Landlord fits new front door and doesn’t give tenants the keys!

by Readers Question

10:49 AM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

Landlord fits new front door and doesn’t give tenants the keys!

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Landlord fits new front door and doesn’t give tenants the keys!

I have rented a property from a Landlord and let the property on a corporate let to a Charity who then place social housing tenants to live in it.

Yesterday, without asking me, or giving me notice, the property owner changed the front door, and therefore the lock, and omitted to give me or anyone else keys.

Between 10 and 11 pm, four new tenants arrive with all their stuff to find they cannot get into their new home and have to be put up in hotels for the night.

It took until 3 am to sort it all out last night with cab fares etc on top. The front door fitted also has only a Yale lock, so will not conform for our insurance purposes. To top it off I had fitted new locks to the existing front door to increase security in the first place.

Where do I, the charity and the tenants stand on this?

Many thanks Ednew open door



Comments

Mark Alexander

11:29 AM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Ed

The good news is that you are perfectly entitled to drill the locks out and replace them if you can't get hold of the landlord to obtain new keys.

The rest of what you are doing concerns me deeply though. If the agreement between you and the landlord is a company let agreement then you probably have no right to sublet to anybody other than your employees. Clearly you are not letting to your own employees and that opens up a can of worms in terms of insurance and who is liable for what. Presumably the landlord is letting to a limited company which you own? If not, why was a company let agreement used?

If the landlord is aware and has given permission for you to sublet the property, the agreement you and the landlord should be using for your mutual protection is a commercial lease designed specifically for Rent to Rent - see >>> http://www.property118.com/guaranteed-rent-to-rent-lease-contract-template-download/41817/

It also worries me deeply that you are subletting to a charity who are also subletting the property. On what basis is this agreement drawn up? Does the charity know that you are not the property owner?

Effectively what we appear to have here is a rent to rent to rent, the potentially disastrous complications and legalities for which are mind bogglingly complicated. I have to hand it to you though, it's the first arrangement of this kind I've ever come across.

Vanessa Warwick

15:23 PM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

What a strange story!
I am vaguely curious why tenants are turning up to move in between 10 and 11 pm at night.

That is potentially disruptive to neighbours and not a good start to a tenancy.

If they had moved in during "normal" hours, perhaps the landlord could have been contacted to come and supply keys.

I share Mark's concerns on the other issues too.

As a sub-letter, are you able to instruct a locksmith, or do you have to do everything through the landlord?

Mary Latham

15:59 PM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "30/08/2013 - 15:23":

This seems to be another on of those "rent to rent" situations. Judging by the time that the tenants turned up they are probably from a hard to place tenant group.

Mark it is the sub-let that is a corporate let not the let from the landlord if I am reading the post correctly?

Reading between the lines the landlord has had a change of heart having found out the tenant group that is being placed in the property - I could be wrong but I would not be changing locks if I was the person who rented from the landlord because the original agreement may not allow sub-letting.

A BIG can of worms - I will be very interested to hear from Ed if I have got this right or not?

Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets

My book, where I warn about the storm clouds that are gathering for landlords is here >>> http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1484855337

Mark Alexander

16:23 PM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mary Latham" at "30/08/2013 - 15:59":

Mi Mary

You said "Mark it is the sub-let that is a corporate let not the let from the landlord if I am reading the post correctly?"

Either way, I still think that's wrong. The only way I can imagine that such an arrangement could come close to being legally effective is for the letting terms between Ed and property owner and Ed and Charity being mirrored commercial leases. For example, a rent to rent commercial lease between Ed and the property owner and an identical rent to rent commercial lease between Ed and the Charity.

With regards to the motives for the property owner having changed the door and the related points made by you and Vanessa I can also see issues there. If Ed was the tenant and actually lived in the property then I could hand on heart say that what the property owner has done is wrong. However, with all of the additional complications I truly haven't a clue what rights any of the various parties to this arrangement might have. One thing that's highly likely is that the Charity will have the funds available to test their rights in law. Whether they will actually do this will probably depend on the extent to which they have been inconvenienced and what type of Charity they are. I hope for Ed's sake they are not one of the big housing charities!

Vanessa Warwick

16:32 PM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

This is an interesting case.

We are always hearing of what an amazing strategy Rent to Rent is.

Anyway, as Ed's situation has shown, R2R can COST you money as well.  He's had to pay hotel bills for the tenants.  I wonder if it mentions on these R2R courses what happens if the landlord changes their mind and the locks?  What are the rights of the head tenants and sub-tenants if the landlord realises it is a breach of their mortgage/insurance/lease and changes their mind?

I agree with Mary that that might be what happened.  Although on the BMV Group, Ed mentions that "the agent now has the keys".

All very strange and confusing ... especially for the sub-tenants.

Mary Latham

16:37 PM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "30/08/2013 - 16:23":

Mark there are soooooo many charities these days I would not be too concerned. Many people have gone for charitable status because of the changes in funding for supported housing and for hard to place tenants. I come across landlords often who have signed up with someone that they know will sub let the property but they have not taken the trouble to find out the tenant group involved when they later realise that the group are ex-offenders, single mothers, victims of domestic violence, ex-addicts/alcoholics etc they change their minds or the neighbours put pressure on them to get the tenants out. As I said a BIG can of worms

Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets

My book, where I warn about the storm clouds that are gathering for landlords is here >>> http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1484855337

Mark Alexander

16:44 PM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

@Vanessa and Mary

How can we get the message out there about the existence of a professionally drafted commercial lease agreement specifically for these Rent to Rent scenario's?

See >>> http://www.property118.com/guaranteed-rent-to-rent-lease-contract-template-download/41817/

Jay James

17:09 PM, 30th August 2013
About 5 years ago

Ed, I may be wrong but several questions come to mind;

Did you fit new locks to the front door with the LLs consent?

Should you not have provided keys to the LL when you fitted the new locks?

Could the LL sue you for the cost of the new door, on the basis that you made it necessary by fitting additional (and therefore additional holes in the door) locks without consent?

--

I'd appreciate thoughts from all on this.

The arrangements for this let sound rather unusual to say the least.


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