L Not Giving 24 Hours' Notice + Multiple Other Unreasonable Requests

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    L Not Giving 24 Hours' Notice + Multiple Other Unreasonable Requests

    Hi everyone. Just wanting some advice regarding what I view as unreasonable behaviour on behalf of my landlord. Sorry for the length, but I wanted to be detailed. I've emboldened the issues I have; the rest is context and explanation.

    Background context: Me and my partner have been renting a room in an HMO flatshare in London since October. The property has two other rooms, with two other tenants, and is the ground floor of a house; the upstairs is a separate flat, though we all access through the same front door. Our lease explicitly states that the landlord must give 24 hours' notice before accessing the property for repairs, maintenance, whatever - which is also, naturally, a part of "quiet enjoyment".

    The biggest problem: The landlord regularly accesses the property without proper notification, and sometimes without any notification at all. Previously, she informed us that we would have the doors in the flat replaced over a 4-day period. Instead, the work took two weeks - and at no point did the landlord ever tell us how long it would be taking once it was delayed.

    We were informed by the workers that this was because the landlord was failing to provide the doors which she insisted she source herself, rather than allowing them to do it. She then emailed, claiming the delay was because people in the flats had requested "not to be disturbed" on certain days, which the workers confirmed was a flat-out lie. She then proceeded to randomly turn up with a slew of other random workers, to undertake god-knows-what work throughout the property, for a week and a half afterwards. She'd simply come, open up the flat while we were still in bed, set them to work, and drive off. Often the work would end up being in our rooms (replacing sockets, installing fire alarms, etc.) and we'd be asked by extremely embarrassed workers to get up and leave. This actually led me to miss multiple days at university, as I didn't feel comfortable letting complete strangers be in the apartment without any supervision, especially as they'd regularly leave the front door open and go upstairs without locking the downstairs property.

    When challenged on this (when I actually managed to catch her before she ran off), she'd completely ignore the question and start complaining about how we had left the porch light on, or some other unconnected nonsense. She's also just flat-out lied to my face, claiming she sent emails notifying us when she absolutely hasn't. Once, I would say "it went astray", but this is on multiple occasions. She'll also often notify one or two of the tenants, and not the others.

    Today, having a lie-in, I was (again) woken up by the landlord randomly walking around the property - apparently to show a potential tenant around. She had emailed us with about 2-3 hours' notice, but I'd been asleep. She's also conducting a viewing tonight, apparently, and tomorrow evening. Again, she failed to give the necessary 24 hours' notice. And once again, when my partner confronted her about it, she just smiled, waved it off, said "it's all done now", shut the door in my partner's faced and walked off!

    Now. I've tried to be an understanding tenant, and not make much of a fuss, especially as I would like a good landlords' reference at the end of this tenancy, but at this point I'm thoroughly ticked off.

    Atop this, she has made multiple demands of us that I mostly see as unreasonable:

    1. Absolutely no overnight guests are allowed. Funnily enough, this only came up because of two occasions when she randomly turned up without any notice! And guests happened to be staying over (both times were for one night only.) Once was my guest, the other was my flatmates' girlfriend, who had stayed over. According to her it's because having any overnight guest at all isn't allowed in an HMO due to overcrowding, but I can't bring myself to believe that nobody in any HMO anywhere in the country can have a guest for one night.

    2. We are not allowed to touch the thermostat whatsoever, despite it being so cold I'm wearing multiple layers inside the house. She's automated the system. As the bills are included in the rent, this isn't completely insane - but as we're extremely reasonable with the temperature (never turn it above ~21 apart from in short bursts to dry clothes on radiators, turn it off completely at night, usually have it at ~19-20) I don't think it makes any sense, especially given that it's very cold in the flat. I don't believe that the amount being paid to her by all nine tenants in the property (which, judging by our bill contribution, has to be around £600 a month at least) as a whole doesn't cover the bills.

    3. Just today, after turning up this morning with basically no notice, she saw that I had set up a small, foldable table + chair in the shared living room to use my laptop on (with the consent of all my flatmates, of course). She has now banned us having any furniture that isn't hers outside of our bedrooms. To me, this is clearly just unreasonable - we haven't moved, damaged, or done anything to her furniture. All I've done is put a little foldable table in the living room. This is a level of "control freak" I honestly cannot believe.



    I would really appreciate any advice, alternate opinions from other landlords, or anything. As I see it, she's completely, flagrantly violating the spirit of "quiet enjoyment". I've tried pretty hard to be a reasonable tenant, to be understanding of the complications of maintenance work and flat viewings, to overlook multiple violations of the lease, even when she's lying, and basically just taking the mickey - but I've frankly had enough. The problem is, this is my first time not renting in halls, and I need a good reference if me and my partner are going to rent our own place next year.

