Serving a section 21

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    Serving a section 21

    I have had a tenant in my flat for 5 years. I am a first time landlord so am very inexperienced.
    When the tenant first moved into the flat I did a silly thing and said that she could use the garage for some of her things if she wanted and gave her two keys. She said she would like to use the garage.
    The garage is not included in the AST tenancy agreement.

    A couple of years ago she first mentioned that she had let a builder put a few bits and pieces into the garage as a favour. He had apparently helped her out (although I am not sure how) and she was just letting him do this. I was never particularly worried about it as I wanted to keep the tenant happy and believed her when she said it was just a few bits and pieces (has turned out to be a very big lie - she has given him a key which he keeps). I started to get worried about this when speaking to the tenant recently and she again mentioned the builder keeping a few things in the garage. So i decided to take a look. Well I got a bit of a shock when I found cement mixer, ladders, pipes insulating material buckets cement etc etc in the garage. I have asked the builder to remove his stuff which he said he would do - although did not say when. He did however say that he had agreed terms with my tenant for using the space.

    Tenant has now contacted the agent to say she is not subletting ( i have not accused her of this but builder has confirmed an agreement) and the letting agent has said that I was illegal looking in my garage and that I must not do this again. I didn't actually go into the garage but opened the door to see what the builder was keeping in there (and took some photos). I am very upset by the whole thing. I don't want to renew the tenancy in April as I feel that all trust is gone, but wondered was I illegal looking in the garage (bearing in mind the garage is not in tenancy agreement) and any other advice as to what I should do would be very gratefully accepted.

    Thank you.

    Whether you are allowed to look in the garage is slightly irrelevant - no one's going to do anything about it.
    From the sound of things you have simply lent the garage to the tenant to use, so it's not part of the tenancy and the tenant does not have any right to exclude you or to enjoy quiet enjoyment.

    Ask the agent why on earth they think that looking into you own garage is illegal?

    If the builder is paying the tenant to store items in the garage, the simplest thing to do is to contact the tenant, explain that the arrangement was intended as a favour to help them out.
    It wasn't your intention that they charge someone to store building equipment in the garage and you now need to end the favour - you are not insured for the storage and are not receiving any of the revenue that the tenant has been earning from what is actually your property.
    Point out that subletting isn't allowed (assuming it isn't).

    Ask for the keys back within a reasonable time frame (a month?) and confirm that in writing - nice and calmly.

    Then see what happens.
    If you get the keys and garage back, there's not really any harm done - if not, you may need to serve notice on the tenant.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      Thank you for your reply. Subletting is not allowed without my written permission which was not obtained.

      Just reading the tenancy agreement again it says "all those Premises known as and being ..................postcode etc. , comprising one dwelling unit (hereinafter called the Premises) together with the use of entrance hall lift staircase and other doors (if any) incommon with the other Tenants occupiers and persons having the like right and the garden thereof". There is no mention of the garage at all, but just suddenly got worried maybe it is included in 'all those Premises'.

      Thanks for confirming about looking in the garage not being illegal. I have no concrete evidence the builder is paying (although plenty of concrete in the garage!!) but he has referred to terms with my tenant in an email to me and I assume that means payment.

      I will do exactly what you suggest and ask for the keys back in writing.

      Thank you so much.


        Is the garage part of (within the boundaries) of the property?? HOW is it not included in the AST (eg a clause saying "garage excluded"..).??
        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...


          If the garage is considered part of the tenancy, the tenant wouldn't have had to ask for permission to store things in it.
          But, you could probably argue the other way if it's not specifically exluded from being part of the "premises known as".

          Either way, don't worry about looking in the garage, the chance of anything arising out of it is very very small.

          If the tenant doesn't return the keys for any reason (including that they consider the garage part of the property) I'd probably serve notice.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).



            Thank you for your replies.

            The garage is in a block of garages within the boundaries of the property.

            The garage is not specifically excluded from the 'Premises known as.......', however it is not mentioned anywhere and the only things mentioned as part of 'Premises' are one dwelling unit, use of entrance hall stairs lift and garden and contents specified in the inventory.

            Does that mean by default the AST allows the tenant to have use of the garage?



              Assuming the deeds of the property include the garage then yes, unless specifically excluded it is there for the tenant to use, as they see fit, within the terms of the tenancy. (I have a house with a separate - not joined to - garage: My tenancy agreement specifically excludes it.)
              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...



                Ok thanks for this information. I am learning!! So I guess I cannot ask for the keys to the garage back then?

                It seems to me that the tenant should still have not sublet the garage to the builder. Whether or not money is being exchanged for the use of the space, I believe it is in breach of the tenancy agreement as it says they must have written permission. In addition it says the premises must not use for commercial purposes. Also the lease for the flats says no commercial use allowed, so in both instances it appears to be wrong as surely a builders equipment is commercial!

