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HappyFriendlyLL
16-02-2007, 22:05 PM
Hi,

I am new to renting out property and recently rented a 2 bedroom flat to a single person. They told me that they would be living there alone. I found this a little hard to believe so tried to make it clear that if anyone else will be living there permanently then their name needs to be on the contract in the form of a joint tenancy.

Soon after the tenant had moved in I came to look at a problem in the flat and found another person in the flat who when asked confirmed that they were also staying there. Minutes later another person came through the front door. When I asked the sole tenant about this I was told that they were friends and wouldn't be staying long. I then made it clear that the agreement that had been signed states that a guest is not allowed to stay any longer than 3 weeks at any one time.

3 weeks have gone by and they are still staying in the flat. Having spoken to one of the new people it seems that they are planning to stay for the duration of the contract (6 months).

What is my best course of action, turn a blind eye to it as long as rent is paid on time and no problems are caused or insist that the other people living there have their names added to the contract? Also do I have grounds to chrage extra rent or increase the deposit?

Would be very grateful of any advice on the issue,

Thanks

MrShed
16-02-2007, 22:20 PM
- You have no ground to charge extra rent or increase the deposit.

- There isn't a great deal you can do at removing "guests" - that term in the agreement is an unfair one as it impacts on the tenants quiet enjoyment of the property, you would not be able to enforce it IMO.

- What does your AST say about subletting?

Bel
16-02-2007, 23:48 PM
You may be interested in this thread on similar issue http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=4606&highlight=lodger

If the tenant is living in the house with the 2 new people, she is not subletting; she has taken in lodgers.

As you agreement is for 6 months; it would be easy to put up the rent a little after the fixed term has ended; as 3 people cause more wear and tear to a property than 1.

If the rent is paid on time and otherwise they are helpful you may want to turn a blind eye to it.

If there are three unrelated people in a tenancy; the house becomes an HMO (house of multiple occupation), which may require more fire prevention measures to be installed. By letting your tenant have 2 lodgers, I believe that it is not an HMO. 2 lodges is the maximum one family can have in a home without it being an HMO. Members, corrrect me if I am wrong on that. So this may be more preferable for you.

HappyFriendlyLL
17-02-2007, 10:25 AM
Hi,

Thanks for the replies,

The contract states:

"Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld"

"Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period"

Surely the tenant has signed this agreement so they should be aware of these terms and are subsequently in breach of the agreement. So there is nothing I can do about the tenant turning the lounge into a bedroom and charging rent to the extra people?

At present the 2 extra people are not causing any obvious problems and the first rent is not due till the end of the month so I'll see what happends then.

Thanks

MrShed
17-02-2007, 10:34 AM
Contract terms can not override the tenants rights as set in statute.

Bel
17-02-2007, 10:45 AM
Hi,

Thanks for the replies,

The contract states:

"Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld"

"Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period"

Surely the tenant has signed this agreement so they should be aware of these terms and are subsequently in breach of the agreement. So there is nothing I can do about the tenant turning the lounge into a bedroom and charging rent to the extra people?

At present the 2 extra people are not causing any obvious problems and the first rent is not due till the end of the month so I'll see what happends then.

Thanks

She has breached your agreement. You could point this out to her. But it is not a serious breach. It is not enough to merit court action. She will probably ask your permission retrospectively; and according to your contract, you cannot unreasonably withold it. I think it would be reasonable to allow one extra as there are 2 bedrooms, but you could object to 2, as this makes an HMO if they become joint tenants.

You could also ask for a fee to get them credit checked before you allow them to become co-tenants, rather than her lodgers.

You could say that if she doesnt get rid of her lodgers , then you will not be wanting to continue the tenancy after the fixed term; just serve the section 21 notice to expire after the fixed period has finished, and hope that she goes quietly. Any lack of cooperation on her part will obviously affect the kind of reference you will be able to give to any future landlord; this may matter to her or it may not.

The easiest thing would be not to rock the boat and just see what happens.

Bel
17-02-2007, 10:48 AM
Contract terms can not override the tenants rights as set in statute.

"Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld"

"Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period"

Are you saying that these are both "unfair terms" and cannot be enforced Mr shed?

MrShed
17-02-2007, 11:03 AM
No Bel, I am saying the second part is.

PaulF
17-02-2007, 12:06 PM
"Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld" You can state the tenant cannot assign OR sub-let, but not both, otherwise it is a potential unfair term.

"Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period" This would be unfair.

It is not a case of not being able to enforce potential unfair tems as only the courts can decide but it would be unwise to go against the guidelines for obvious reasons.

MrShed
17-02-2007, 12:07 PM
Paul is the first term not OK as it has the magic words "permission will not be unreasonably withheld"? IE it does not have a blanket ban on either assignment or subletting?

