Parental involvement

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    Parental involvement

    We are currently having a problem with a group of 6 tenants on a joint AST whereby 4 of them are unhappy with the behaviour of 1 (the 6th tenant has remained silent on the matter). The accusations revolve around late night partying, drug taking and supplying/dealing and the disgruntled group of 4 want us to 'deal with it'. We've tried to explain that under a joint AST it's not really possible to deal with one tenant and that they should report any illegal activity to the police. The problem now is that two of the parents are contacting us and getting involved. How can we deal with this? Are we within our rights to refuse to deal with the parents? We don't ask for guarantors.

    #2
    Unless you have written permission from the tenant whose parent it is, you should not be disclosing or discussing the tenancy with them unless they are under 18. Surely the tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement, there is certainly a drugs clause in mine. I would write to all the tenants pointing out the relevant clauses in the tenancy agreement and asking them to cease being a nuisance, ifyswim.

    Comment


      #3
      Six students in a property will mean that its a licensable HMO. What does your licence say about dealing with such issues? You could find that you lose the licence if you don't address this in accordance with the conditions. I understand that this is a joint tenancy and your options may be limited, but the Council will say that's your problem. I left the student market a couple of years ago because I could see that the fudge of using a joint tenancy for student housing was becoming untenable and I didn't want to go down the room only tenancy route, but I now think that this is really the only viable option given the responsibilities of the HMO Manager.

      Comment


        #4
        You aren't in any position to "deal with it", unless all of the tenants agree to end the tenancy.
        The partying tenant has as much right to be in the property as all the other tenants.
        They can report matters to the police or deal with the situation themselves.

        They should be aware that the tenancy is joint and several, so if the misbehaving tenant left, the rent would be the same, with fewer people paying it.

        Even if your tenancy agreement contains terms and conditions that are being breached, your ability to go to court is limited in practice, and the court can only end the tenancy for everyone (even if you agreed to take on the other 5 again as a new tenancy).

        You don't have to speak to the parents at all, you are in a business relationship with their adult children and the parents have no particular right to be involved.
        On the other hand, they are parents and they might be worried.

        I would probably explain the issue to the parents, without discussing the details as a courtesy and also explain that your ability to act is very limited and that you are in the business of letting a property to students, not to be their parent or police them.

        You haven't any right or obligation to investigate someone's behaviour on the say-so of their housemates.
        It's hardly unheard of for students to take drugs or party.
        Or for a group of young adults to fall out with someone and make accusations.
        It's all part of the process of being a student.
        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).

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the replies.

          I think we have already made a mistake in that, in an effort to mediate the problem we have written to the alleged offending tenant reminding her of everyone's right to 'peaceful enjoyment of the property' and to cease any anti-social activity. I guess we should have sent that to all of the tenants. She hasn't replied.

          With regard to the HMO license, ours states "the manager must have suitable management arrangements in place including - a process for dealing with anti-social behaviour occurring within the HMO by tenants or their visitors" This seems pretty vague. I would have thought that attempting to mediate and advising of the correct authorities to report anti social or illegal activity to would suffice?

          Usually we are happy to speak with parents and have in fact spoken on the phone with one sensible mother in this instance. Unfortunately the two I refer to have both been quite aggressive in their approach, one insisting that we should issue a Section 8 Notice (he's in the lettings business). The other listened in (via iPhone) to an informal meeting that we had with three of the tenants, in fact his daughter suggested that she may need some 'legal advice' and called him during the meeting. We assumed that he must have a legal background but it now seems that she just wanted him to listen. What we've now had is an email from him minuting the meeting that is full of inaccuracies and untruths, hence we don't want to deal with him further.

          Comment


            #6
            Having procedures in place really means that you must have designed and documented them before the problem arose, which would probably also mean that those procedures were reflected in the tenancy agreement.

            Comment


              #7
              I've had parents wanting to get involved before. Just remind them (unless they are guarantors..) that your tenants are the kids, not them, but thank them for their kind contribution....
              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...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by aroundincircles View Post
                Usually we are happy to speak with parents and have in fact spoken on the phone with one sensible mother in this instance. Unfortunately the two I refer to have both been quite aggressive in their approach, one insisting that we should issue a Section 8 Notice (he's in the lettings business).
                Point out that a section 8 notice ends the tenancy and, if you were successful their child would be homeless and all of the tenants would be liable for the legal costs.
                That's seems a remarkably stupid suggestion.

                There's no way that the actions as described by one tenant is sufficient grounds for a court to bring the tenancy to an end with a s8 notice.

                If any of the students leave, the rent for the others would increase as they're all liable for it.
                The other listened in (via iPhone) to an informal meeting that we had with three of the tenants, in fact his daughter suggested that she may need some 'legal advice' and called him during the meeting. We assumed that he must have a legal background but it now seems that she just wanted him to listen. What we've now had is an email from him minuting the meeting that is full of inaccuracies and untruths, hence we don't want to deal with him further.
                I'd not want that to happen again, so you're right.

