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Aug, 2014

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    London
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    85

    Default Guests of HMO tenants

    Can a HMO landlord prevent their tenant from having visitors or overnight guests if there is no reference made to the issue in the tenancy agreement?

    My partner is a HMO tenant and I occasionally stay at the property. The maximum I have stayed there for is 2 consecutive nights. I do not pay any rent (I.e. My partner is not subletting the property).

    In the last week, the landlord has been present at the property for up to 6 hours a day, walking the hallways and sitting in the kitchen. I have been informed that she put a note out informing the tenants that any visits from guests must be logged with her beorehand! It seems clear that the landlord is paranoid about the room being sublet and so is spending a disproportionate amount of time at the property to ensure this is not the case.

    As a landlord myself, I find this behaviour totally bizarre and possibly unlawful. The tenancy agreement states that the tenant should be able to enjoy quiet use of the property, and that the landlord can inspect at reasonable hours during the day. There is no mention of guests! Surely the landlord's behaviour, time spent at the property and time of day this occurs at is a breach of the terms of the agreement (on Saturday the landlord was at the property from 6pm to 11:30pm!).

    Can the landlord legally impose this sort of restriction?

    Thanks in advance for any help on this issue.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Sheffield
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    39,409

    Default

    If the hallway and kitchen are not part of anyone's tenancy, what do you claim to be wrong with L's conduct?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

  3. #3
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    London
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    Default

    I'm not sure what the legal implication of casing the comunal hallways and kitchen for 6 hours a day/night is, but I find it very strange behaviour.

    Informing the tenant that they can not have overnight guests or even visitors without her prior consent (when this is not stated in the tenancy agreement) is surely uninforceable?

    The note left this morning threatens legal action if the above is not complied with!

    Aside from this, there are other issues which suggest the landlord is not in a fit state of mind. Suffice to say, my partner is looking for another place to rent, I just want to know where we stand in the mean time. The last tenant of the room was accused of subletting and found some of his belongings disposed with!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Sheffield
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IronsE11 View Post
    Informing the tenant that they can not have overnight guests or even visitors without her prior consent (when this is not stated in the tenancy agreement) is surely unEnforceable?
    Yes. Only what the Letting Agreement stipulates is enforceable; new rules cannot be added on a whim.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    London
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    Default

    Thank you very much jeffrey.

    I will ask my partner to write to her landlord informing her of this. I presume any action taken to evict my partner as a result would be unlawful, as the terms of the tenancy agreement have not been breached as a result of my occasional presence.

    Unfortunately it doesn't appear as though we can do much about the L/L's continued presence in the property for large periods of the day/night as it is only in the communal areas. I do however find this behaviour strange and unreasonable, and I know it is disconcerting for a couple of the other tenants.

    As an aside, I noticed there is no HMO certificate displayed in the property, and the L/L only accepts rent payment in cash. Do you think this could be an indication that the L/L does not have the required license or is trying to avoid paying tax on her rental income?

    I only ask because I have feeling this could get messy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    24,592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IronsE11 View Post
    As an aside, I noticed there is no HMO certificate displayed in the property, and the L/L only accepts rent payment in cash. Do you think this could be an indication that the L/L does not have the required license or is trying to avoid paying tax on her rental income?

    I only ask because I have feeling this could get messy.
    Ring your local council (housing or HMO dept), tell them the address of the property and they will telll you whether it is a licensed HMO. If it isn't and you describe the set-up (How many floors? How may unrelated sharers?), they will tell you whether it should be licensed.

    Any cash payments for rent should only be handed over in exchange for a signed receipt.

  7. #7
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    London
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    Default

    Many thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey View Post
    what do you claim to be wrong with L's conduct?
    Wow, I've just seen the letter from the Landlord (her English not mine):

    Serious Notice to all Tenants in the House.

    All tenant must report to the landlord if they bring anybody in the house. If Landlord find out the Tenants broke the rules serious action will be taken against Tenants immediately and it could end up in court and will be kick out of the house straight away. No overnight staying and sleeping without landlord permission. If the management find out the Tenants let people staying overnight with no permission we taking the matter as subletting (that tenant will be out immediately). The management is watching the house 24 hours. Any suspicious tenants room will be checked and inspect by the management for evidence and proof.

    I am drafting a letter to the landlord highlighting how many breaches of the TA this constitutes but I have a feeling that my partner's belongings are going to end up on the street! This women is clearly not right in the head! My partner is currently looking for alternative accommodation.

    I'm calling up the Local Authority tomorrow and I pray (that as I suspect) she is not HMO registered. The resulting fine will be our parting gift.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2008
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    help@tenancyservices.co.uk
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    15,862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IronsE11 View Post
    I presume any action taken to evict my partner as a result would be unlawful,
    No, not if it is done under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act.

    You might want to follow some of the advice on this page to prepare yourself incase your partner is illegally evicted. http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index..._eviction/0-22

  10. #10

    Default

    I have a feeling the OP would be more than happy if a s21 was issued as this would give an appropriate amount of time to get new accommodation lined up. It seems to me that the LL probably doesn't even know what a s21 is and that her idea of eviction might not exactly fall within the law.

    OP, where is your partner's HMO based?

    Just to finish with in my AST I have a a few clauses relating to guests:

    1) Tenants are allowed guests but if it is for more than 2 nights then I must be informed an agree to it.

    2) All other housemates must be informed and introduced to the guest.

    3) If the guest is causing problems the other housemates have the right to ask them to leave without being challenged.

    (These are not the exact wordings as I don't have a copy of my AST with me at present)

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