Semi-Resident Landlord

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  • Semi-Resident Landlord

    Hello all. I've not been to this forum for ages, but have a question if I may - a bit of background first.

    Up until recently, for five years I have lived full-time in Spain and my house in the UK has been lived in by my son and two other people. They pay rent, it is all-inclusive of bills. I have had Landlord's Home Insurance policy and yearly Gas Safety Certificates during this time.

    My husband and I are now going to live in the house for half the year (with the occupants, this was always part of the deal).

    Now for my question: As I will be a resident landlord for half of the time, do I still need Landlord's Insurance and a Gas Certificate, or can it be classed as residential?

    Thanks for any info and I hope it is not too confusing.

  • #2
    Originally posted by scampicat View Post
    Hello all. I've not been to this forum for ages, but have a question if I may - a bit of background first.

    Up until recently, for five years I have lived full-time in Spain and my house in the UK has been lived in by my son and two other people. They pay rent, it is all-inclusive of bills. I have had Landlord's Home Insurance policy and yearly Gas Safety Certificates during this time.

    My husband and I are now going to live in the house for half the year (with the occupants, this was always part of the deal).

    Now for my question: As I will be a resident landlord for half of the time, do I still need Landlord's Insurance and a Gas Certificate, or can it be classed as residential?

    Thanks for any info and I hope it is not too confusing.
    I think you still do need these things since you will still have lodgers. Although their occupancy rights will be different from when they occupied it jointly as tenants (have you changed the form of agrement you are using?), you still need to ensure their safety. If you feel that the prop. is now less of an insurance risk (because you are living there as well) , it might be worth negotiating a reduction with your insurer, but I'd be amazed if they are wiling to do it for a 6 month period!
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    • #3
      Thanks your reply, it just confirms what I thought really.

      Their tenancy status is unclear (to me anyway). MY son does not pay any rent as he looks after the place for us when we are not there; he does, however, pay some of the bills. So he has never had a formal contract.

      One of the others is his girlfriend; she has only just moved in full-time the last two months and I charge her an amount of rent depending on whether we are there or not, (because we take up a room which otherwise she would use) she does not have to pay any extra for bills. I have not given her a contract as I do not know what her status is, she is co-habiting with my son. I do however keep a copy of her rent payments (and the other person's) on a spreadsheet which she can have a copy of whenever she wants.

      The third person I suppose is a tenant although we have always referred to him as a lodger. He pays an amount monthly and does not have to pay any extra to cover bills. I have never given him a formal AST, but what I call a 'contract' which we both signed when he moved in two years ago. He has recently successfully applied for Housing Benefit to help with his rent, and had to produce a copy of the contract to get this, so the Council must have found it acceptable.

      Anyway, I'm waffling - thanks for your reply and we'll carry on as normal!

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      • #4
        I think what you might have created could be different to what you think you have done. The person or persons who pay you rent with whom you signed a "contract" means you have automatically created an AST with them; as your son pays no rent then he might be considerd to be a lodger of the other persons. Receiving rent automatically gives that person formal tenancy rights whether there is a written agreement or not, so it appears you have two legal tenants.

        Even if you go to live with them I would say would be lodgers in your own home and have no formal rights of occupancy, along with your son, and your 'tenants' could ask you to leave at anytime.
        The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
          I think what you might have created could be different to what you think you have done. The person or persons who pay you rent with whom you signed a "contract" means you have automatically created an AST with them; as your son pays no rent then he might be considerd to be a lodger of the other persons. Receiving rent automatically gives that person formal tenancy rights whether there is a written agreement or not, so it appears you have two legal tenants.

          Even if you go to live with them I would say would be lodgers in your own home and have no formal rights of occupancy, along with your son, and your 'tenants' could ask you to leave at anytime.
          Oh dear!!! Not what we intended at all!

          So how do we get our home back and have the rest of the people as lodgers?

          (Not that bothered tbh, because the young people concerned accept it as our house which we have a right to live in and also a right to say who lives in it. However, I accept that this is no case under law so would like to regularise it if I can).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by scampicat View Post
            Oh dear!!! Not what we intended at all!

