First time landlord making mistakes

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    First time landlord making mistakes

    Hello,

    I'm a first time landlord who has make a few BIG mistakes and would like advise on what I can do to help me out.

    I've got a double story extension on the side of the property where the garage would normally be (semi-detached home).
    I've converted the side with a staircase going up to the first floor on the side extension which is rented out. The access is only from the side of the house and does not include access into the house, but the exit door is shared for business purposes on the bottom part of the side extension.
    The rest of the house (ground floor, first floor and garden) is for living for me and my family.

    Below are some details of the property rented

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

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

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?
    21/10/2019

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

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?
    Per month on 21st of the month

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?
    Deposit was taken when tenant paid their first rent but not put into a deposit scheme.

    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).
    Notice has not been given yet, but I would like to give it.

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

    Yes, but I dont know how this would class as its in one side of the house.

    The rent includes all expenses which includes heating/lighting/council tax etc.
    The rented accommodation only has electric appliances. Central heating and hot water is centrally controlled by me in my side of the home where it is on between 5am - 10am and then 5pm to 10pm as agreed in the TA.

    My big mistakes are:
    When I had rented out the property, I had not put the deposit into the protection scheme as I didn't know that it was a requirement.
    Also, I had not carried out a recent gas safety check as the property was all running off electrical appliances. I have carried out one now and it has passed.
    I had not provided an EPC certificate of the property either as the property is shared with me and I am paying for all the bills.

    I am willing to pay back the deposit in full and can provide the rest of the documents now.
    I would like to recover the property as the tenant is be a nuisance and always making complaints of one thing or another. Each of which I continue to try and resolve.
    The tenant was given a week to try the property where I had not taken any payment and was continually asking her if everything was OK and she kept saying yes. We asked this a few times over the months too and then come January the complaints had started saying that from the day she moved in she was not able to live in peace and continuously from then we get messages of one thing or another.

    We had reduced the rent too but the complaints still come about water or noise. She even dictated to us when we should be allowed to use the kitchen as she could hear us when we used it in the morning and evenings.
    I finally went down the route of saying if she was to move by next month, I will be willing to waiver a month of rent but it does not look like she will move anytime soon as the rent value is very good for the area.

    This is now becoming really stressful for my wife and I and any help would be appreciated.
    We are almost near the end of the TA, but I do not know how we can evict her. I was wondering maybe I can up the rent once the TA and rolls over to periodic tern but also do not know how I can do this and what notice period I need to give.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!

    #2
    From your description it's very difficult to know if the property occupied by the "tenant" is a separate dwelling or not.

    Do you share a front door and any other space?
    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
      You have certainly made all the mistakes, as some would state you need to do some training, leaving that aside,

      1. You would need to pay back the deposit or the T could sue you upto 3 times the deposit taken.
      2. Your documents were all served after the tenancy, before you serve notice ensure you have provided all the necessary documents if unsure read the forum as this topic has been discussed alot. If in doubt read the how to rent guide, and make sure this is also given to the tenant.
      3. The council may view the flat you have created as illegal if it does not meet the room size requirements, did you at least go through building regs?,especially if the T makes a formal complaint to the environment.

      Would strongly advice you speak with the council to sort out your intentions with the extension part, is it going to be a self contained flat or part of your existing house, as you would need an epc, you would also need to give access to the T to be able to adjust the heating and hot water, as this can not be controlled by you.

      Comment


        #4
        1&2 assume that this is a tenancy, and I'm not 100% sure it is.
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          From your description it's very difficult to know if the property occupied by the "tenant" is a separate dwelling or not.

          Do you share a front door and any other space?
          Thank you for your fast reply on this.

          This I believe is a seperate dwelling as the only shared part is the front door on the side of the property.
          We have one door for the main house and another for the side which gives access to the tenant into their space and also for customers who come for our business purposes.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ash72 View Post
            You have certainly made all the mistakes, as some would state you need to do some training, leaving that aside,

            1. You would need to pay back the deposit or the T could sue you upto 3 times the deposit taken.
            2. Your documents were all served after the tenancy, before you serve notice ensure you have provided all the necessary documents if unsure read the forum as this topic has been discussed alot. If in doubt read the how to rent guide, and make sure this is also given to the tenant.
            3. The council may view the flat you have created as illegal if it does not meet the room size requirements, did you at least go through building regs?,especially if the T makes a formal complaint to the environment.

