landlord's right to tidy up clause in AST?

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    landlord's right to tidy up clause in AST?

    I know that the tenant has a right to quiet enjoyment. However, my standard AST from OYEZ contains a clause requiring the tenant to allow prospective new tenants to look round the property. Is that a right of the landlord if they sign the AST? If so, surely it follows that the landlord can require the property to be presented in a sufficiently clean and tidy state to fulfill this purpose? Is it OK for the landlord to add a clause such as the following to the AST and would it stand up?

    "The Tenant must keep all parts of the property in a clean and tidy state to ensure the property is well presented to prospective new tenants who wish to view the property. The Tenant agrees that, if in the Landlords opinion, the property is found to be in an unreasonably messy state such as to jeopardise the future letting of the property, the Landlord may take action to return the property to a clean and tidy state fit to show prospective tenants. "

    A letting agent once told me that they send cleaners in and charge the tenants! Is that OK?

    Surely the landlord has a right to re-let his property and the tenant must not obstruct this right?

    I know that a landlord can ask a court to evict tenants who breach their obligations, but would messyness be a valid ground? In any case the last thing I'd want is to evict as I'd get no more rent. Is there any inbetween remedy?

    #2
    I didn't think you were allowed to tell a tenant how to live as long as they put it back to a clean condition at the end of the tenancy. Also I think there is a thread further down about access. I think a tenant could refuse entry if they do not want you in the property.

    Comment


      #3
      Of course you do have the right to re-let your property in whatever manner you choose - once the existing tenancy is over.

      There may be tenants who will accept and comply with such terms, but they would be difficult to enforce.

      Comment


        #4
        Opinion is divided as to whether "inspect to relet" provisions are enforceable and, if so, to what extent. (It is as far as I can tell divided with most people on the other side of the divide from me.) However, your proposed clause will stand up about as well as the Lib-Dem vote at the next election.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post
          I know that the tenant has a right to quiet enjoyment. However, my standard AST from OYEZ contains a clause requiring the tenant to allow prospective new tenants to look round the property. Is that a right of the landlord if they sign the AST? If so, surely it follows that the landlord can require the property to be presented in a sufficiently clean and tidy state to fulfill this purpose? Is it OK for the landlord to add a clause such as the following to the AST and would it stand up?

          "The Tenant must keep all parts of the property in a clean and tidy state to ensure the property is well presented to prospective new tenants who wish to view the property. The Tenant agrees that, if in the Landlords opinion, the property is found to be in an unreasonably messy state such as to jeopardise the future letting of the property, the Landlord may take action to return the property to a clean and tidy state fit to show prospective tenants. "

          A letting agent once told me that they send cleaners in and charge the tenants! Is that OK?

          Surely the landlord has a right to re-let his property and the tenant must not obstruct this right?

          I know that a landlord can ask a court to evict tenants who breach their obligations, but would messyness be a valid ground? In any case the last thing I'd want is to evict as I'd get no more rent. Is there any inbetween remedy?
          Utter rubbish it is debateable whether you have any right for viewings clause or not never mind keep the property clean and tidy. It is certainly not a right for a ground 12 claim, you would simply be laughed out of court.

          The only ground that is ever really successful in court is ground 8 two months arrears

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post

            I know that a landlord can ask a court to evict tenants who breach their obligations, but would messyness be a valid ground?
            Hahahahahaahaa, in a word.

            Comment


              #7
              So the landlord has no definite right to show prospective tenants his properties?

              Under what circumstances can "quiet enjoyment" be interrupted without a claim against the landlord?

              If the house was on fire, would the landlord be allowed to intervene out of necessity without risking being sued? If the roof was leaking, would he be permitted to repair it even though it may disturb the tenant? Under what circumstances is the line drawn?

              In my circumstances, either being unable to conduct viewings or only being able to show people a property that looks uninhabitable due to the mess presents a risk of the property not letting for 12 months until the next academic year. If after making every attempt to ask for temporary tidiness can a defence of necessity be used in these circumstances if the landlord were to clean the house?

              Can one make an express agreement on commencement of the tenancy to allow the landlord to show prospective tenants a clean and tidy house as a consideration of granting the tenancy?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post
                So the landlord has no definite right to show prospective tenants his properties?

                Under what circumstances can "quiet enjoyment" be interrupted without a claim against the landlord?

                If the house was on fire, would the landlord be allowed to intervene out of necessity without risking being sued? If the roof was leaking, would he be permitted to repair it even though it may disturb the tenant? Under what circumstances is the line drawn?

                Can one make an express agreement on commencement of the tenancy to allow the landlord to show prospective tenants a clean and tidy house as a consideration of granting the tenancy?

