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Situation With Landlord

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Hi all! New member, long time lurker, was hoping to get a bit of advice on a situation we currently have with our landlord.

Bit of background: I moved into my rental property in July, my housemate moved in in October. Our Landlord, although based in London, made it clear that every few weeks he would be sleeping in the property due to work commitments up north, which is fine. He pays all our bills, and is still on the electoral register in our house. Since we have moved in he has almost completely relocated to London, meaning he will only come up every few months, and he has delegated responsibility for housing maintenence, administration and rent collecting to one of his friends. Which is, for the most part, OK.

However, the friend he has delegated responsibility to comes round unannounced every few weeks to pick up mail. We have raised the issue of the unannounced part, which our landlord agrees is unacceptable. However, are we being unreasonable to say that having his agent come into our house every 10 days (he has requested that, should we not wish his friend to come round, we should forward his mail on ourselves every 10 days) is unreasonable and disruptive to our tenency? It states in our tenency agreement the Tenent will "permit the landlord or the landlord's agents at reasonable hours in the daytime to enter the property to view the state and condition thereof provided that notice is given at least 24 hours in advance" but I don't know whether there's boundaries to that, or whether the regular visits are just the price we have to pay for the original arrangement we had with our "live in" landlord.

Just looking for a bit of feedback really. Reading this through, it feels like we have no option other than to let his friend in (I am not disciplined enough to be responsible for forwarding mail and don't believe I should anyway.) There are other unrelated issues that have clouded this tenency (decorators coming in without notice, doors being left unlocked after visits, and a general feeling that suggests landlord is not declaring to HMRC) which may have made us react in a more negative manner than otherwise.

Thanks in advance!

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What's the rent situation? Are you paying what amounts to significantly under the going rate for that sort of property in that area, to reflect the fact that your tenancy arrangement is an unorthodox one? If so, then your negotiating position is further weakened (unless the LL actively wants to continue that arrangement for tax evasion purposes). If, however, you're paying about what it would cost to rent that property using an LA and with an AST, then you're in a stronger position. In that scenario, if it were me, I'd ask him for a formal AST contract and an agreement as to when he and/or his friend can visit the property and on what terms. Otherwise, the privacy issue is a red line for you and you're going to move on.

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Thanks for the quick replies!

Our contract is an AST, not the official looking one I have had before, but terms on it are pretty much standard for what I have encountered elsewhere (including "right to quietly enjoy the property.") Price is what I would consider market rate plus bills. He has listed his address on the contract as our property, the agreement that he would continue using the house as an occasional base was a verbal one, and I'm fairly sure since we have individual contracts that there isn't anything we can do about that. In taking out the contract, I accepted that essentially, I had 2 housemates, one of which was not around much, if you see what I mean. I shall mention the redirection service to him, but suspect he will not be particularly willing to co-operate, given the extra money that it would cost him to receive mail from "his" house, which, administratively at least, he still lives in. I guess our problem is whether he is entitiled to send his friend round that often, even with notice, and if the time frame of every 10 days is excessive, what the generally held boundaries are for how often is reasonable.

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Thanks for the quick replies!

Our contract is an AST, not the official looking one I have had before, but terms on it are pretty much standard for what I have encountered elsewhere (including "right to quietly enjoy the property.") Price is what I would consider market rate plus bills. He has listed his address on the contract as our property, the agreement that he would continue using the house as an occasional base was a verbal one, and I'm fairly sure since we have individual contracts that there isn't anything we can do about that. In taking out the contract, I accepted that essentially, I had 2 housemates, one of which was not around much, if you see what I mean. I shall mention the redirection service to him, but suspect he will not be particularly willing to co-operate, given the extra money that it would cost him to receive mail from "his" house, which, administratively at least, he still lives in. I guess our problem is whether he is entitiled to send his friend round that often, even with notice, and if the time frame of every 10 days is excessive, what the generally held boundaries are for how often is reasonable.

