Relative allowed free occupation to refurbish property

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    Relative allowed free occupation to refurbish property

    I know you will all roll your eyes at this but we are in a mess.

    A few years ago a family member moved into a property the deal was he would pick up the service charges and put in a cheap kitchen in lieu of rent. It all went well he stayed there for a few years and then moved out. This was a verbal contract.

    Fast forward to recently he asks to do the same again the place was a mess. Reluctantly he is let in and told that he can stay there for a maximum of two years. In lieu of rent he is supposed to pick up the bills it is also agreed he can spend a couple of thousand pounds on the property and put in a new bathroom. Now we have just discovered that he has spent tens of thousands of pounds on the property money that we would have not spent on it. He has completely refurbished despite being told repeatedly to spend nothing doing it up. We suspect he planned to stay there rent free without paying the service charges and bill us at the end for all the unauthorised improvements he made to the property. I repeat we would not have spent this money.

    Any suggestions about what to do?

    Any suggestions

    #2
    There is nothing to stop you taking section 21 action to get rid of him. It would appear that he has no proof of authorisation to carry out these improvements thus he will have difficulty in taking successful legal action. Furthermore he has no written lease which will give him security of tenure over the initial six month period. The only problem you haave is the probable permanent alienation of a family member.

    P.P.
    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

    Comment


      #3
      Your situation is not as dire as you think.

      This is because your relation moved in "recently".

      Provided you can prove that the current tenancy, albeit verbal, started after February 1997 (I think that's the year - I don't have my reference material at home) then his tenancy is automatically a shorthold one.

      This is important because, as PP says above, you can use the s21 procedures. This is a no-blame "notice seeking possession" which can take effect after the tenancy has been in force for six months - provided that at least two months notice is given. Your relation has no rights of occupancy beyond those of anyone else on a shorthold tenancy, and you can go to court and get him evicted if he does not leave. The fact he has spent thousands on the place does not matter a jot in these proceedings.

      If you decide to issue a s21 you may need expert help in drawing it up because the law is very specific on the date it expires and the amount of notice you have to give.
      On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.

      Comment


        #4
        I agree with Esio re. expert help...

        Given the situation is, to say the least, murky I'd suggest these guys...

        http://www.landlordaction.co.uk/

        Be also aware of HMRC deciding to tax the owner(s) of the property on what the market rent would have been for normal tenant... You should be OK but would suggest reading this lot, to start with...
        http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/PIMMANUAL/PIM2220.htm

        (Given the "He'll pay service charges" that could be construed as the service charges were the rent he was (effectively) paying..)

        'umbly suggest a trip to your solicitor might be in order - this whole thing could get very messy..

        Some very old sayings....

        a) A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it is written on..
        b) Never do business with a relative...


        Cheers!

        Lodger
        Last edited by theartfullodger; 19-04-2009, 13:27 PM. Reason: A 2 sayings
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you for all your comments it does look as if I need to get legal advice. The whole point of this was that he should stay there rent free and get his finances back on track. We were trying to help him out. It now looks as if he is going bankrupt, he is getting increasingly desperate for money. Can he drag us in to the whole bankruptcy proceedings by saying we owe him money for his unauthorised spending spree?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by sussh View Post
            Thank you for all your comments it does look as if I need to get legal advice. The whole point of this was that he should stay there rent free and get his finances back on track. We were trying to help him out. It now looks as if he is going bankrupt, he is getting increasingly desperate for money. Can he drag us in to the whole bankruptcy proceedings by saying we owe him money for his unauthorised spending spree?

            I don't think his bankruptcy has anything to do with you or your property.

            Just serve Section 21 notice and start the eviction process.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by sussh View Post
              Can he drag us in to the whole bankruptcy proceedings by saying we owe him money for his unauthorised spending spree?
              He could try; but he would have to show that, on the balance of probabilities, you owe him at all.
              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


                #8
                Originally posted by sussh View Post
                It now looks as if he is going bankrupt, he is getting increasingly desperate for money.
                Provided that his assets are less than £300 (plus a car at no more than £1K) and debts are less than £15K, he could go for a Debt Relief Order which is a cheap form of bankruptcy only costing him £90. It is new legislation and only came into force a week ago.
                On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Occupancy in "family" situations can be very difficult to analyse legally. The main question that needs to be answered is: was there an intention to enter into legal relations? The arrangements are often very vague. Even if you conclude there is a tenancy, you may not be sure what type of tenancy it is.

                  Whatever the status of the occupation, I think it can safely be said that there is no way the cost of the unauthorised improvements can be claimed.

                  Comment

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