                In my circumstances, either being unable to conduct viewings or only being able to show people a property that looks uninhabitable due to the mess presents a risk of the property not letting for 12 months until the next academic year. If after making every attempt to ask for temporary tidiness can a defence of necessity be used in these circumstances if the landlord were to clean the house?

                Can one make an express agreement on commencement of the tenancy to allow the landlord to show prospective tenants a clean and tidy house as a consideration of granting the tenancy?
                You can place the standard clause in an AST to request T allows reasonable access for viewings but there is very little you can do to enforce it. I read an interesting situation on another forum were L sued T for legal fees and losses for refusing contractual access, they lost!

                From personal experience it is much easier to use carrot and not stick and offer T a discount in the viewing period to keep the property tidy and allow viewings at short notice. A 10-20% discount remains much cheaper than a months void and tenants often jump at the opportunity to save a little money.

                Again judging by your posts your approach is one of aggresive enforcement; firstly by taking properly referenced tenants you avoid the scam merchants and secondly by treating them with respect and not like children, you will earn the right to request favour.

                The situation you described are either emergencies which allow for immediate access or covered by S11 of the 1985 LTA and the associated clauses

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by matthew_henson View Post
                  You can place the standard clause in an AST to request T allows reasonable access for viewings but there is very little you can do to enforce it. I read an interesting situation on another forum were L sued T for legal fees and losses for refusing contractual access, they lost!

                  From personal experience it is much easier to use carrot and not stick and offer T a discount in the viewing period to keep the property tidy and allow viewings at short notice. A 10-20% discount remains much cheaper than a months void and tenants often jump at the opportunity to save a little money.

                  Again judging by your posts you approach is one of aggresive enforcement; firstly by taking properly referenced tenants you avoid the scam merchants and secondly by treating them with respect and not like children, you will earn the right to request favour.

                  The situation you described are either emergencies which allow for immediate access or covered by S11 of the 1985 LTA and the associated clauses
                  I have never used any form of agressive enforcement. Going to law is always a last resort. However it is important that landlords and tenants know clearly where they stand and what to expect from each other which is why I'm enquiring on this forum.

                  Using a carrot is good advice so thank you for that.

                  I have in the past paid the tenants a commission if the property is let fast therby encouraging them to tidy up and say nice things, but sometimes they don't care what you offer.

                  On one occasion a girls room was so full of junk the door could not be opened, soiled underwear and used condoms and were strewn all over the place - not very good advert. When I asked her to tidy up, she went away for the weekend.

                  I accept that having to ask a 19 year old to tidy their room may be seen as treating someone like a child. However, I always treat people with respect. In fact, I am not assertive enough when making such requests (because I don't know clearly where I stand) and as a result the tenants don't always respect me or the home I have provided them with.

                  I accept that untidiness is often part and parcel of renting to university students and I don't mind them living however they like so long as I can re let the house.

                  I am seeking to find a way if possible to agree upfront terms with any new tenants whereby it can be agreed that the property must be fit to show people and if not what action the tenant has consented to me taking so that I can carry on with my business unobstructed. From a common sense point of view it seems to be quite a reasonable aim so I don't get why it is so complicated?

                  Morally speaking, I am a firm believer that anyone should be allowed to live peacefully without disturbance and do whatever they like provided it does not harm others. In this case the tenant seems to have a right to do things that harm the Landlord - i.e. obstructing him from re letting. Is there any other advice on offer and would adding a tidying clause to the AST do any harm?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post
                    So the landlord has no definite right to show prospective tenants his properties?

                    Under what circumstances can "quiet enjoyment" be interrupted without a claim against the landlord?
                    I set out my views on the legalities at some length on various forums. You can have a look at what people think:

                    http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...683#post196683

                    http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk...ml#post2813531

                    http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/for...owtopic=138346

                    http://www.swarb.co.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=6336

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post
                      So the landlord has no definite right to show prospective tenants his properties?
                      While the tenancy is in force, right up until the last second of the tenancy, the tenant is in possession of the home and you cannot enter without their permission unless it is court ordered.

                      You can show the property to whomever you wish but you can only do so, unrestricted, when the property is not occupied or under a valid tenancy.

                      Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post
                      If the house was on fire, would the landlord be allowed to intervene out of necessity without risking being sued? If the roof was leaking, would he be permitted to repair it even though it may disturb the tenant? Under what circumstances is the line drawn?
                      There are provisions in most tenancy agreements for such circumstances but these are spelled out. These provisions and showing prospective tenants around are not treated in the same way in the law.

