Longtime peppercorn tenant

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  • Longtime peppercorn tenant

    Hi,

    I've recently purchased a property. The main building was used as a business (got premission for change of use to convert) and there is an attached house (residential). The person I purchased the entire site from has been renting this 3 bed house to someone on a peppercorn basis for the past 38 years. I think he started paying £2 per week rent and still does!

    The previous owner (ran the attached business) had a deal that the tenant would care for the site grounds and his rent wouldn't increase. As you might guess this was all done on a handshake and nothing has ever been in writing about the renting arrangement.

    Now that I own the site I would eventually like to convert it to 1 building. I'm not sure what rights the current tenant has? how much notice I would need to give him or where I stand legally with the whole affair.

    It is also a little tricky as the tenant is 80 so I hardly want to be causing him hassle/stress or kick him out. Another complication is that the propery is very run down, he has done all his own bodged repairs over the past 30-odd years and it shows. I very much doubt it would pass any safety checks. Should I just get the inspectors round, it would be condemmed, he would be rehoused and I could convert. I'm just worried I could end up converting then he have a claim to be moved back in at £2 per week

    Anyone know where I stand?

    Thanks

    Tony

  • #2
    It's bad news, as you expected.
    1. T is not governed by Housing Act 1988. It was not retroactive; his tenancy pre-dates it.
    2. It is therefore probably within the scary Rent Act 1977, even if it began before 1977- the Act merely consolidated earlier legislation. References below mean that Act, unless stated.
    3. Saving: it is not protected by 1977 Act if at a low rent within s.5. For a pre-1990 letting, that means a rent of less than 2/3rds. of RV as at 23 March 1965 [see s.25(3)] or as at 22 March 1973 if RV was less than £400 (in Greater London) or £200 (elsewhere).
    4. It might even be within the largely-obsolete s.8 of LTA 1985. That applies, for post-6 July 1957 tenancies, if the rent [per year, I imagine] does not exceed £80 in Greater London or £52 elsewhere.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


    • #3
      oh dear!

      I can confirm that his tenancy began in 1970 and has been £104 per year since then.

      By bad news do you mean he would be entitled to keep his current rate, even if I was to renovate the property?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by uktony5 View Post
        oh dear!

        I can confirm that his tenancy began in 1970 and has been £104 per year since then.

        By bad news do you mean he would be entitled to keep his current rate, even if I was to renovate the property?
        What was property's Rateble Value (for General Rates) as at 1965 or 1970?
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


        • #5
          All rates were fully paid by the owner not by the tenant but the rates for that portion of the building would have been around the same as the rent, about £100 per year.

          Thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by uktony5 View Post
            All rates were fully paid by the owner not by the tenant but the rates for that portion of the building would have been around the same as the rent, about £100 per year.

            Thanks
            NO- not "How much was paid?" but "How much was RV?"
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment


            • #7
              Ah sorry, misunderstood, you mean what would have been the RV then, this would have been around £5 per week.

              Thanks

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by uktony5 View Post
                Ah sorry, misunderstood, you mean what would have been the RV then, this would have been around £5 per week.

                Thanks
                STILL NOT RIGHT!
                RV is not a payment nor a 'per week' amount. Instead, it was a set per-property figure as a sort of value of imaginary letting.
                Ignore how it was calculated; just advise us what RV figure was, so as to determine whether 1977 Act protection applies.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Out of interest, where can one generally find this?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pelican eats pigeon View Post
                    Out of interest, where can one generally find this?
                    Local Authority or Water Company.
                    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am not sure that looking into what type of tenancy it is helps in this case.

                      What was the deal the old chap got? Look after the grounds and the rent won't go up. If he has kept to his side he will expect the rent not to go up.

                      If you attempt to disturb the arrangement and it gets to court, the court will say that you purchased with full knowledge of the arrangement and (presumably) paid a price accordingly, therefore the arrangement is binding on you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'll get the hang of this one day

                        I didn't think it was possible to go back to 1970 with rateable values, and a quick call to the VOA they told me they don't keep those records before 1990. My only other port of call would be the council wouldn't it, or is there another source to find this info?

                        The current RV, if it's any use, is £4550

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just saw the post RE the water company now. I'll try them too.

                          Lawcruncher, yes the deal was that while he tended the grounds (for the whole site) his rent never went up. If I was to convert then there would be no need for him to tend to the grounds anymore.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                            Local Authority or Water Company.
                            Sorry to go off topic, but is there a mechanism for challenging the RV arbitrarily set by the water company for a post-1990 conversion?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pelican eats pigeon View Post
                              Sorry to go off topic, but is there a mechanism for challenging the RV arbitrarily set by the water company for a post-1990 conversion?
                              Probably not now, as RVs are- otherwise- rarely relevant.
                              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                              Comment

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