Private Residence in Single Occupation Only + Lodgers?

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    Private Residence in Single Occupation Only + Lodgers?

    Hi All,

    I'm in the process of buying my first property, a leasehold flat in a purpose-built block of 30 or so. I was surprised to find how proscriptive a lease can be! Most of the terms (eg no dog, for some reason the freeholder having the right to pass judgement on the suitability of my decor) I'm fine with, but I was hoping for some advice on the following:

    "THE Leaseholder HEREBY COVENANTS with the Landlord:-
    Not to assign or underlet part only of the Premises
    Not to use the Premises nor permit the same to be used for any purpose whatever other than as a private residence in single occupation only ..."

    Does that prevent me renting a room to a professional friend to help pay my mortgage? It's only a 2 bed flat so I don't believe it would trigger any '3 or more people' HMO-ness, for similar reasons there would be no locks on internal bedroom doors.

    I suppose the key is what does single occupation mean? I've seen threads about "single occupancy by a family" or similar being in the lease, I hope that a single occupation means that me and my friend live together communally (as if we were sharing a rental flat but with his rent paying my mortgage) and thus would be ok.

    Your advice and comments are much appreciated!

    [edit] Just realised the post title is misleading... I think lodgerS would run the risk of making the flat an HMO, we're talking about a single friend living with me who I am not in a couple with. I believe this makes him a lodger, though I'd probably call him a housemate! [/edit]

    Mmm odd wording indeed. In another thread I posted the leading case on the issue of co habitation and I think this clause would get a similar bucket of cold water.

    The first part
    Not to assign or underlet part only of the Premises
    puts the kibosh on renting a room.

    If they are a lodger they have no real security of tenure therefore any breach could be easily remedied and as long as they are discreet, any enquires from inquisitive neighbours might be politely deflected.
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.


      Thanks for your response LHA... I think my next step is to contact the landlord and see if it's possible to waive this or what their attitude would be to sharers. I'm not planning to move in random folk or to move out, and it seems to me like I would be able to rent the whole flat to a group of sharers (ie not as separate rooms) but not share with someone myself which is a bit baffling! I'd look for freehold but in London as a first time buyer it's not really an option


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