Reducing size of garden

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    Reducing size of garden

    I am both a landlord and tenant for different properties but this is actually a question regarding the property I rent.

    I rent a flat with a shared private garden. The garden is large and enjoyed regularly by us and our dog. The landlord recently sold approx 2/3 of the garden to a property developer and without notice is today erecting a fence so effective immediately we are left with a small patio and a few feet of grass.

    We were aware of the planning permission through local notices but never informed of the permission or sale of land by the landlord.

    Of course in the near future there will be disruption due to construction of new houses behind our property.

    The garden is shared between three flats (converted house).

    I want to ask for a rent reduction due to the reduction of the garden size and temporary inconvenience caused by the works.

    I am reluctant to halt the work and fall out with the landlord but there are a couple of issues here:
    1. Do I have any rights to demand a change in the tenancy agreement and rent reduction or would this be at the landlords discretion.
    2. Is there any point in raising a grievance regarding the starting of works without any notice.

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    #2
    I know it's rude to answer a question with a question, but have you spoke to the landlord about it?
    How long is left on the fixed term of your tenancy?
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

    Comment


      #3
      No problem.

      Yes, called him as soon as we saw the work was starting. He said they sold the land yesterday so had to move quickly, and he had left me a voicemail message notifying me of the work. I have not received any voicemails so this is probably untrue but I didn't want to call him a liar over the phone.

      I asked him the direct question about reduction in rent but he dodged it, saying "it's all with the lawyers". He said to send him something in writing. Knowing him he is not unreasonable but certainly will not offer me anything for nothing.

      We have another 4-5 months on tenancy, we have lived in the property for 20 months and would probably request extension of contract in October/November.

      Comment


        #4
        .. when he said "it's all with the lawyers" I think he was trying to dodge the subject not suggesting he was discussing the tenancy/rent with his lawyers. He said it would not affect our tenancy.

        Comment


          #5
          You have every right to ask for anything, but he doesnt have to agree. If you say he is not unreasonable, he might offer you something for the 'value' reduction of the property he is offering you. In the end, if he doesnt care about a 2 year long tenant, then maybe that is not the LL you want to rent from.

          Is there any mention of the size and type of the garden in the tenancy agreement/inventory? I mean more than just 'a garden'
          All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.

          Comment


            #6
            Does the tenancy agreement say anything about use of the garden?

            When you took the flat was it advertised as having the shared use of the garden?

            Comment


              #7
              The Tenancy Agreement decribes the Premises as "....the use of the entrance hall and vestibule of the building and garden i common with other tenants..."

              Yes, it was advertised as having a shared garden. This was a major selling point for us, we were looking for properties with gardens. Unfortnately I don't have a copy of the original letting agent advert.

              Comment


                #8
                The Tenancy does not state the size of the garden. The only other time it is mentioned is regarding its' upkeep.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Who owns the freehold - I assume your landlord - Is your flat on a long lease? what about the other flats, are they leased?

                  What does the Tenancy agreement say you rent - is it an address x? if so and the garden was part of x or the lease for x says it has use of the garden then does this sale mean you now have a different landlord for part of the garden?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yesterday, the Landlord owned the entire house (freehold) which has been converted into three flats, and the entire garden. He also owned some land behind the property.

                    Today, he still owns the entire house but only part of the garden. The latter 2/3 of the garden and the land is now owned by another person.

                    The Tenancy states that rent is payable to the landlord for the premises (our flat) with use of a garden and other communal areas.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      but have the flats got leases or is it still just one freehold building

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by chip10101 View Post
                        The Tenancy Agreement decribes the Premises as "....the use of the entrance hall and vestibule of the building and garden i common with other tenants..."
                        That puts it beyond doubt. You have a right to use the garden. The landlord cannot take it away without your consent. If he sells part of the garden it remains subject to the right.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I'd suggest you're entitled to a rent reduction regardless that you still have a garden to use, it's significantly different to how it was when you took the let.

                          Time is the factor here. I'd reason an amount and ask out right for an imediate reduction. If the LL refuses or delays then walk away on or before expiry of the lease. 5-months is reasonable time to find a new propoerty.
                          There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                          If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                          Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            As lawcruncher says, this is very clearly breach of contract. You are entitled to use of the garden and 'garden' means the garden as it was when you entered into the tenancy agreement. I suggest seeking an injunction in order to prevent the landlord from erecting the fence.
                            Disclaimer:

                            The above represents my own opinion, derived from personal knowledge and should not be relied upon as definitive or accurate advice. It is offered free of charge and may contain errors or omissions or be an inaccurate opinion of the law. I accept no liability for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relying on the above.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              This is really useful thanks and everyone's opinion is much appreciated. I think moving forward I will need to write a letter this weekend, firm but not threatening, stating that the work progression was not agreed by the tenants however we may provide our approval if we can negotiate on the rent to compensate us for the loss of part of the garden.

                              Worzelgummage - I believe it is freehold of the entire building, not leases for individual flats.

                              Bhaal - Unfortunately the fence has alredy been erected. I have not see it yet but was notified by my neighbour that it was happening and I rang my landlord immediately. At the time I considered asking him to put a STOP on the job but felt this would be difficult to justify over the phone, would make him angry and although I would like to keep the garden I am also happy to accept this with the rent reduction.


                              All,
                              Is it worth getting those in the other two flats to assist me in a joint letter to the landlord or should I fight my own battle? In the end I want to look after myself so I am unsure whether bringing in my neighbours in - will they strengthen my application or water down the possible reward?

                              Also, is there specific language (specific breaches) that I can quote in my letter?

                              Comment

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