Bedroom Keys in a HMO

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  • Bedroom Keys in a HMO

    I currently live in a 3story HMO and we have been told that we cannot have keys for the locks on our own bedroom doors because of some license.

    Due to a recent break-in there is an increased need for keys. Does the landlady have any rights to withhold bedroom keys from us or is she just using that as an excuse?

  • #2
    Originally posted by GeekAndProud View Post
    I currently live in a 3story HMO and we have been told that we cannot have keys for the locks on our own bedroom doors because of some license.

    Due to a recent break-in there is an increased need for keys. Does the landlady have any rights to withhold bedroom keys from us or is she just using that as an excuse?
    I think your landlady is trying to say you are a licensee, not a tenant - as the former would not have exclusive use of anywhere in the building.

    In real terms, does anyone else have free access to 'your' room?

    Have a word with the HMO &/or Environmental Health Officer at your local council. They may be able to help as your security is an issue that is covered by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

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    • #3
      Well my main issue is that we can't lock our bedroom doors behind us for an added level of security. It never bothered me before this but since our burglary I don't want to leave my expensive camera gear in the house if we can't even lock our own bedroom doors.

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      • #4
        What you want, and what you signed up for may be different things. If you are a licensee, you don't have exclusive possession of anywhere, so there is nowhere to lock!

        However, I suspect you are really a tenant. How does your agreement describe your occupation of the property? Does it specify which room you are to use? Can anyone else use that room? Does it include the words 'Assured Shorthold Tenancy'?

        I presume you have your own agreement, and not a joint one with everybodys name on it?

        If you are a tenant, then this should be easy to resolve, but we need to acertain that first.

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        • #5
          After a quick google it seems that our landlady or estate agent copy/pasted the contract from a freely available template located here(and many other places): http://www.propertymentor.co.uk/reso...-Agreement.pdf
          Wonderful, my post dissapeared. So here is the short version:

          I think she thinks she needs to license this HMO because of something to do with bedroom keys, but one of the requirements to have to license a HMO is if it has 5 or more residents. I'm not entirely sure as to her reasoning behind mentioning licenses when we bring up the matter of bedroom door keys but this is the only one I can find.

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          • #6
            One of the women from the estate agents happened to call me just now so I asked about the keys, she said that legislation was recently(sept 2011)implemented(by the council, I assume that is Coventry City Council) that requires HMOs to be licensed in order to have working locks on bedroom doors. Working meaning the tenants can lock them from the outside as opposed to just thumb operated ones from the inside.

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            • #7
              Does the landlady live in the building?? If not you are (usually...) not a licensee, you are a tenant (regardless of what the paperwork says..).
              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...

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              • #8
                No she doesn't.

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                • #9
                  How many occupants are there in your property?
                  Is there a HMO license displayed anywhere?
                  Keep your tenancy agreement safe - it may be essential if you need to argue your status as licensee/tenant.

                  (BTW, I think the agent knows as much as the landlord - not a lot)

                  These are the current HMO rules as far as Coventry Council are concerned http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct...fbhQ6Jkr8CXgpw

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                  • #10
                    If you have all signed the tenancy agreement together, then there is no need to have bedroom locks as it indicates that you are a group

                    If you all have separate agreements and therefore no living as a group, then you should have locks for security as you cannot chose your neighbours.

                    In both cases it is important that the front door has a very good lock on it. Once a burglar gets in it is easy to get access to any room with or without a lock. Locked interior doors just mean more damage.
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                    • #11
                      I think the licence being referred to is an HMO licence.

                      Whether or not it is a licensable HMO, fire safety rules usually specify that bedroom doors if lockable from the outside must nonetheless be openable without a key from the inside (ie with a thumb-turn lock).

                      If you have locks on your bedroom doors that has implications for things like your TV licence - the TVLA deem it to be separate housholds, not one, so you would all need to buy your own licences.

                      Essentially, if there were no locks on the doors when you viewed the property and agreed to take it, you cannot insist your LL puts some on now.

                      You could put some on yourself and take them off when you leave, as long as you pay to make good any damage you do to the doors in the process.

                      How long do you wish to remain a tenant in this accommodation?
                      '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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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                        How many occupants are there in your property?
                        Is there a HMO license displayed anywhere?
                        Keep your tenancy agreement safe - it may be essential if you need to argue your status as licensee/tenant.

                        (BTW, I think the agent knows as much as the landlord - not a lot)

                        These are the current HMO rules as far as Coventry Council are concerned http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct...fbhQ6Jkr8CXgpw
                        There are 4 of us, the house has no HMO license.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                          I think the licence being referred to is an HMO licence.

                          Whether or not it is a licensable HMO, fire safety rules usually specify that bedroom doors if lockable from the outside must nonetheless be openable without a key from the inside (ie with a thumb-turn lock).

                          If you have locks on your bedroom doors that has implications for things like your TV licence - the TVLA deem it to be separate housholds, not one, so you would all need to buy your own licences.

                          Essentially, if there were no locks on the doors when you viewed the property and agreed to take it, you cannot insist your LL puts some on now.

                          You could put some on yourself and take them off when you leave, as long as you pay to make good any damage you do to the doors in the process.

                          How long do you wish to remain a tenant in this accommodation?
                          We don't have a tv therefore don't need a TV license. There are locks on the doors that can be opened without a key from the inside but the estate agent/landlady are refusing to give us the keys based on the apparent recent legislation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GeekAndProud View Post
                            We don't have a tv therefore don't need a TV license. There are locks on the doors that can be opened without a key from the inside but the estate agent/landlady are refusing to give us the keys based on the apparent recent legislation.
                            You do not necessarily have to be in possession of a TV set to need a TV licence. You still need one if your computers/laptops are capable of receiving live TV transmissions, which most are.

                            Anyway - locks. Your LL/agent is confused. Unless they can cite the relevant 'recent legislation' which they think they know about, I suggest you simply instal your own locks, if you're that bothered. Or get some good contents insurance, which might be cheaper.

                            Bel's advice is very sound, though - if you are a group of joint tenants, you should be able to trust each other and not need locks on your bedroom doors. The greatest security risk is from intruders, so make sure the windows, front and back doors are secure each night and when everyone goes out. Once in an empty property, a burglar can make short work of internal door locks - you just end up with a lot of smashed doors (which may be why your LL is loath to provide keys). If you are worried about people coming into your room when you're in it, just use the existing lock from the inside - but make sure you leave it on the latch when you go out, of course.

                            BTW, at the risk of sounding obvious, student houses are much more likely to burgled if laptops, phones and iPods are left in sight (ie through windows) - a walk around the student area of any city will show that many seem unawareof this...

                            Is this a joint tenancy or separate ones?
                            '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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                            • #15
                              Joint, and we don't watch broadcasted television. Therefore we do not need a license.

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