                I feel I need to write to the tenant and ask them to get builder's stuff removed from garage and confirm in writing that they have done so.
                Would that be the best thing to do ? - also if she hasn't taken money which she says she hasn't (although I don't believe this I have no way of proving) is it still subletting?


                  If the garage is part of the property and not excluded it is probably part of the property.
                  Any sanction you can take is therefore limited - a court won't evict a tenant for subletting a garage even if the tenancy agreement says that they mustn't.

                  Storing builders tools is borderline "commercial", there's no actual work or business being done there.
                  If a taxi driver kept their taxi in the garage it wouldn't be commercial use.

                  Put the rent up so you can share in the income or serve notice (or write to the tenant saying they can't sublet and ask for the stuff to be removed).
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                    You gave permission for T to use the garage when you provided her the key. It is still part of the property and subject to agreed inspection visits.


                      Thank you all for your answers. It sounds as though I should be writing to the tenant to ask for the equipment to be removed.

                      I have already asked the builder to remove his stuff and he said he would so maybe I should just wait and see and if it's still there in a couple of weeks time then write.

                      Unfortunately it has left me feeling that I don't trust the tenant any more which is a shame as we had quite a good working relationship.

                      The tenant has also asked me not to increase the rent which I agreed to but that was before I knew about the builder and the sublet situation.

                      Hmm I am just discovering that it is not easy being a landlord.


                        Hey, you've had 5 years, presumably otherwise trouble free. If this is your biggest problem in 5 years you are indeed blessed....

                        In your shoes I'd issue an s21 notice and also offer new tenancy to tenant, at such rent as you wish, including or not the garage as you wish, plus any other changes. If she won't sign, evict, get new tenants.

                        This (new tenancy with whoever...) will mean serving (serving rather than happening to have) EPC, GSC, "How to rent" & ensuring you are OK with "Right to rent" for all 18+ occupants. Me, I'd do the checks gov suggest.
                        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...


                          Serving a section 21


                          I have become increasingly concerned over the last year that my tenant is not coping in the flat that she is renting from me. She is finding walking more difficult and has told my letting agent that she is on the waiting list for council accommodation.

                          The tenancy agreement ends on April 20th so I have decided to serve notice as I would rather not have the uncertainty that all of this brings. We have had a difficult year with things being difficult to organise, even organising the gas certificate required several changes of date and time. I don't want to sound uncaring, as I am not, and have done as much for her as i can, but don't feel I can cope with the situation any more. I have also become concerned about the possibility that the tenant may not be able to pay the rent much longer.

                          I would like to serve a section 21 notice. The tenant has been in the flat for 5 years. I would be grateful for any information about how to do this and the likelihood that I will be successful. All paperwork is in order (deposit is protected and energy certificate was done). I am using a letting agent who has fleeced me every year for 5 years so would hope that they will help me with this - but am not sure.

                          Thank you very much.


                            When was the last tenancy signed? 5 years ago or a more recent one - if so what date, please? (If later there may be some other things needed to make s21 valid).

                            Who (you, agent) protected deposit ? Was it within 30 days of being paid? Has PI been served. If you don;t know what PI is assume it ain't served - it needs to be served for a valid s21.

                            To serve documents either post from a post office, get **free** proof of postage, or shove through letter-box, ideally with witness & photos (or both).

                            So the tax-payer (council ..) should pick up the issues now that you can't
                            cope with the situation any more

                            How old is she? Who has checked her submission for the council housing register? (IMHO, someone needs to read the council housing allocation policy VERY CAREFULLY then check or re-write what she put in, for her sake). Sometimes council/HA accomodation is "zoned" for over 55, over 60, over 65 etc...

                            Have occupational health not evaluated her needs and offered help/adaptations?

                            Be aware if evicted and homeless she may be put somewhere you, me, probably her, wouldn't want to be: (Hopefully not, obviously). Being rehoused when homeless is handled in a different way to housing waiting list allocation. Homeless shelter, homeless B&B or another private let, at least 12 months, possibly (especially for london) quite some way away: Slough has been housing people in Doncaster.

                            Hope things work out OK for you & your tenant.
                            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...


                              The tenancy agreement has been re issued every year at a charge of £50 to both parties by the letting agent.
                              No I don't know what PI is. Oh dear and I have not served a Right to Rent. Should that have been done? I thought that was just for agreements after October 2015, but I guess if ours has been reissued it will be after that date.

                              This is my only flat and my first tenant.

                              The agent have protected the deposit, at least I assumed they did.

                              thank you for your reply.

                              I would say she is approximately 70. I don't know if she has been assessed by OT or anything. I have not been told anything, just today the letting agent said she was on council accommocation waiting list.

                              Is it possible for me to serve a section 21?


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