the registered address was elsewhere, then wouldn't your tenants merely be "working from home" which is quite commonplace and within the terms of the lease?

If the tenants are receiving business parcels at the property then they are conducting a business from there. Registering the company elsewhere does not change that.

I agree that this sounds a bit nitpicky on the part of the freeholder; it's not as though they have created huge amounts of extra traffic, or an endless stream of visitors, but that's the way it is. Even people who work from home e.g. designing websites, are apparently in breach of contract which seems ludicrous. Some would argue that it is the thin end of the wedge, I suppose.

Perhaps these Ts need to get parcels delivered to the house of a friend or relative who is an OO, and collect each day?

satwant
13-03-2010, 21:00 PM
I wish the 7 days notice was real, as I am about to do something similar, but am sueing the owner for transgressions by his tenants, as the owner is responsible to observe the head lease.


Ram

The 7 days notice is real, came in yesterday, but I just cant stop them from running the business or evict them within 7 days. What do I do?

satwant
13-03-2010, 21:13 PM
My questions really are;

1. Is there a way to evict the tenants within 7 days? if yes, then how do I go about it?

2. If there isn't a way within the UK legal system, which allows eviction within 7 days then are the management being heavy handed with me by asking me to do something illegal?

I am not really looking for suggestions that I should speak to the directors or the tenants register elsewhere or have the returns sent elsewhere. However, thank you very much everybody with all the super ideas.

mind the gap
13-03-2010, 21:16 PM
My questions really are;

1. Is there a way to evict the tenants within 7 days? if yes, then how do I go about it? No, there is not.

2. If there isn't a way within the UK legal system, which allows eviction within 7 days then are the management being heavy handed with me by asking me to do something illegal? Yes, they are.

I am not really looking for suggestions that I should speak to the directors or the tenants register elsewhere or have the returns sent elsewhere. Why not? if they are otherwise good tenants then it would seem to be the obvious answer, otherwise you will have all the hassle of a void period and having to find new tenants. However, thank you very much everybody with all the super ideas.
See red text above

satwant
13-03-2010, 21:24 PM
Thank you mind the gap,

This is exactly how I feel about the whole thing, after serving a 2 months eviction notice on the tenants, I would like to take action against the management for employing bullying tactics and asking me to carry out something which the law of this country does not permit me to do.

Are there any bodies to whom the managing agents have to be registered with? Like there is ARLA for letting agents.

bullybantam
13-03-2010, 21:43 PM
2. If there isn't a way within the UK legal system, which allows eviction within 7 days then are the management being heavy handed with me by asking me to do something illegal?



AFAIK a clause in a contract that involves illegal action is null & void...

ram
13-03-2010, 22:07 PM
Are there any bodies to whom the managing agents have to be registered with? Like there is ARLA for letting agents.

estate agents / managing agents are often members of the ARMA
(Their letterheads or website may show their affiliation to various bodies )

one of the proceedures ( of many to complain, is as follows )

===================================

ARMA complaints proceedure.
The landlord of the property or the organisation ultimately responsible for the management of the property is a residents company ( RMC ) owned/controlled by all or some of the lesseess, the complainant must take up the issue(s) with the directors of that company and, where appropriate, demonstrate that the directors support the complaint.
=================================== ( before the ARMA will do anything )

Therefore complain to the directors first, that the managing company, are employing agents that bully you, and seem unaware of the law and proceedures that must take place to enable a lawful removal of tenants / sub-tenants.

As i said earlier, 7 days is a shock tactic.
Tell them you will comply with their request, but you will do it within the letter of the various laws that currently exists, which they seem not to be aware of.
together with other advice you have been given on here.

Your aim is to keep good tenants, but if they can not observe the lease, it then reflects on you, and they have to go.

What?Estate
13-03-2010, 22:53 PM
Satwant - if the tenancy is an AST and does not expire until November 2010 then you still cannot serve them with two months' notice.

satwant
14-03-2010, 10:16 AM
estate agents / managing agents are often members of the ARMA
(Their letterheads or website may show their affiliation to various bodies )

one of the proceedures ( of many to complain, is as follows )

===================================

ARMA complaints proceedure.
The landlord of the property or the organisation ultimately responsible for the management of the property is a residents company ( RMC ) owned/controlled by all or some of the lesseess, the complainant must take up the issue(s) with the directors of that company and, where appropriate, demonstrate that the directors support the complaint.
=================================== ( before the ARMA will do anything )

Therefore complain to the directors first, that the managing company, are employing agents that bully you, and seem unaware of the law and proceedures that must take place to enable a lawful removal of tenants / sub-tenants.
Its no point talking to the directors, the chairman and dy chairman seem to think they own the development

As i said earlier, 7 days is a shock tactic.
It is this that is making me:mad:

Tell them you will comply with their request, but you will do it within the letter of the various laws that currently exists, which they seem not to be aware of.
together with other advice you have been given on here.

Your aim is to keep good tenants, but if they can not observe the lease, it then reflects on you, and they have to go.

Its a 12 months AST exp Nov 10. Tenants cant stop the mail order as its their living cant move until they find alternative accomodation, letter only arrived on Friday and I have not had a chance to speak to anybody other than the tenants.

satwant
14-03-2010, 10:23 AM
Satwant - if the tenancy is an AST and does not expire until November 2010 then you still cannot serve them with two months' notice.

Well, that is the dilemma I'm in. I just don't see how I can remove them staying within the law.