    #2
    Originally posted by AmisThysia View Post
    Background context: Me and my partner have been renting a room in an HMO flatshare in London since October. The property has two other rooms, with two other tenants, and is the ground floor of a house; the upstairs is a separate flat, though we all access through the same front door. Our lease explicitly states that the landlord must give 24 hours' notice before accessing the property for repairs, maintenance, whatever - which is also, naturally, a part of "quiet enjoyment".
    I would like to see the exact clause you are referring to.

    So you and your partner have a tenancy together for the room, with other people having a seperate tenancy for upstairs, with kitchens or whatever a common area shared by everyone? Generally speaking then, you only have exclusive possession of the room. The landlord are able to without notice enter the shared part, and for example show an unlet room in other parts of the property to prospective tenants.
    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


      #3
      The house is split into two properties: a flat downstairs, and a flat upstairs. The downstairs flat has 4 tenants, with 3 rooms, and a shared bathroom/living room/kitchen. This is the property we stay in, and is the one with a tenancy which is being terminated early by another tenant, for which the viewings occurred. The upstairs flat has I believe 5 tenants, with their own facilities. The two properties are "separate", they're just all within one house (like two apartments in an apartment block.) I mentioned the upstairs for context only.

      The asked-for tenancy clauses:
      "To permit the Landlord or his Agent or authorised workman, from time to time upon a minimum of 24 hours prior written notification (except in the case of emergency), to enter the premises..."
      "During the last two months of the tenancy, upon a minimum of 24 hours prior notification, to permit the premises to be viewed during working hours or at other reasonable times including at week-ends by prospective Tenants or purchasers..."

      Both of these clauses have been violated, as the premises has been entered with <24 hours notification or no notification at all. One can argue that the latter one doesn't apply if, as you say, the shared kitchen/living room/hallway are apparently free game and we have no right to privacy and quiet enjoyment whatsoever outside of our room. However the former most certainly has been violated by the landlord randomly turning up with workers to change sockets, install fire alarms, etc. in our room with no notice, 2-3 weeks of continuous, undiscussed work after the supposed "4 days" of work to replace the doors was meant to have finished.

      Even if the clauses had not technically been violated, I think it is clear that the L's behaviour is unreasonable. No? What would you advise I do? Do you have any thoughts about their other demands? Really just hoping for some advice here.

      Comment


        #4
        Drying clothes on radiators is not something that any sensible landlord would allow as it tends to end in condensation and mould.

        Having said that, the landlord must allow you to adequately heat and control the temperature. Unfortunately, internet thermostats are allowing landlords to turn big brother on heating.

        Unfortunately, as well as licensing limits, HMO rooms are often going to be operating at their maximum legal capacity, and the only exemptions are for family members. I think the landlord is probably correct on the visitor restriction, although many HMO residents probably have visitors under the radar. The manager could face prosecution if the council inspected and found the guests.

        HMO managers have to control the contents of communal areas, both for safety reasons, and to prevent tenants taking over parts of them. It is often simpler to operate a zero tolerance policy that a managed one, where the latter involves controlled permissions. Items allowed under a managed policy act as precedents for other items and things can get out of control.

        A table should not be flammable, but some older soft furnishing is dangerous, and no soft furnishing would be allowed on escape routes.

        If they didn't operate zero tolerance, there would probably have to be a policy of written approval.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
          Unfortunately, as well as licensing limits, HMO rooms are often going to be operating at their maximum legal capacity, and the only exemptions are for family members. I think the landlord is probably correct on the visitor restriction, although many HMO residents probably have visitors under the radar. The manager could face prosecution if the council inspected and found the guests.
          Visitors (I mean actual visitors not people living their under the radar being called visitors) that stayed the odd night isn't occupier and doesn't cause HMO issues surely?
          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
            In terms of overcrowding legislation, there is a concept of a temporary visiting family member. Whilst temporary is not defined, it seems to be that it would include one night, and, by implication you could commit an overcrowding offence with just a one night visit by a non family member. If temporary visits by family members are exempt, the implication is that temporary visits by other people are not.

            My guess is that councils get temporary visitors as an explanation for licensing breaches so often that the assumption is that that it is a lie.

            Comment


              #7
              If your tenancy includes heating in the rent just turn up the thermostat if the property is too cold. 21 degrees should be adequate in most cases. The landlady wont like it but there is nothing she can do about it as you have the right to control the heating. The other things you complain about seem quite reasonable to me.

              Comment


                #8
                Please complete & paste https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...ll-new-posters
                LL is ebtitled to enter any communal area in the property, without any Notice, at any time, but not your room..
                HMOs like this are usually for 1 or rmore related occupants, not occ visitors eg bf/gf.
                If unhappy, you can give due Notice at end of any Fixed Term.