            Would strongly advice you speak with the council to sort out your intentions with the extension part, is it going to be a self contained flat or part of your existing house, as you would need an epc, you would also need to give access to the T to be able to adjust the heating and hot water, as this can not be controlled by you.
            Thank you for your fast reply too.
            I will contact my council for further advise on this.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Bhups View Post
              This I believe is a seperate dwelling as the only shared part is the front door on the side of the property.
              We have one door for the main house and another for the side which gives access to the tenant into their space and also for customers who come for our business purposes.
              So the tenant shares a door with your business - I think you either need to describe this property in a lot of detail.
              If the tenant shares a door (and corridor) with the property it's not a separate property.

              Which is an essential element of this.
              I will contact my council for further advise on this.
              Don't do that yet!

              Check the planning permission for the extension first.
              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


                #8
                I would strongly advise AGAINST speaking to the council at this stage.

                What will they do that will actually help you?

                They may say everything is wonderful the way your property is setup and you dont have to worry about a thing......and that is what youve believed up to this point anyway so no need to rock the boat.

                Baring that, they will give you lots of hassle with sorting x, y and z whilst also providing as much support as they can to your tenant to avoid them becoming homeless (the LAs responsibility) - so far as to intimidate you implying you are the worst landlord ever and they may take you to court blah blah blah even though they have little basis nor knowledge for half the threats they hand out.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you guys SOOO much for you help with this.
                  I've just sketched up a rough plan of the space and uploaded here.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Tell the T your selling the whole property, and that you wont be renewing the tenancy, and then organise for an estate agent to come to the property when the T is there so they think you are doing it. This may make the tenant leave, and may be even pay them for their removal.

                    If and when the T leaves sort out your property and go on some basic LL training, before you rent it out again.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Bhups View Post
                      Thank you guys SOOO much for you help with this.
                      I've just sketched up a rough plan of the space and uploaded here.
                      Is there a lockable door at the top of the stairs or does it go straight into the living space?

                      Do you have keys to the "tenant's door" and use it regularly to get to your business space?
                      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


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                        Is there a lockable door at the top of the stairs or does it go straight into the living space?

                        Do you have keys to the "tenant's door" and use it regularly to get to your business space?
                        On the ground floor, once you open the front door, there are 2 doors. One to go straight which is lockable by the tenant and another to go right into the business space which is accessible by us only.

                        We have keys to all doors in the house, but the tenant only has a copy of the the keys to the front door and their entrance door.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          OK.

                          I think that makes it a tenancy.
                          The occupant has a complete dwelling house and can exclude everyone.
                          There's an element of shared space, but it's not part of the landlord's home.

                          When I had rented out the property, I had not put the deposit into the protection scheme as I didn't know that it was a requirement.
                          You can remedy this by returning the deposit before serving s21 notice.
                          Also, I had not carried out a recent gas safety check as the property was all running off electrical appliances. I have carried out one now and it has passed.
                          I think that this means that serving notice under s21 is not possible and it is not possible to correct this.
                          I had not provided an EPC certificate of the property either as the property is shared with me and I am paying for all the bills.
                          You need to have the complete property re-assessed post extension.

                          It is not legal for you to control the heating of your tenant.
                          You need to separate the utility supply.

                          However, it's worth talking to a solicitor - they may be able to make a case that it's a single property, that is your home and you have a lodger with a greater than usual degree of autonomy.
                          Worst case, they'll confirm I'm right and you'll know where you are.

                          Regarding the council, the planning permission would indicate whether it was granted to create a larger existing property or to create a new one.

                          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 jpkeates View Post
                            You need to have the complete property re-assessed post extension.
                            The work on the property for the extension was complete in 2004 and an EPC was last done in 2013. (Just checked it online).

                            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                            It is not legal for you to control the heating of your tenant.
                            You need to separate the utility supply.
                            I will try and fit electric heaters into the property and put it on a separate meter.
                            Would this apply to hot water too?

                            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                            Regarding the council, the planning permission would indicate whether it was granted to create a larger existing property or to create a new one.
                            The Application Type was a Full Planning Permission with granted and checked at the end as far as I can tell from the Archived planning permission records on the council site.

                            Thanks again for all the advice!!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Bhups View Post
                              The work on the property for the extension was complete in 2004 and an EPC was last done in 2013. (Just checked it online).
                              I think you might be OK, there's only one building, even if it comprises 2 dwellings, and I think an EPC is for a building in this case.
                              I will try and fit electric heaters into the property and put it on a separate meter.
                              Would this apply to hot water too?
                              Yes - you can't control any of a tenants utilities.

                              I think you need to think about how you plan to operate this part of the property long term.
                              I'd probably be trying to ensure that future occupants aren't tenants, by changing how the property is structured so that they're lodgers.
                              The Application Type was a Full Planning Permission with granted and checked at the end as far as I can tell from the Archived planning permission records on the council site.
                              The issue is whether the permission is for an extension to the original property or to create a new one.

                              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

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