            So how do we get our home back and have the rest of the people as lodgers?

            (Not that bothered tbh, because the young people concerned accept it as our house which we have a right to live in and also a right to say who lives in it. However, I accept that this is no case under law so would like to regularise it if I can).
            If you are going to be coming back and forth living in it for 6 months and then not, I think you need to seek specialist legal advice to draw up a contract which (if possible) will cover all eventualities.

            Good luck.

            In the end you may need to regain possession and start again - in which case you will need to serve a section 21 notice requiring possession. There is lots of advice about how to do that - search 'section 21' on this forum.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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            • #7
              Thanks for your help (even if it isn't quite what I expected!).

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              • #8
                You're welcome!

                As it says at French level crossings, 'Un train peut en cacher un autre'.
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                • #9
                  Hmmm...schoolgirl French was a long time ago! 'one train wants to save another'?

                  I'm probably wrong!

                  Muchas gracias por la asistencia. (My Spanish isn't much better!).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scampicat View Post
                    Hmmm...schoolgirl French was a long time ago! 'one train wants to save another'?

                    I'm probably wrong!
                    Nearly right : One train can hide/obscure another.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                    • #11
                      thanks agaain!

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                      • #12
                        I dont think you have given enough information for anyone to judge what kind of tenancies you may have created or otherwise.

                        If the house was your family home and your son has already lived there before any of the other folk, then to say he is their lodger does not sound at all likely to me.

                        I am thinking that who you call your 'lodger' is an unprotected tenant if your son has lived there before he did.

                        Please refer to the Protection from Eviction Act 1977; some of which is posted below:

                        Excluded tenancies and licences
                        (1)Any reference in this Act to an excluded tenancy or an excluded licence is a reference to a tenancy or licence which is excluded by virtue of any of the following provisions of this section.
                        (2)A tenancy or licence is excluded if—
                        (a)under its terms the occupier shares any accommodation with the landlord or licensor; and
                        (b)immediately before the tenancy or licence was granted and also at the time it comes to an end, the landlord or licensor occupied as his only or principal home premises of which the whole or part of the shared accommodation formed part.
                        (3)A tenancy or licence is also excluded if—
                        (a)under its terms the occupier shares any accommodation with a member of the family of the landlord or licensor;
                        (b)immediately before the tenancy or licence was granted and also at the time it comes to an end, the member of the family of the landlord or licensor occupied as his only or principal home premises of which the whole or part of the shared accommodation formed part; and
                        (c)immediately before the tenancy or licence was granted and also at the time it comes to an end, the landlord or licensor occupied as his only or principal home premises in the same building as the shared accommodation and that building is not a purpose-built block of flats.


                        As an excluded tenant; your "lodger " indeed has very few rights, so you will be free to come and go without his say so, and ask him to leave if he complains.

                        Best to get legal advice about your own situation to be sure
                        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                        • #13
                          If OP is a former owner-occupier, it would be best to precede any letting (even an AST) by serving a ground 1 Notice. This is a very strong mechanism, giving L a clear and mandatory right (once fixed term tenancy expires) to expel T- even if L does not want to resume residence at that point.
                          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).

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                          • #14
                            Re the posts by Bel and jeffrey, thanks!

                            Yes, we are former owner-occupiers, we lived in the house (which was our family home) from 1976-2004. We went to Spain in 2004. We never lived anywhere else other than this house.

                            Yes our son did live there before any of the others. We wanted him to be 'the-family-member-in-residence' when we went to live in Spain.

                            Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post the information, that sounds far more what we intended.

                            We will take legal advice next time we are in the UK.

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                            • #15
                              Sorry, me again.

                              What is a Ground 1 Notice? I have tried to find an example of one on the site but don't seem to be able to.

                              Thanks again for all your help.

                              (Edited to add - I've found out what it is on Google, so if I have any more 'lodgers' I will make sure I serve one of these first. It's too late for the existing one I suppose?).

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