Advice needed about letting to close relatives.

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    Advice needed about letting to close relatives.


    A close relative of mine needs my help and I am considering loaning her one of my properties rent free (I don't have many). I am told I need her to sign a short-hold tenancy agreement charging her a "minimum" rent. Can anyone tell me what is the minimum rent I can put on the agreement. Any other advice with regards to letting to relatives would also be helpful. JJ

    The general rule is that, in order for a tenancy to be assured [shorthold] the rent must not be more than £1,000 per annum if the property is in Greater London, or more than £250 pa if it is elsewhere in England/Wales. Full rules are in Paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 Housing Act 1988.

    Who has told you that you 'need' to grant an assured shorthold tenancy, though? There *are* alternatives. For example, you could grant a periodic non-assured 'common law' tenancy at £1 pcm, and you'd be able to evict (if necessary) more quickly and easily.

    Whatever you do, it is essential that the agreement is made in writing and that you are both crystal clear about the relative's occupying status and your legal obligations as landlord, as well as things such as who is responsible for repair of, say, the washing machine or maintaining the garden, etc. It would be highly advisable to seek the advice of a solicitor specialist in landlord/tenant law to draft the agreement.

    Bear in mind that we get a lot of threads on here which start - "I let a close relative live in my house and now....[insert problem]", - the problem is almost invariably due to a lack of a detailed written agreement, together with an assumption that because the occupier was a close relative, there wouldn't be any problems. Don't assume this; on the contrary, proceed on the basis that your currently delightful close relative who says she doesn't mind about the bit of damp in the spare bedroom could potentially turn into a 'tenant from hell' who calls in the Environmental Health Officer.


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