Landlady refusing to buy HMO after changing her mind at last minute - advice please

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    Landlady refusing to buy HMO after changing her mind at last minute - advice please

    Hi I'm wondering if anyone knows the legalities around this please: We were told by our Landlady that we could take a Lodger - We were very clear that this was the only way we could afford the house - and we signed a normal shorthand tenancy agreement and the Landlady added a Side Letter agreement, stating we were allowed a Lodger. The following year the law on HMO changed and the Landlady asked us to get rid of our Lodger as she didn't want to buy the HMO licence and pay for fire safety. We stood our ground on what we'd originally agreed, asserting that she has responsibility to put into place whatever is needed to honour the agreement and that without it, we'd all have to move out, unsettling our children, simply because she'd changed her mind on what she'd agreeed. She then said ok, she would do it. Then followed several to and fro emails, with her saying she'd changed her mind and didn't want to, then (following our replies) changed back again. This happened several times. Latest is she's refusing to pay for these things but asking us now to sign a new STA with reduced rent and no Side Letter. This does not help us as the rent reduction dosnt cover what the Lodger was paying. And there's only 2.5 weeks before the Lodger is due to move back in (following working away for the winter). This would leave her homeless. Essentially, the Landlady has given us 2.5 weeks notice to evict our Lodger and come up with the shortfall in the rent, aswell as having to sort out more work to cover the rent every month. Is what she's doing legal? Can we carry on standing our ground as to her needing to pay for what she'd agreed to pay for?

    #2
    Your landlady cant change what is agreed in your contract - but you need to answer some questions. She can possibly evict you, that takes a lot longer than 2.5 weeks.


    Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

    Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

    Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

    Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).

    Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?

    Comment


      #3
      Taking on one lodger doesn't create an HMO. It is only an HMO if the landlady takes on the tenant directly.

      Not wanting to spend money on fire safety is a red flag. Get out; you are in a potential fire trap. The fire safety rules applied regardless of the need for a licence, and the incremental fire risk from the lodger is not going to be very much. She is still responsible for adequate fire safety, even if it is occupied by a single household.

      Comment


        #4
        Who else lives in the property? As Leaseholder 64 says, if its just your family and one lodger it won't be an HMO and you're all off the hook.

        Comment


          #5
          Who's responsible for getting an HMO licence here?

          The resident landlord exemption only seems to apply to owner-occupier, where "owner" is defined as freehold or leasehold of more than 21 years.
          I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by KTC View Post
            Who's responsible for getting an HMO licence here?

            The resident landlord exemption only seems to apply to owner-occupier, where "owner" is defined as freehold or leasehold of more than 21 years.
            Oops! I forgot that the exemption only applied to owner occupiers. OP, ignore my earlier post.

            Comment


              #7
              Is this Scotland?

              If it's in England, the landlord is stuck if the property is an HMO and has to be licensed, because she can't serve s21 notice without the licence or proof she's applied for it.

              While it's not very helpful, the regulations about fire safety (and the rest) are broadly the same whether the property is a licensed or unlicensed HMO (the licence sometimes adds additional requirements).
              But all HMOs have to have a fire safety assessment and comply with the requirements it outlines.
              Which would normally mean new doors and wired smoke and fire alarms (and a heat detector in the kitchen) as a minimum.
              So when the landlord agreed to the lodger, they were essentially agreeing to have that done anyway.

              There may be planning restrictions that don't allow the use of the property as an HMO.

              In reality, the landlord isn't going to do a lot of work they don't want to simply so that you can afford to live in a property you can't afford otherwise.
              I'm sorry but it's going to get that brutal.
              The route out for the landlord is to apply for a licence, and, before it's granted (which it won't be without the work), serve notice and evict you through the courts (it may not occur to them for some time, but it's their only route forwards that doesn't force them to do the work).
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                If it's in England, the landlord is stuck if the property is an HMO and has to be licensed, because she can't serve s21 notice without the licence or proof she's applied for it.
                Actually, as I think KTC is implying, it may be the tenant who is responsible for getting the licence as they are the ones making it an HMO. Either way though there would almost certainly be consequences for the landlord

                Comment


                  #9
                  The responsibility is on the person who "manages" the HMO.
                  The landlord has agreed to the tenant having a lodger, and I think that keeps the responsibility with the landlord.

                  There's one tenant and four (I guess) tenants.
                  Even if the landlord is not the manager by giving the consent, the majority of the arrangement is being managed by the landlord.

                  And the landlord is obviously of the opinion that they're responsible.
                  Which I'm fairly sure that the council would confirm.

                  This isn't like a case where the tenant has sublet to a small army, or a tenant moves people in without the landlord knowing.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    jpkeates,

                    You're probably right, although I guess it might depend on the wording of that 'side-letter' and whether that formed part of the contract. If the landlord could show that the permission granted was for the tenant to deal with all that having a lodger entailed then it might be argued that the tenant is the HMO Manager, but I accept its a bit of a stretch.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      DPT57,

                      It is, annoyingly, not as clear as it should be and you could easily be right and me wrong.

                      Either way, this is going to end up with the tenants being evicted.
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                      Comment

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