The LL is taking the piss, either you have an AST or you are lodgers in his home, if you are paying market rates and have an AST tell him to redirect his mail. He'll not want to but tough. If he gets difficult threaten to tell his mortgage provider about the less than BTL arrangement. If it is not a bonafide AST and you are lodging, stuff market rates and whack on the heating 24/7, then he can have whoever he wants visit his home and you're stuffed. He wants all the bills going there to create the illusion of his occupancy for both his morgagee and/or HMRC and you have to decide what you want.

Edit to add, is your deposit in a scheme or was it used to make a couple of months mortgage payments?

Edited by zebbedee

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The LL is taking the piss, either you have an AST or you are lodgers in his home, if you are paying market rates and have an AST tell him to redirect his mail. He'll not want to but tough. If he gets difficult threaten to tell his mortgage provider about the less than BTL arrangement. If it is not a bonafide AST and you are lodging, stuff market rates and whack on the heating 24/7, then he can have whoever he wants visit his home and you're stuffed. He wants all the bills going there to create the illusion of his occupancy for both his morgagee and/or HMRC and you have to decide what you want.

Edit to add, is your deposit in a scheme or was it used to make a couple of months mortgage payments?

I highly doubt our deposit is protected. To be honest, it wan't something I thought about, I've never had a landlord scarper with it before (which is pretty good going for annual nomadic housing!) That will be next question on my list.

Just to update, landlord has agreed (somewhat grudgingly!) to use the redirection service. Thanks again for the advice!

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The owner of the flat I rent still gets mail delivered to my address. It goes in the recycling/bin without compunction. She has not lived in the flat for 4+ years (there were tenants before me). I forward mail to previous tenants though, but an owner who still pretends to live at the property they rent is almost certainly engaging in mortgage fraud.

If she misses important mail, she should get it redirected. Give them an inch...

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Does your tenancy agreement grant you a tenancy of the whole house?

I believe so. The first page of our agreement says: "for letting furnished dwellinghouse on an assured shorthold tenancy under Part I 0f the Housing Act 1988... together with fixtures, furniture and effects therin and more particularly specified in the Inventory thereof signed by the parties [there was no inventory]... A term certain of 6 months from 1st July 2010... The Landlord lets and the Tenant takes the Property for the Term at the rent payable as above... This agreement creates an assured shorthold tenancy within Part I Chapter II of the Housing Act 1998 and the provisions for the recovery of possesion by the Landlord in section 21 thereof apply accordingly save where the Landlord serves a notice under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2A to that Act."

Beyond the basics, I'm not sure how a contract would differ between an bona fide AST and a lodger, and whether the fact it states it's AST is enough to give me the protection of an AST agreement. It's amazing what you sign up to when you actually have no idea what it says. I read the contract through before I signed it, but I'm fairly ashamed that it's only now rereading it I realise how much of it is legalese mumbo jumbo to me.

RE: the deposit. I think the reason I didn't think about it was because I trusted the landlord (rookie error, I know.) I still don't think he's out to fleece us, I think he has limited knowledge about the legal side of being a landlord, and although (maybe willful) ignorance isn't an excuse, I think my deposit will be returned in full, protected or not. That's probably fairly naive though. I'm not a confrontational person by nature, and after the mail problem I'm nervous about straining relations further by asking to get a deposit protected when I may likely receive it back anyway. I know that's stupid and cowardly, and it's not an attitude I'm proud of. I am happy our mail problems have been resolved, now it's just building up the gumption to get the deposit issue resolved before I move out (likely I'll be staying on here a couple of months after my AST goes periodic, because December is an impossible month for me to go house hunting, but will be moving in with my partner early next year.)

If someone could let me know if all that bumpf adds up to a valid AST agreement, I'd be very grateful!

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If someone could let me know if all that bumpf adds up to a valid AST agreement, I'd be very grateful!

Landlord is doing it on the cheap - that'll be copied from a real AST.

You'd probably be in a position to make landlord's life hell, and possibly fleece him for lots of money. I'd be inclined to keep that in reserve, to use as a vague threat if he tries anything on you, or fails in his duties as a landlord in any matter you care about.

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  • 244 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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