                      Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post
                      In my circumstances, either being unable to conduct viewings or only being able to show people a property that looks uninhabitable due to the mess presents a risk of the property not letting for 12 months until the next academic year. If after making every attempt to ask for temporary tidiness can a defence of necessity be used in these circumstances if the landlord were to clean the house?
                      I don't mean to be curt, but how a tenant lives is none of your business.
                      Providing the tenant returns the property to you in the same condition at the end of the tenancy as it was at the start of the tenancy, the tenant will have fulfilled their tenancy obligations.

                      If there is any damage, etc, you can deal with that as a separate matter, but you cannot do so while the tenant is present as a valid occupant without their permission.

                      I know you want to maximize the rent and avoid any void periods, as all landlords do, but that is not something that the law has provided for, AFAIK.
                      Property law is so very old and a way behind modern times.
                      Property law, as it relates to tenancies, stems from a time when few people, relative to the population, could be landlords and those who were, were quite wealthy and did not have such things as mortgages and council tax to worry about, etc.

                      Your property is the tenant's home while they have possession.
                      The property only becomes "yours" again when they vacate.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        My revised thoughts...

                        Having read at length lawcruncher's links, it seems like the issue is a grey area and whether rights of access a reasonable depend on all the circumstances. My interpretation is as follows, please feel free to correct me:

                        There seems to be a statutory right of access for repairs. There can be resonable rights of access agreed so long as they are not unreasonable in light of the covenant of quiet enjoyment established over the years of case law. I don't quite understand why a term in a contract agreed by both parties can be later rescinded by a tenant. Is it to protect people who feel pressured to agree to terms that are not in their interest just so they can get a house? Or is it that the law has simply established that everyone has a right to live undistrubed and cannot be made to agree to something less even if they want to?


                        For a typical letting in a rental with a uniform demand over the year, if a tenant give a months notice and the landlord cannot conduct viewings for a few weeks it's not the end of the world.

                        The student market is different. Students rely on arranging their accommodation upto 6 months in advance. This is so that they can organise their groups and all agree on their housing well in advance. It gives them the security that they know where they will live next year and who they will be with. Due to this seasonal nature, 99% of tenacies on offer in the student districs run from 1st of july to 30th june the following year. Students rely on being able to view while houses are in occupation. Landlords rely on tenants allowing viewings. If a property can't be let before july, it will be empty for a year until the season starts again. In my opinion - (which isn't legally based), in the circumstances it would be reasonable to conduct viewings from january onwards to fit in with the seasonal nature of the student market provided the requirment is stated in the tenancy agreement.
                        Do these circumstances mean that access over this prolonged time is reasonable? In the student lettings market it is the defacto practice so everyone expects it.

                        My other point of confusion regards interference with a tenants personal effects. To tidy up a tenants mess goes beyond mere access in terms of encroachment of quiet enjoyment. Given the seasonal circumstances, can a tenant contractually agree to keep the place tidy and if not allow the landlord permission to clean or is it just simply unlawful. I feel that a term in the contract may even go as evidence against the landlord if a tenant compains he's been violated. Your thoughts?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Have you actually tried speaking to the tenants? They may say oh yes of course we can tidy up! If someone is desperate to view then they will wait a few days til tenants agree for you to go in. As regards to cleaning the place up how would you like to return to your house to find someone has messed with your things!

                          I understand you do not want a period unoccupancy but bearing in mind college/uni doesn't start till September ish so most tenants wouldn't move till late aug! I used to work in an agency that primarily dealt with student Lettings and if a tenant can get away with not having to be contracted during the summer hols they will do! Most 1st years do not start looking until they have finished school or college in June as they are not aware the demand

                          plus students see through mess even if you do not!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by bureaucrazy View Post
                            Having read at length lawcruncher's links, it seems like the issue is a grey area and whether rights of access a reasonable depend on all the circumstances. My interpretation is as follows, please feel free to correct me:

                            There seems to be a statutory right of access for repairs. There can be resonable rights of access agreed so long as they are not unreasonable in light of the covenant of quiet enjoyment established over the years of case law. I don't quite understand why a term in a contract agreed by both parties can be later rescinded by a tenant. Is it to protect people who feel pressured to agree to terms that are not in their interest just so they can get a house? Or is it that the law has simply established that everyone has a right to live undistrubed and cannot be made to agree to something less even if they want to?


                            For a typical letting in a rental with a uniform demand over the year, if a tenant give a months notice and the landlord cannot conduct viewings for a few weeks it's not the end of the world.

