Access to sheds

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    Access to sheds

    Hi. We have been renting a flat for the past decade under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. The flat is one of five in a single block. The back garden contains a large outbuilding comprising ten sheds. Implicitly, then, two sheds per flat. The inventory does contain the wording 'Garages, Sheds, Outbuildings:' but doesn't specify a number. We were given keys to one shed at check-in.

    A few years ago, the landlord's handyman gave us keys to a second shed without the landlord's knowledge. On a subsequent visit to our flat, the landlord did see a large pile of boxes in one room and said: 'Do you have enough storage? Because if not, I can give you a second shed'. We declined so as not to get the handyman into trouble. The handyman has also given keys to second sheds to two of the other flats.

    Recently, one of the flats without a second shed complained to the agent managing our block of flats on behalf of the landlord. They feel aggrieved that they don't have a second shed. An obvious solution would be for the landlord to grant second sheds to the remaining two flats, but he won't do so as he's storing some of his son's stuff in the final two sheds. His proposed solution is that the three flats now with second sheds relinquish them.

    Does the inventory and/or tenancy agreement have to exclude use of the sheds for us not to have any entitlement to use them, or does it instead have to include use of the sheds for us to be entitled to use them? I'm wondering whether they're implicitly part of the property, and whether being 'implicitly part of the property' has any legal basis. If so, and if the inventories and/or tenancy agreements for the two flats without second sheds don't specify that one of their sheds is excluded because the landlord is using them for his son's stuff, then the landlord doesn't have any reasonable grounds for withholding a second shed from them and we can all have two rather than all have one.

    #2
    What does your tenancy agreement say about the sheds?
    What does the tenancy agreement say about the contents of the inventory?
    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


      #3
      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
      What does your tenancy agreement say about the sheds?
      They're not mentioned at all. There is, however, a clause that says 'Exclusions from the Let premises (e.g. Garage or other outbuildings, etc.)', followed by an empty text box.

      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
      What does the tenancy agreement say about the contents of the inventory?
      Not much. The AST is clearly not tailored to any specific property, as it covers all bases. For example, it mentions driveways (our block has on-street parking only). The only clause that mentions the inventory is as follows:

      'Having replaced the landlord's items in the same areas of the premises (as far as is practicable) as at commencement of the tenancy, to co-operate in the checking of any Inventory and/or Schedule of Condition and to pay, or be liable to pay, for any previously agreed costs
      involved in the checking of any Inventory and/or Schedule of Condition'.

      Aside from that, the term inventory only features in a list of definitions that precedes the clauses of the agreement, being defined as follows:

      'Inventory and/or Schedule of Condition: This refers to any document prepared by the landlord, the agent or an inventory clerk and provided to the tenant detailing the landlord's fixtures, fittings, furnishings, equipment, etc., the decor and condition of the premises generally. Such a document may subsequently be relied upon at the end of the tenancy in assessing damage or compensation for damage (over and above fair wear & tear) and so should be checked carefully at commencement of the tenancy. Any significant mistakes, misdescriptions or other amendments should be notified to the landlord or his agent as soon as practicable after the tenancy starts. In order to avoid misunderstandings or disputes later, it is strongly recommended that this notification be in writing and a copy kept for future reference'.

      Comment


        #4
        Sorry, but I don't think your contract gives you any specific rights to two sheds. However, if the landlord gave you the keys to the extra one and then continued to take rent from you, you might argue that the tenancy now includes the extra shed. I've no idea whether this would fly legally, and it could result in notice if the landlord gets pi$$ed off. If I were you I would try to negotiate and suggest that instead of taking sheds back that have been given and are now arguably part of your tenancy, he could instead agree that all future tenancy agreements will specify one shed only.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
          I don't think your contract gives you any specific rights to two sheds.
          Obviously the inventory doesn't specify that the sheds are included and the tenancy agreement doesn't specify that they're excluded. So contractually it's equivocal. Which is why my question is focused more on the law. Does the law allow for the assumption that the property includes two sheds (rather than does the contract allow for this assumption)?