                If you've written to the student, you've already done more than you had to.

                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).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by aroundincircles View Post
                  With regard to the HMO license, ours states "the manager must have suitable management arrangements in place including - a process for dealing with anti-social behaviour occurring within the HMO by tenants or their visitors" This seems pretty vague. I would have thought that attempting to mediate and advising of the correct authorities to report anti social or illegal activity to would suffice?.
                  I dont think that attempting to mediate or referring elsewhere would cut it. And what does the licence say on drugs? Many have a zero tollerance approach.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The license does not say anything specific about drugs. The taking and/or supplying of drugs is a legal matter & in my opinion should be dealt with as such. I doubt that the local authority can insist that landlords take matters into their own hands.

                    Thanks to everyone for your good advise, it's been really helpful.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The bottom line of all of this is that the whole legal structure of student tenancies in the UK is a disaster and a disgrace. The idea that 6 adolescent children end up getting trapped in an expensive irreversible arrangement with others they may never have encountered before via a joint tenancy is inappropriate as the standard -- there are some vulnerable kids out there

                      - some of them die as a result, and many have their lives and careers ruined. It is not your fault OP -- but I think you should be sympathetic to the plight of these kids (and their parents). Who selected these students -- did they approach you as a group of 6, or did you put them together?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        AndrewDod,

                        Whilst your concerns may be real for some, in this case they are six 20/21 year olds who approached us as a group of friends wanting to rent a house for their third year of study. They are hardly adolescent children who didn't know each other. Whilst I have some sympathy for their situation I still have to act within the law. Unfortunately it's the grown up parents that seem to be having difficulty grasping that fact.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                          The bottom line of all of this is that the whole legal structure of student tenancies in the UK is a disaster and a disgrace. The idea that 6 adolescent children end up getting trapped in an expensive irreversible arrangement with others they may never have encountered before via a joint tenancy is inappropriate as the standard -- there are some vulnerable kids out there
                          Agree completely

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Unless the tenants have specifically asked you to deal with the parents then it is actually illegal for you to do so. If they do authorise it (and I'd require that in writing) you can tell them what you'd tell the tenants.You need proof of the drug taking/ supplying to ask the police to take action on that and late night partying is not something you can prevent.

                            Comment

                            Latest Activity

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                            • Parental involvement
                              aroundincircles
                              We are currently having a problem with a group of 6 tenants on a joint AST whereby 4 of them are unhappy with the behaviour of 1 (the 6th tenant has remained silent on the matter). The accusations revolve around late night partying, drug taking and supplying/dealing and the disgruntled group of 4 want...
                              05-03-2019, 19:33 PM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              buzzard1994
                              Unless the tenants have specifically asked you to deal with the parents then it is actually illegal for you to do so. If they do authorise it (and I'd require that in writing) you can tell them what you'd tell the tenants.You need proof of the drug taking/ supplying to ask the police to take action...
                              13-03-2019, 21:34 PM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              DPT57
                              Agree completely...
                              12-03-2019, 11:09 AM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              aroundincircles
                              AndrewDod,

                              Whilst your concerns may be real for some, in this case they are six 20/21 year olds who approached us as a group of friends wanting to rent a house for their third year of study. They are hardly adolescent children who didn't know each other. Whilst I have some sympathy for...
                              11-03-2019, 16:43 PM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              AndrewDod
                              The bottom line of all of this is that the whole legal structure of student tenancies in the UK is a disaster and a disgrace. The idea that 6 adolescent children end up getting trapped in an expensive irreversible arrangement with others they may never have encountered before via a joint tenancy is...
                              10-03-2019, 02:21 AM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              aroundincircles
                              The license does not say anything specific about drugs. The taking and/or supplying of drugs is a legal matter & in my opinion should be dealt with as such. I doubt that the local authority can insist that landlords take matters into their own hands.

                              Thanks to everyone for your good...
                              07-03-2019, 13:06 PM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              DPT57
                              I dont think that attempting to mediate or referring elsewhere would cut it. And what does the licence say on drugs? Many have a zero tollerance approach....
                              06-03-2019, 18:48 PM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              jpkeates
                              Point out that a section 8 notice ends the tenancy and, if you were successful their child would be homeless and all of the tenants would be liable for the legal costs.
                              That's seems a remarkably stupid suggestion.

                              There's no way that the actions as described by one tenant is sufficient...
                              06-03-2019, 17:15 PM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              theartfullodger
                              I've had parents wanting to get involved before. Just remind them (unless they are guarantors..) that your tenants are the kids, not them, but thank them for their kind contribution....
                              06-03-2019, 15:26 PM
                            • Reply to Parental involvement
                              leaseholder64
                              Having procedures in place really means that you must have designed and documented them before the problem arose, which would probably also mean that those procedures were reflected in the tenancy agreement.
                              06-03-2019, 14:39 PM
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