                            The student market is different. Students rely on arranging their accommodation upto 6 months in advance. This is so that they can organise their groups and all agree on their housing well in advance. It gives them the security that they know where they will live next year and who they will be with. Due to this seasonal nature, 99% of tenacies on offer in the student districs run from 1st of july to 30th june the following year. Students rely on being able to view while houses are in occupation. Landlords rely on tenants allowing viewings. If a property can't be let before july, it will be empty for a year until the season starts again. In my opinion - (which isn't legally based), in the circumstances it would be reasonable to conduct viewings from january onwards to fit in with the seasonal nature of the student market provided the requirment is stated in the tenancy agreement.
                            Do these circumstances mean that access over this prolonged time is reasonable? In the student lettings market it is the defacto practice so everyone expects it.

                            My other point of confusion regards interference with a tenants personal effects. To tidy up a tenants mess goes beyond mere access in terms of encroachment of quiet enjoyment. Given the seasonal circumstances, can a tenant contractually agree to keep the place tidy and if not allow the landlord permission to clean or is it just simply unlawful. I feel that a term in the contract may even go as evidence against the landlord if a tenant compains he's been violated. Your thoughts?
                            Again you are playing games around statute, there is an implied duty to observe the tenants right to quiet enjoyment and protection from eviction and therefore any clause you chose to create that goes against this is un-enforceable.

                            Students or not, it is a tenancy and whatever the tenancy certain basic duties apply... with no exceptions.

                            If you attempt to add clauses to or even tidy up students possessions/mess you are opening yourself to one student whose parent is a lawyer and they will have you. There is a concurrent debate on the forum about access to complete a gas certificate and the consensus was that I was wrong to use the 1985 LTA section 11 as a reason for entry in the eyes of the "professional" tenant.

                            You should drop the whole idea it is fundamentally wrong and as Westminster point out why should your “special” case make you any different from any other landlord or indeed any other business

                            If you want to put any clause in, offer the discount/kick back upfront in the contract for access and tidiness, but ensure you make a statement that this is offer entirely at your discretion but not unreasonably withheld

                            EDIT: Is this just a big wind up by the way? I cannot not see a right minded L asking questions like these

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by matthew_henson View Post
                              Again you are playing games around statute, there is an implied duty to observe the tenants right to quiet enjoyment and protection from eviction and therefore any clause you chose to create that goes against this is un-enforceable.

                              Students or not, it is a tenancy and whatever the tenancy certain basic duties apply... with no exceptions.

                              If you attempt to add clauses to or even tidy up students possessions/mess you are opening yourself to one student whose parent is a lawyer and they will have you. There is a concurrent debate on the forum about access to complete a gas certificate and the consensus was that I was wrong to use the 1985 LTA section 11 as a reason for entry in the eyes of the "professional" tenant.

                              You should drop the whole idea it is fundamentally wrong and as Westminster point out why should your “special” case make you any different from any other landlord or indeed any other business

                              If you want to put any clause in, offer the discount/kick back upfront in the contract for access and tidiness, but ensure you make a statement that this is offer entirely at your discretion but not unreasonably withheld

                              EDIT: Is this just a big wind up by the way? I cannot not see a right minded L asking questions like these
                              It's not a wind up. Many students can't see past the mess. It's not like the young ones anymore, since the massive plc student accommodation building programmes there is now a huge surplus and student are very fussy: No ensuite, no dish washer, no plasma TV = no tenants! if the house has the "worst toilet in scotland" forget it! A filthy messy house can be the difference between letting the house and repossession. What are you meant to do? Hand the keys back?

                              For tenants to treat a property with a little respect and keep it tidy shouldn't be such a big deal.

                              On the otherhand, if the tenant came home to find the landlord had eaten all their porridge, broken their favourite chair and was sleeping in their bed then I can see the cause of complaint. http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-s...goldilocks.htm

                              I read in an earlier post that the covenant of quiet enjoyment is common law not statute. What difference does this make?

                              Incidentally, if a tenant refused to tidy up and the landlord did it for them and they were to sue the landlord for breach of quiet enjoyment, how much would a landlord expect to have to pay out? e.g. injury to feelings, etc?

                              I started this thread because I wanted to find out far the boundaries go. Not very far it seems. I want to do things by the book. I think the more experienced people on this forum have grown accustomed to the law and everything seems fair after a while.

                              Getting into the student market was a bad idea, I accept that these types of problem come with the territory and there is no ideal solution. I think the best way forward on this is to pray for cooperation and tidyness. If they aren't tidy in future all I can do is write to them in january asking that they allow viewings and tidy up to let the house as quickly as possible and offer to pay them £400 commission if the property is let before july. It's up to them to cooperate after that.

                              Also, many many thanks for all the advice people have put forward and apologies if it seems like i'm whining too much about things being unfair.

                              Comment

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