View Full Version : Can a garage be prtected under the 1977 Rent Act
13-07-2005, 13:08 PM
I have rent act tenants whom have signed their last two rent forms detailing that no garage is included in their rent act tenancy of a flat that I own. These are both in the possession of the council and myself. I have the 'historical' landlords (whom I purchased the property from some time ago)letters advising them that their tenure in respect of the garage is on an informal basis (a charge of x pcm is paid) and is not included within their tenancy. To this affect they have signed their rent registration forms.I have written to them asking them giving them a overly resasonable notice period of three months. They have advised me that they are not willing to remove their belongings from the garage as they have a historical tenancy that runs along side their rent act registered tenancy agreement. My question is, can you, as a regulated tenant, firstly 'enjoy' two regulated tenancy agreements, one over the flat or a house is given, but a garage as well and concurrently?
Secondly, surely a garage is not deemed as suitable as a dwelling and therefore tenure cannot be protected under the rent act.
Your views would be appreciated.
13-07-2005, 15:49 PM
Rent Act Tenancies only apply to dwelling houses of which a garage is clearly not inhabitable as a dwelling.
However it really depends on the wording within the lease as to whether it clearly defines the status of the garage.
If the tenants have enjoyed use of the garage throughout, even if under an informal arrangement, then it might be seen as withdrawal of a benefit which unfortunately might find difficult to do as you would be in breach of contract.
As they often say in such matters "only the courts can decide"!
19-07-2005, 09:13 AM
Thanks for your initial thoughts. There is no lease, all I have are letters from the historic landlord to the tenants advising that their tenure is informal and as long as they agree to this they will not be charged an increase in rent through the rent registration channels for the flat that they reside in (which is rent registered). I also have copies of their rent registration forms which they subsequently signed (IE agreeing with the above statement) which do not make any mention of the garage. I also have in my possession a letter from one of my neighbours who rented the same garage for a period of about 3 years at the end of the 80's. Surely with this break it would imply that their tenure in the garage can be brought to an end.
This is not an obvious situation. Can we confirm that the tenants are paying two amounts on money. One for the protected tenancy of the house and another amount for the garage. If this is the case I would imagine there to be some differentiation that should allow you to reclaim possession of the garage without breaching your contract with the tenants.
Afterall, if the garage forms part of the protected tenancy then the rent should include the use of the garage. It does not and therefore I do not believe will have any protection afforded to it.
What is more difficult is working out how to move the situation forward. Perhaps you ought to ask the tenants to provide any evidence to suggest they have a right to the garage, if they cannot you could write providing them with a time limit to empty the garage or their belongings will be removed and stored elsewhere, the cost of which will be charged to them. If you take this route make sure to inventory and photograph everything as you do not want a claim for damages.
The above really is an opinion and is not something many people will feel comfortable advising you on. I can only reccomment you take legal advice from a specialist advisor in this sort of tenancy before you act.
22-07-2005, 08:26 AM
The payment for the garage is and always has been seperate from the rent registered for the flat. I have already given them notice (November 2004) and have had the tenants contacted by my solicitor asking for them to provide the documentation they have which backs up their claims for posession. They refuse to respond and therefore will give them one more chance prior to going to court. I can get a court order for them to supply the documentation but at what cost prior to then returning to court again for a possession order.
22-07-2005, 10:43 AM
Both the last two posts are suggesting the tenant should "prove" their rights to the garage. I'm sorry to say that a judge would expect the landlord to prove that the garage was not included, and in the absence of any documentation where you can show this one way or the other, will probably result in the judge allowing the tenant to continue using the garage.
This could be another reason why the tenant has been unresponsive as there is nothing for them to have to "prove".
I disagree with the last post entirely. If you reclaim possession of the garage the tenants will need to prove their entitlement if they are to successfully pursue an action against you in the courts.
If you intend to take the tenants to court to regain possession that is when the previous post may apply.
Again I suggest you pay for advice through either Painsmiths or the firm we use 'Dutton Gregory' who may be able to provide further advice.
22-07-2005, 12:48 PM
Disagree with me if you like. I think Marveen Smith of Pain Smith & Robert Bolwell of Dutton Gregory might well agree with me though.
Jurdy it appears that Paul has taken legal advice from both of the solicitors I have suggested. In this respect Paul must be right in confirming that the garage froms part of the protected tenancy. I stand corrected.
22-07-2005, 16:08 PM
The garage cannot be included because although they have have historically enjoyed it's use (albeit with a break in tenancy during the late 80's) they have never agreed/requested that it be included within the documentation registered by the rent officer and have signed the last two rent registration forms (which date back to 1992) which specifically ask whether anything else is included in their tenancy other than the flat that they currently reside in and have ticked 'NO'.
Jurdy, I agree with you. If I were in your situation I would provide them with a date after which I would enter the garage, remove items having carefully inventoried them as well as taking photographs. I would arrange to store these items at tenant expense for a short period of time.
However, this is a personal suggestion. As an agent I would not be able to give this advice as I do not feel the situation is clear enough that the courts would guarantee a ruling in your favour. Remember, the courts often surprise everybody with random decisions based on legislation unfamiliar to a presiding judge or magistrate.
Finally, run this by your solicitor and perhaps have him draft the letter on your behalf. This should present a more official approach if it does end up in court.
I wish you luck.
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