Guests of HMO tenants

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  • 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
    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).

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    • #3
      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!

      Comment


      • #4
        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).

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

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          • #6
            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.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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            • #7
              Many thanks.

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              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                      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
                      Thanks for the information.

                      The AST runs until May, so I presume that the landlord can not issue a Section 8 notice as my partner has not broken the terms of the AST? My partner will be long gone by then, and as the LL has already breached the terms of the AST (she has already entered her room without permission amongst various other things) I presume the agreement can be terminated by my partner prior to May? I am currently looking in to the correct process for initiating this. I presume a letter must be sent to the LL infomring them of said breaches?

                      Originally posted by byterider
                      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)
                      You're right. As explained before, my partner will be long gone before any notice to quit period is issued, however she does not want to be legally liable for rent payments until May and so she is eager to go down the corect path in regards to terminating the agreement.

                      The HMO is in Tower Hamlets (Isle of Dogs) London. I have called the LA and the property is not HMO registered. The LA are aware it is a HMO and a visit from an inspection officer is pending. I really hope they nail her.

                      I think your rules regarding guests are reasonable. I get on very well with one of the other tenants, one I have never met (he is never there) and the other is basically acting as a spy on the LL's behalf.

                      I presume your rules are stipulated in your Tenancy Agreement? I have a friend who does not allow guests in his HMO, but he clearly states this. My partner entered in to an agreement where there was no mention of such "rules" and is now being bound by them!

                      The letter from the LL pretty much sums her up as a person and LL. I just want to make sure that my partner does everything to the letter of the law when dealing with the situation.

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                      • #12
                        *but he clearly states this in the Tenancy Agreement...

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                        • #13
                          The agreement can only be terminated before the end of the contract if both parties agree to it. If your partner just leaves then technically the LL could chase her (through the legal methods) for rent. Legally even if your partner does leave, the LL will not be able to get anyone to replace her until the end of the AST as it is only a few months away, and it is unlikely she will be able to prove your partner will have vacated the property permanently in this short length of time.

                          However in this instance I would imagine if your partner left then the LL would probably just get someone else in anyway and therefore would not a have leg to stand on if they tried to pursue your partner in court for rent.

                          This situation is complicated as the advice that follows the law may not be the best advice given your situation, however, I am not saying under any circumstance that you should deviate away from the law!

                          It would be interesting to see what advice the legal experts offer.....

                          My rules on guests are indeed in the AST

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by byterider View Post
                            The agreement can only be terminated before the end of the contract if both parties agree to it.
                            Surely the agreement can be terminated by either party if the other regularly breaches its terms?

                            Originally posted by byterider View Post
                            This situation is complicated as the advice that follows the law may not be the best advice given your situation
                            Unerstood. On the bright side, no deposit has been paid and no inventory provided (the LL clearly isn't the brightest spark) so if she wants to play hard-ball...

                            I have offered my partner rent-free temporary accomodation available immedietely, should the LL decide to illegally evict her (i.e remove her possessions and change the locks). This is less about the problem of finding alternative accomodation, and more about holding the LL accountable for her despicable behaviour.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by IronsE11 View Post
                              Surely the agreement can be terminated by either party if the other regularly breaches its terms?
                              No. L can serve T under s.8; T cannot serve L (unless using a break clause).
                              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).

                              Comment

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