I have no problem if the letter had said that I must not renew this tenancy when it expires but how do I get them out within 7 days.

Ruth, what is the worst the management can do, if I serve a notice to tenant to vacate due to breach of contract but they dont move out til the end of tenancy in November? Could they take my ownership of the flat from me or take me to court etc?

ram
14-03-2010, 11:52 AM
I just don't see how I can remove them staying within the law.there is no point in having a lease / AST if you think you can do nothing for violation of the lease till the end of the AST.
The reason for the 2 months notice is BECAUSE they have violated the lease, otherwise there is no point in having a lease if you can do nothing about violations till the AST ends, as that would be a dream AST for any bad tenants, and tenants would rule the housing market. ( They could run amuck, throwing parties every night, etc etc, saying, you cant touch us cos our AST does not run out for a further 11 months ) -
But how do I get them out within 7 days.You have been told a few times that the 7 day request is totaly unreasonable, and a scare tactic. you don't have to get them out before 7 days, as no way could a court be convened to process your s21 in 7 days.

if I serve a notice to tenant to vacate due to breach of contract but they dont move out till the end of tenancy in November? Could they take my ownership of the flat from me or take me to court etc?
YOU give the tenants an s21 etc to vacate for breach of the lease, and there are many threads on here as to which forms to use, what happens if they refuse to go, court proceedures etc etc.

YOUR tenants are in breach of the ast / contract, not you. They can't take your flat off you.

You keep getting advice, act on some of it, issue notice to leave for breach of the AST, and they leave when they leave, with or without an eventual court order from you ( if it has to go that far with a court order to leave ) and the managing company are in error for the 7 day notice.

What would you do if your tenants refused to pay any more rent ( a breach of the conditions of the AST ) Would you tell them they don't have to pay, they don't have to leave till the end of the AST ( as one post has suggested )and can live there rent free ? -- No, you issue them 2 months notice to leave, ( for breach of the lease/AST ) issue the relevant forms to get them out and pay the owing rent. ( after they are in arreas a set length of time )
same with running a business, it is still a breach of the lease !

I understand your concerns, and it must be very stressing. But forget the 7 days, it was designed to scare you, and by your posts here, it has worked ! - so concentrate on asking tenants to leave, by issiuing said forms, and that's all you can do. You have told us they can not comply with the lease, it is causing you problems, so they HAVE to leave. ( you have my comments on what to say to the Managing company/ agent = http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showpost.php?p=197903&postcount=3 ( opens in new window)

R.a.M

satwant
14-03-2010, 16:03 PM
What I was thinking before posting here, has been confirmed by many.

It is clear that my tenants are in breach of contract. But they want to continue doing what they are doing. Its possible that I can evict them in 2 months but there is no way that I can evict them within 7 days. The law of this country does not allow an eviction within 7 days, no matter how serious the breach of contract is.

What I'm most angry about is the use of, "evict your tenants within 7 days" in the letter from the managing agents. Now if they are instructing me to do something which is not enforceable whilst staying within the legal limits, then by asking me to do this, what they are doing is, must be illegal.

The help I need is not what I can do with the tenants, that is now clear that they are going to look for another place but need a couple of months notice. The help I really need from the knowledgable ones is, how and what actions can I take against the managing agents for being bullies.:(

ram
14-03-2010, 18:15 PM
what actions can I take against the managing agents for being bullies.:(

Not a lot, as all the "federations" will do, is ask you and the directors to have a meeting to thrash it out. The minimum you could expect is the ARMA, or what ever they belong to, will remove them from their membership, but the ARMA and others want the yearly income, and have no powers whatsoever, but all the Managing comany will say, is -- sorry , we made a mistake, it wont happen again, and they retain their membership, and you can't fight a sorry, we were too hasty.

Unfortunately, you have not broken any laws by adhearing to the managing companies request, because you can't, after being on here, therefore you have not been inconvenienced, therefore you can't sue for damages, as there are none.

if they are to be "fined" for giving out misleading information, then you need a strong solicitor to advise you the best way to "hurt them", and financialy is the only option nowadays that firms respond to.

You don't have to be licenced to be an estate agent or letting agent ( both types can manage property ). And they work on a code of practice.

You could Contact companies house, who have the powers to instigate fines / imprisonment on Directors ( The six that you say think they own the developement ) But I don't think you will get anywhere on the 7 day item.

One suggestion is to write to the Managing agent, in stern words, as an extra to the one you are writing, ( to confirm your tenants will be leaving ), to tell them that you will not be bullied, and suggest they read the law on lessess / ( sub- tenants ), Read the Landlord and Tenant act, the Companies Act ,before they send out misleading information, and you will be contacting Companies house to complain if this happens again, and that means as the M/C represent the 6 directors, that the M/C will be acting on behalf of the 6 Directors if they try and bully you again, which the 6 directors would not be happy to be investigated by Companies House, due to the M/C's irresponsible and advising you to do illegal acts . ( Send copy letter to the 6 directors, _ Because -->

The Law stands at the moment :-
If there is a problem with management services, the leasehold’s argument is not with the agent ( the one that gave you 7 days ) but with the landlord, who has ultimate responsibility for the full and proper management of the property, E.G. the 6 Directors --

So any misdoing by the management, reflects on the 6 directors.
But the M/C - M/A have not broken any laws, apart from not acting in a maner to promote decent dealing, then I don't think you can have your pound of flesh. Annoying, I know.

You need to see a solicitor to advise what you can do.

R.a.M.