Consent to let dilemma

by Readers Question

22:11 PM, 11th June 2013
About 6 years ago

Consent to let dilemma

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Consent to let dilemma

Consent to let dilemmaCan you help me with my “Consent To Let” dilemma please?

I own a small property portfolio, 4 buy to let property, one property I own as tenants in common with my grandfather (no mortgage on this property) and one residential property that I currently reside in (since Sept 12).

Due to changes in my personal circumstances I intend moving in with my girlfriend this summer and hence I have let my property out to 4 students on a 12 months AST with guarantors etc..

Before I let the property out/sent the consent to let form in with my £30 pounds admin fee, I “tested the water” and rang Nationwide Building Society up, informed of the circumstances and they stated that there shouldn’t be a problem. I even went in to a Branch of Nationwide and they said they refuse the applications very rarely.

I haven’t heard from Nationwide despite sending the application in on 25th May with the £30 cheque that has been cashed.

I have phoned them numerous times and they say the application hasn’t been scanned on yet (I am not sure where the actual form is). I am now panicking as the students are due to move in on 1st July.

I am concerned that if they refuse the “permission to let”, what should I do? I can’t rescind on my contract in terms of not renting the students my house as they have all signed up. On the other hand Nationwide could take me to court for breach of a condition i.e. letting it out without permission.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Chris W



Comments

Mark Alexander

22:17 PM, 11th June 2013
About 6 years ago

You have what's commonly known as "Hobsons choice" here Chris.

If you signed the AST (bad move if you did by the way - never sign until just before you give tenants the keys) then you are at risk of being sued if you don't let them have the property.

That leaves you with a commercial decision. Will you let your tenants down at the last minute, risk being sued and risk a void period, only to possibly get consent to let the day after? Or, do you look at the what is, worst case scanario's if you let them move in? Let's do that shall we.

Let's assume Nationwide refuse consent to let. They've spoken to you about this and cashed your cheque. You assumed that cashing your cheque was agreement didn't you? That's what most people would be pleading to a judge if it ever got that far, which I doubt it ever would by the way.

Under the circumstances here Chris I think you have little choice other than to take a a bit of a flyer.

ian

9:06 AM, 12th June 2013
About 6 years ago

Do you need a HMO licence for 4 students if so the Bank could refuse on those grounds until you have a licence if you have not already got one ?

Mark Alexander

9:15 AM, 12th June 2013
About 6 years ago

I'm not an expert on HMO's but it will depend on the area. If you are in Oxford for example you would definitely need a licence. I suggest you speak to your local Council to ask about licensing.

I am not familiar with the internal workings of Nationwide, however, my perception of them has always been that they are one of the more "reasonable" lenders when it comes to things like this.

16:23 PM, 12th June 2013
About 6 years ago

Why never sign the tenancy agreement before handing over the keys? I don't see how the landlord benefits, and it's incredibly unkind to the tenants to string them along; they can't make solid plans to move unless they know they have somewhere to move to.

Vanessa Warwick

16:24 PM, 12th June 2013
About 6 years ago

Chris,

You have done everything correctly and I think it highly unlikely that Nationwide would rescind on their previous comments.

Keep a record of all phone calls, date cheque cashed etc. just as back up.

Any worries and you can contact the Financial Ombudsman to help you get resolution as their code is to make sure the banks are "fair to consumers" and you have done nothing wrong. The bank are at fault here for being so slow.

As to your property being an HMO, you should check with the local HMO officer at the council to determine the status of your set up.

Best of luck. I am sure it will all be fine. 🙂

16:31 PM, 12th June 2013
About 6 years ago

Go ahead with the let I've done this before. It took me 2 years by the time I got the permission mainly to do with me not getting around to it.

If a ctl is granted they normally expect you to either move back in or upgrade to a btl later on so their could be a time limit.

If they refuse the ctl which I doubt then you will have to remortgage ie wait until any fixed period ends and hope you don't get found out.

If you were found out and it went to court you can defend yourself by stating the above but I'd be surprised if they went to court

Watch out for tenants who are on a crusade against landlords without a ctl probably unlikely with students but make sure that your post is safe or redirected

Above all keep paying the mortgage

Good luck

Mark Alexander

16:36 PM, 12th June 2013
About 6 years ago

@Jill - the dilemma Chris has is a very good example of why an AST should not be signed by a landlord until move in day. I learned this lesson by signing an AST with a new tenant before the other moved out. The existing tenant then wrote to me to cancel their notice!

Fortunately I managed to get it sorted with charm and financial incentives but it could have turned out much worse.

10:27 AM, 14th June 2013
About 6 years ago

I can appreciate this gentleman's concerns, particularly in view of previous posts. However, he appears to have done everything he can. Make sure you have a clear record of all the telephone contacts, even if unanswered - this at least shows your willingness to do this properly.

Charles Orlebar

20:11 PM, 27th November 2013
About 6 years ago

As an ARLA agent our experience is that Nationwide will not give consent for a HMO. 4 students will be an voluntary HMO at least. I would expect your local authority will take issue with the fact you don't have a C2L given the potential pitfalls with insurance etc.

Going ahead with a let without a C2L may prove a problem until you have to take issue with one or all of your tenants. Issues that you will be facing independent of the issue with your mortgage terms will be that if your tenants are unaware and have not been fully appraised of the impact of you not having a consent to let you could be found in breach of the CPR (Consumer Protection Act 2008). This act now covers the letting and sale of property, landlords, vendors as well as agents since October 2012. It is very broad and the TSO's are hungry to generate case law to refine it within the property industry.

Clearly advising the tenant will compromise the tenancy from day one - so you are putting too much trust into an unknown quantity of a tenant.

The issues associated in landlords, vendors, and agents not declaring matters that would affect a consumers "Transaction decision" are now subject to this criminal law.

So in simple terms - letting a property as you have described would be very brave, if not foolhardy. If you are happy to take the risk with respect to your lenders approach, it would be uncomfortable place to be from day one having your tenant/s holding your future in their hands.

Note - a tenant can write/phone your building society and ask the question. Whilst an answer may not be forthcoming the reality is it may trigger events you are trying to avoid. £6 spend of the land Registry will tell them who the BS is.

Our advise would be - don't do it. I am sure if you explained your genuine reasons the tenant would reluctantly understand as NW who have put you in this situation. They could still take issue as you haven't published that the availability was subject to lenders consent to let. Either way this is by far the cheaper and more responsible option available to you now, rather than something very tenuous, particularly considering the implications of CPR.


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