HappyFriendlyLL
17-02-2007, 19:49 PM
Thanks everyone for the replies :)

Taking all the above into account I think I will leave things as they are for now then and see if the rent is paid on time.

Thanks again all,

red40
17-02-2007, 20:21 PM
As you knowingly have three people staying in the flat, by definition you now have a HMO, or to be more precise a flat in multiple occupation as defined by the 'self contained flat test set out in the Housing Act 2004, section 254(3).

It has nothing to do with joint tenancies as long as one person within the unit of accommodation pays a rent.

PaulF
17-02-2007, 23:01 PM
Paul is the first term not OK as it has the magic words "permission will not be unreasonably withheld"? IE it does not have a blanket ban on either assignment or subletting?That's prefectly correct - just testing to see who was awake, and if you believe that you'll believe anything!

Bel
18-02-2007, 07:56 AM
As you knowingly have three people staying in the flat, by definition you now have a HMO, or to be more precise a flat in multiple occupation as defined by the 'self contained flat test set out in the Housing Act 2004, section 254(3).

It has nothing to do with joint tenancies as long as one person within the unit of accommodation pays a rent.

Red40; I thought I had read somewhere that 2 lodgers staying with a family is not an HMO? Am I wrong?
And if I am right; whats the difference in this case as these 2 are lodgers at the moment.
Please help!

Added later: answering my own question.....does it only refer to if the owner has two lodgers?

So would a family renting a house, that take in 2 paying guest students for 2 weeks at a time be an HMO?

red40
18-02-2007, 16:30 PM
Red40; I thought I had read somewhere that 2 lodgers staying with a family is not an HMO? Am I wrong?
And if I am right; whats the difference in this case as these 2 are lodgers at the moment.
Please help!

Added later: answering my own question.....does it only refer to if the owner has two lodgers?

So would a family renting a house, that take in 2 paying guest students for 2 weeks at a time be an HMO?

It relates to an owner-occupier (resident landlord) who is permitted to have two persons staying with them, that wouldn't be a HMO. I am under the impression that the OP doesn't live in the property as well. Which wouldn't really matter as there are three persons additional living there.

HappyFriendlyLL
27-03-2007, 21:21 PM
Hi

Just thought I would update what has happened since my original post and also ask further questions.

Firstly my suspicions were correct and there are at least 2 extra people living at the property and possibly 1 other. At no point was I informed of this and on several occasions when I have mentioned this it was denied and eventually I was told that they wouldn’t be staying long.

Now I am a little concerned that the above is causing excessive wear and tear on the flat and am considering arranging an inspection of the flat. What should I be looking for and what happens if I do not like what I see?

Lastly I would like my tenant to vacant the property at the end of the tenancy and not renew as I have other plans for the property. I know I have to serve a section 21 but I have noticed there are variations of this and that it is also crucial to get the dates on it correct.

The tenancy is due to end on 26th July 2007 and I would like to issue the notice now at 2 months into a 6 month AST. Which document do I need, section 21 (1) (b) ? Also what would be the correct date of expiry and the correct date of issue? Finally how should it be served, I am thinking of sending it recorded delivery, does the document need to be signed by the tenant?

Thanks

justaboutsane
28-03-2007, 07:03 AM
Serve the section 21 NOW and put todays date on it. I would send two copies by normal post from a post office and get a certificate. The tenant can deny getting one but not both and it has been upheld in court.

The date for expiry of the s21 is the day of the end of the tenancy! You will have given in excess of two months notice. make sure the s21 says AFTER X date and you will be fine.

jeffrey
28-03-2007, 09:18 AM
Serve the section 21 NOW and put todays date on it. I would send two copies by normal post from a post office and get a certificate. The tenant can deny getting one but not both and it has been upheld in court.

The date for expiry of the s21 is the day of the end of the tenancy! You will have given in excess of two months notice. make sure the s21 says AFTER X date and you will be fine.

Yes. It's s.21(1)(b) if you serve DURING fixed term, or s.21(4)(a) if you serve AFTER fixed term.

HappyFriendlyLL
28-03-2007, 14:43 PM
Hi

Thanks for the replies. Just a few more questions:

Does the section 21 notice need to be signed by the tenant and returned to me? Also just to be clear the section 21 expiry date needs to be marked as 'after 26th July 2007' ?

Lastly any advice on the question I asked above regarding inspections?

Thanks

Bel
28-03-2007, 22:12 PM
See posts in red


Hi

Thanks for the replies. Just a few more questions:

Does the section 21 notice need to be signed by the tenant and returned to me? No. She keeps it.Also just to be clear the section 21 expiry date needs to be marked as 'after 26th July 2007' ? Yes

Lastly any advice on the question I asked above regarding inspections? Obvious damage; eg holes in carpet, scratches on work surfaces You will be lucky if she lets you in after you have served an S21.

Thanks