          Comment


            #6
            Why would it assume two and not say three or even all the sheds in your contract? As far as I am aware, there is no legal presumption that 5 properties and 10 sheds equals two each. It is usually possible to construct arguments that anything within the demise of the property not specifically excluded is included, but that would be difficult here because of the conflicting interests of the other tenants. I think that legal redress is a blind alley and you are better off negotiating.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
              It is usually possible to construct arguments that anything within the demise of the property not specifically excluded is included
              That's a start. What's that based on?

              Yes, I'm certainly looking to negotiate, but preferably from an informed position.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by endymion View Post

                Obviously the inventory doesn't specify that the sheds are included and the tenancy agreement doesn't specify that they're excluded. So contractually it's equivocal. Which is why my question is focused more on the law. Does the law allow for the assumption that the property includes two sheds (rather than does the contract allow for this assumption)?
                It is not equivocal. Unless the deeds to the flat show that it includes a specific shed, nothing is implicitly imported into your contract. If the deeds do specify a specific shed then it would need to be explicitly excluded. You can get the deeds at land registry.

                You are making up apparent rights you do not have (or probably don't have).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                  It is not equivocal. Unless the deeds to the flat show that it includes a specific shed, nothing is implicitly imported into your contract. If the deeds do specify a specific shed then it would need to be explicitly excluded. You can get the deeds at land registry.
                  That's also a start. The sheds used to be numbered, but the numbers have long since washed off. The neighbouring block is a mirror image of ours and their block of sheds features more resilient numbers (in metal). Based on that numbering system, each flat has two sheds. Different landlord, though.

                  Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                  You are making up apparent rights you do not have (or probably don't have).
                  At no point have I claimed to have any particular right.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Get the deeds. You cannot assume anything about the demise of a property. Perhaps none of the sheds are within any demise, or perhaps some flats have two each and others have none, or perhaps the deeds are silent (in which case, as a mere sub-tenant of a lessee you cannot claim any rights at all).

                    I may have missed it, but have you asked your immediate landlord?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                      Get the deeds.
                      Will do.

                      Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                      in which case, as a mere sub-tenant of a lessee you cannot claim any rights at all)
                      By lessee do you mean the landlord is the leaseholder? He owns the freehold as well. We're tenants (rather than subtenants) of his company, which owns the freehold of our block plus 150 other flats and houses plus a pub and a hotel.

                      Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                      I may have missed it, but have you asked your immediate landlord?
                      Not yet. We found out that he's intending to ask three of the flats to relinquish sheds through the handyman. We don't have his contact details and so we'll just have to await the letter. The handyman is averse to giving us the landlord's contact details as everything is supposed to be done through the letting agent and he's already in trouble for giving out extra sheds without the landlord's permission.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        There may or may not be a lease in that case. But there might be. If there is a lease, then it makes no difference that the lessee and freeholder happen to be the same people. If there are no leases, I cannot see that you have any particular rights beyond the flat that you lease. The presumption in your AST would be that you are renting the flat, not random other parts of any common areas. The common parts can be allocated however freeholder likes. The only case you can make I think is if your flat happens to have a lease which specifies what it within its demise (or if your own AST contract says something).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
                          Why would it assume two and not say three or even all the sheds in your contract?
                          I believe the OP is coming from the position of:
                          • The LL has granted us the right, beyond the tenancy agreement, to use two sheds.
                          • Would the law consider that having granted that use, the LL cannot unilaterally withdraw the use of those sheds?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            AndrewDod,

                            Interesting. I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. Nonetheless, if the deeds stipulate that the sheds are part of the flat, rather than communal, surely that's quite a different matter.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by MdeB View Post

                              I believe the OP is coming from the position of:
                              • The LL has granted us the right, beyond the tenancy agreement, to use two sheds.
                              • Would the law consider that having granted that use, the LL cannot unilaterally withdraw the use of those sheds?
                              Well, partly, but mainly I'm considering whether the sheds would have to be explicitly excluded from the tenancy in the AST. It's a question of what would be considered the default position in law.

                              Comment

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