                Comment


                  #9
                  leaseholder64,

                  We have no other ways to dry clothes - the property doesn't have a drier, and with the temperature being forced low now, clothes don't dry on a clothes horse before they end up smelling horribly of damp. I have to be able to clean my clothes, for god's sake.
                  As for control of communal areas, I can understand that logic, but her issue is that it "looks untidy". The other tenants are all 100% fine with the small foldable table and chair, so "taking over the space" isn't an issue - they're as annoyed about these restrictions as I am. And as there's an old carpet and other such soft furnishings in the same place, I don't think the things she's demanding be removed can be considered more of a "fire hazard" than those she insists remain. It seems to just be an issue of control-freak-ism, even if she could fake-justify it with the reasons you state.

                  I'm astounded by how draconian HMO licenses seem to be. I was under the impression that ASTs are under the spirit that the property is being rented such that the tenant has (within reason, of course) right to use the space as their home. Not allowing any overnight guests whatsoever, even for a single night, is ridiculous, but if that truly is the case I don't have a qualm with the LL about it.

                  DPT57,

                  We have been changing the temperature as you describe when it gets truly cold, but I don't want to end up in a spat with the landlord over it without knowing I'm "in the right" to change it. The responses in this thread reassure me that I can, at least, change the temperature. Thanks.

                  However, I'm surprised that you find the landlady randomly turning up with workers to enter my room with no notice "reasonable." To me, this seems a blatant violation of the lease, which states that 24 hours' notice is needed. This is the most egregious "sin" in my view - as stated in the OP - but nobody seems to want to comment on it..? I don't know. I'm feeling rather depressed about the whole thing.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by AmisThysia View Post
                    We have no other ways to dry clothes - the property doesn't have a drier, and with the temperature being forced low now, clothes don't dry on a clothes horse before they end up smelling horribly of damp. I have to be able to clean my clothes, for god's sake.
                    You can't dry clothes on radiators or a clothes horse.
                    That's not anything to do with renting a property, that's basic physics and common sense.

                    UK Properties aren't normally designed to extract damp from the air, and drying clothes inside simply moves the moisture from the clothing into the atmosphere, where it condenses on any surface cold enough. So you're essentially wringing out your washing on the buildings cold surfaces.

                    Clothes dry outside because of the wind and sun, not the temperature particularly (as long as they don't freeze).
                    So that's the ideal place to dry clothes.
                    Other than that, a laundrette?

                    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


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mariner View Post
                      Please complete & paste https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...ll-new-posters
                      LL is ebtitled to enter any communal area in the property, without any Notice, at any time, but not your room..
                      HMOs like this are usually for 1 or rmore related occupants, not occ visitors eg bf/gf.
                      If unhappy, you can give due Notice at end of any Fixed Term.
                      I don't think the questions are relevant here, for the most part, but here goes:

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

                      London, England, as stated in the OP.

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

                      As I understand it, it's for the room only in an HMO.

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

                      1st October 2018.

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

                      9 months.

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

                      PCM, on the 1st.

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

                      Yes, and on 1st Oct 2018.

                      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).

                      N/A

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


                      No.

                      Me and my partner will be moving out at the end of the fixed term, for sure, and certainly won't be staying in an HMO again considering how ridiculously draconian this thread has made it apparent they are. But we don't particularly want to spend the next 6 months freezing, miserable, and under the constant shadow of the landlord randomly kicking us out of our room by abandoning workers on the doorstep with no notice and driving off, or even shutting the door in our face when challenged about it - hence asking about the situation here.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        jpkeates,

                        As a physicist, and by virtue of drying clothes on radiators and clothes horses for years, I can assure you, that's not correct - the clothes will and do dry, and I've never had any water damage or condensation from doing so over the course of a decade in my current family home. As for drying outside, it's January, in London. I think that's an answer in itself. If it comes to using a laundrette, I shall, of course, because obviously I need clean clothes, but it doesn't seem a particularly reasonable solution to me to effectively outlaw the drying of clothes within a property.

                        However, I'm not here to bicker, and this is really quite beside the point I came here to ask about. If you have a helpful comment re: the issues I've asked about, I'd love to hear it, but otherwise I'm not going to clog the forum by arguing about how to dry clothes. Thanks.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          There's nothing in what you've posted that makes me think there's enough to unilaterally end the tenancy early.
                          The landlord may agree to an early surrender if you ask, but they don't have to.

                          A landlord entering your room without the proper notice isn't allowed, but it's difficult to do anything about it in practice, except stand there and deny them access, because there's nothing they can do legally to overcome your refusal.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by AmisThysia View Post
                            As a physicist, and by virtue of drying clothes on radiators and clothes horses for years, I can assure you, that's not correct - the clothes will and do dry, and I've never had any water damage or condensation from doing so over the course of a decade in my current family home.
                            My point wasn't that the clothes don't dry, but that the water in them has to go somewhere.

                            The experience of one or two people drying clothes indoors in a whole house is not comprable with all of the tenants in an HMO drying clothes inside.
                            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


                              #15
                              The problem with drying clothes on radiators are that it is usually combined with leaving all the windows closed, and that it puts the moisture into the air very quickly, compared with the natural air exchange time. If you do it with the windows open, you may be OK, but that is not how typical tenants behave.

                              Comment

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