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Oct, 2014

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  1. #1

    Question My landlord does not have adequate planning permission for the house I am renting

    I recently moved a long distance and I am currently living in a one bedroom detached house in a rural location. I am renting from a landlord who created this building in two stages - firstly, he added an upper floor to his garage over 13 years ago and had planning permission for this granted on the grounds that it is a games room.

    Last year, he converted the downstairs garage into a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. I moved into the property (alone) about six weeks ago.

    My landlord lives in the main house directly next to this and we share an address. My property does not have its own driveway or access, which we agreed prior to the tenancy that was okay (he is providing sufficient parking space on a private road outside for my use).

    Last week an officer from the local district council visited the house and I permitted the landlord to show her round my house while I was out at work.

    Today, my landlord has given me a copy of a letter from the local district council, which states that the "change of use" of the property from a garage into a "self-contained unit of accommodation" requires planning permission, which he did not get prior to converting the lower floor.

    The planning permission for the upper floor explicitly states that it can only be occupied by "persons who are relatives and dependents of the occupants of the principal dwelling house" - so not me then. The letter suggests that he either ceases using my property as a separate residential unit, or that he applies for planning permission, which the officers believe is "unlikely" to be granted.

    Where can I possibly go from here? An agent was involved in setting up the tenancy - do I have a legitimate claim against them for arranging an invalid tenancy?

    Please help - I'm a long way from family and in an unfamiliar area.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    9,195

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    You (presumably) have a valid tenancy agreement, an AST (see
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...hold_tenancies
    ).

    He has a planning problem with the council. His problem does not I think allow him to end your tenancy. If he wants to end your tenancy he can give you notice (when does/did the fixed-term end??) - 2 months minimum if you pay rent monthly or can try bribing you to leave early.

    However, given he got planning wrong I wonder what else he "forgot"?? Gas safety certificate, declaring income to tax man??

    Best regards

    Artful

    PS in the Slough area this is a big problem: They are known as "Slough Garages"....there

    PPS 2 obvious solution: He adopts you, and still charges you rent...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    24,592

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    If LL created a door through to his own part of the building and allowed OP in principle to use LL's bathroom or some other part of his dwelling, could it not become a LL/lodger set-up and thus not need pp? I'm not saying that is ideal (or that Planning would necessarily agree in practice, although in theory they should) but if OP wants to remain where he is and not be worrying about having to move out, might it not be a solution?

    Failing that, marry the LL or a member of his family?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    24,592

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    Quote Originally Posted by theartfullodger View Post
    PS in the Slough area this is a big problem: They are known as "Slough Garages"....there
    Why anyone would want to live in a garage in Slough is beyond human comprehension. A tent in the Outer Hebrides would be preferable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    9,195

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    Quote Originally Posted by mind the gap View Post
    Why anyone would want to live in a garage in Slough is beyond human comprehension. A tent in the Outer Hebrides would be preferable.
    Tent in't Outer Hebrides is preferable I agree - as long as the midges ain't biting...

    Slough has big housing problems, properties go I understand on average in 1 week on being put on sale, they have HMOs twice as much as the rest of England, the council knows there are problems with the-sort-of-landlord-you-rarely-get-on-LLZ and are thus actively trying to raise standards (forums, courses..) and there is a big market for rooms/small lets and a large market for lettings of any nature... so the poor s**s of tenants take what they can get... They are not advertised or described in the ASTs as garages but as dwelling houses...

    Come friendly bombs...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    552

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    If you signed a short term letting agreement, there is very little chance that you will need to leave before 6 months. It would appear that you do need to make alternative arrangements as this seems unlikely to receive the grant of planning permission.
    If the Planning department issued an enforcement notice, the owner can appeal that notice at no cost, so there will be a period of time whilst the appeal is decided when you can remain in the property unless the council think it such a breach of planning control that they issue a stop notice. That will give a restricted time limit to stop occupation.
    You are in an unfortunate situation but I doubt that things will progress at such a rate that you find yourself unable to source alternative accomodation.

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