Flat not registered

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    Flat not registered

    Hi everyone,

    A month ago I moved into a house that is split into two flats. I'm renting the downstairs flat, which is newly renovated and might have just been split from the rest of the house. The landlord is running an accountancy business from the upstairs flat. The flats share the house's front entrance and there is a small hallway with doors to each flat.

    My contract is inclusive of utilities (electricity, gas, water) and council tax, and this is clearly written in it. Because of this, the rent is £150-200 higher that comparable properties. The address of the property I'm renting is also clearly written as "Ground Floor Flat, <number and street>, <city>, <postcode>".

    Now I am strongly suspecting that the landlord has not registered the two flats separately after they were split. When I moved in I noticed that when looking up the postcode in address finders there is only one address for my house with no differentiation between the upstairs and downstairs flat. It would only show up once with the street number and street. I didn't think much of it initially.

    I ordered broadband to be installed at the address of the house and long story short the provider told me the downstairs flat must be registered with its own address for them to be able to install a line, since right now this address comes up with an already active line (of the business upstairs). The provider advised me to get the landlord to register the flat with Royal Mail.

    I contacted the letting agent to inform them of the problem I've had installing a phone line and to ask them to split the addresses into e.g. First Floor Flat and Ground Floor Flat (as shown in contract) or <number>A and <number>B.

    They initially told me the landlord would be able to install a phone line in his name for me but I insisted on having the address split and installing it in my name.

    Today I got an email back from the agent: "Whilst I appreciate that is your preference splitting the address, for the landlord that has other repercussions with council tax and utilities etc. The reason your bills in included in the rent is because the address is all one."

    Does this mean that the landlord is committing fraud by not registering my flat to have its own address and pay council tax accordingly? Can he refuse to register it?

    This is the first non-student property I'm renting and I would definitely require having an address for my flat so I can register to vote, get broadband and other services etc. It also worries me that my credit report could get linked with the landlord or his business if I were to use the current non-differentiated house address for my accounts. I obviously don't want the landlord to try to charge me extra for registering the flat.

    What do I do?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this! I'll be really grateful if anyone can help!

    #2
    I believe linking of credit reports to addresses was made illegal many years ago.

    Who is paying the council tax!!!

    Comment


      #3
      That's good to know. Technically the landlord is paying the council tax as my rent is inclusive of utilities and council tax.

      Comment


        #4
        Doesn't sound like a flat, more like a conversion which doesn't have permission, or hasn't applied for permission. The landlord would need to do a number of things, get the conversion legalised through planning/ building regs or via permitted development - once this is completed they would need to get either Flat A or numbers assigned to each property. Then contact the VOA, this would then filter to the council tax and banding of each flat. If the LL wants to go further to get leases created for each flat and a freehold titles.

        Where u given an EPC for the flat or on the whole building?

        Comment


          #5
          The EPC I was given was for the flat only. Curiously, the address on the EPC is <number>A, <street> ...

          Comment


            #6
            I would think that the default position if its still one property is that you are a lodger or an excluded tenant with limited protection from eviction. Either of these things are perfectly viable but if they are not what was advertised and not suitable, you should go back to the agent and seek to unwind the contract due to mis-selling.

            Comment


              #7
              But the contract is an AST so surely I can't be an excluded tenant?

              Comment


                #8
                In the same way that something that says it is not an AST may actually be an AST, something that says it is an AST might not be one. What matters is whether or not you meet statutory definition of an AST, not what the document is called.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Does the landlord live upstairs?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    No he doesn't live upstairs, he operates a 9-5 business on weekdays from there.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by drcref View Post
                      No he doesn't live upstairs, he operates a 9-5 business on weekdays from there.
                      In that case your landlord cannot be a resident landlord.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by drcref View Post

                        Now I am strongly suspecting that the landlord has not registered the two flats separately after they were split. !
                        I see properties like this on auction, where it has one title, but it has been internally arranged into different units. Each such property has particular history, so the reasons vary from one to the other.

                        I have various scenarios in my head about what has gone on. I don't think it is as simple as you think and you would be opening a can of worms.

                        Ideally, he should have separated the electricity, gas, water. It is n't cheap and it will cost several thousand pounds to dig up the road to separate gas, water and electricity. Your flat would need its own consumer unit (fuse box) and a electricity meter. He will also have to fit a new gas boiler, for the central heating system. Some people avoid such expenditure, to keep it simple and leave it as a single unit, but you end with the side effect your describe.

                        I would not worry about with credit history. Unless you are planning to apply for a mortgage imminently. There are a lots of people who live in shared accommodation, and don't have their names on the tenancy agreement or utilities. However, do pay your rent by bank transfer and keep a copy of your tenancy agreement and bank statement for a few years.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          These days the internet is essential.

                          Does he have Wi-fi upstairs? If so ask for his Wi-fi codes. You could ask for an Ethernet connection from his router down to your flat. You need an RJ-45 cable. It involves wiring. I prefer wired internet, as less prone to problems then Wi-fi.

                          You will save the monthly subscription of broadband.


                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks for your help so far everyone!

                            Flashback1966 My flat has separate utilities from upstairs as far as I can tell. There is a consumer unit, gas and electricity meter which seem to supply only my flat. There's also a separate gas boiler in my flat. I have also seen, in the small shared hallway, on the ceiling, an enclosure with another set of electricity and gas meters which I assume are for upstairs.

                            He has Wi-Fi upstairs but I don't want to share a local network with not only the landlord, but also many of his employees, for privacy and security reasons.

                            Today I heard back from the lettings agent. It appears the landlord insists on installing a second line in his name for me (for which I would pay) and was seeking an offer from BT. No other comments from him. He completely ignored the issue of separating the addresses, almost deliberately I would say. I asked the agent to discuss that specific issue with him, in case it was unclear before, which it wasn't really.

                            Who do I contact if the communication with the landlord keeps going in circles? Can the council do anything about this? I just need to have my own address for the flat I am renting, that's all. I pay £150-200 more rent than comparable properties, presumably to cover council tax and utilities. If the landlord isn't even paying a separate council tax, he just pockets the extra money. Which is extremely dishonest to say the least.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You may be paying more compared to other properties, but they may not include the additional bills. The council is not going to do anything concerning this issue as it's not one which merits an enforcement. If you are unhappy with it, you should give you notice and find another property, where you pay all the bills etc. You can still be registered to vote. Not having utilities in your name is not the end of the world, from a positive perspective at least you know exactly what your rental amount is and will not go up or down.

                              Comment

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