Permitted Occupier – or not?

Permitted Occupier – or not?

10:58 AM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago 21

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A single lady tenant was given an AST in 2005 and many years later her daughter moves in. Although she never asked permission we are aware she now lives there with her mum. No issues at all with them. Rent all on time, in fact, model tenants, they look after garden etc treat the place very well.

Fast-forward to now, the daughter just informs me mum has lung cancer. While I am not party to any more detail than this, reading between the lines of communication it seems like the lady is pretty ill (she has asked permission for a key lock safe to be put on the outside wall to let carers in – we have agreed and are going to supply and it for her as a gesture of goodwill)

Question what happens on tenant demise? While I am clearly NOT wishing this, they need to be made aware of the consequences of this. At this stage, I am unsure if the daughter can carry on paying the rent (she was made redundant in Nov/Dec). I will not be offering her any direct contract unless she can prove she is financially viable (as I would any new tenant).

What is the legal position here – is she an official Permitted Occupier, even if there is nothing on the contract or any formal recognition of such? Ideally, we hope that she is sensible enough to realise if she can’t pay the rent then she needs to move on herself, but what if the worst happens, and she refuses to leave?

Do I have to go through the S8 route, even if she is not listed on the AST?

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord



Comments

by Dylan Morris

12:07 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

A very interesting question something that’s often crossed my mind when I’ve let to a single person and new partner just moves in. Obviously a very difficult and sensitive situation for you and the daughter. Presumably she is not a tenant if like most the AST prohibited sub-letting so S8 route not available. I guess she has no rights to reside and you can call the Police as she is trespassing and get her removed ? Or if they say it’s a civil matter just kick her out and change the locks ?

by Accommodate-UK Ltd

12:10 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

She is not a tenant but a court order would be required to legally obtain possession if not given up voluntarily.

by Dylan Morris

12:19 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

It is it the case that the tenancy continues on death and you need to deal with the deceased tenants estate ?

by TheSwan

12:20 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

I'm very interested in the legalities of this as I have two sets of tenants who have put me in exactly this position.

I have spoken to the NRLA about mine but only from the viewpoint of whether I need to formally recognise the additional people, they said that I only need to do that if I want to make them responsible for the rent (but then I'd need to pay for referencing and issue a new contract - more paperwork, money and time). But the thought did cross my mind about the legal position if the single AST holder died.

by Smartermind

12:21 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

Considering your tenant's circumstances fitting the key safe was something, as a responsible landlord, that you should have been prepared to do in any case and not just "as a gesture of goodwill".

The daughter is not your tenant and as such you have no obligations to her and she has no legal rights, but why turf out a good long standing tenant's daughter if they look after the property. You could relet the property and your next tenant could be the tenant from hell.

You should not be upsetting the tenant and her daughter by having these "conversations" with them now, just because you are concerned about your bottom line. If the daughter had been a nuisance then it would be understandable, but as they have given you no grief, why go giving them grief. Be supportive of them in their moment of need and when the situation arises, deal with it then in a tactful and understanding manner.

by DSR

12:50 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 08/03/2021 - 12:21
Just called the NRLA for 'advice'.
Apparently the daughter will be classed as a permitted occupier (even though she is not on the TA, listed formally as an OP, and they have neither officially asked for daughter to move in. Because I know she is there (even if asked to move in my actual tenant) but have never requested her to formally leave, I have in effect 'agreed' she can stay. As a result she is an OP.
Therefore 2 options. If she is also the next of kin best go down the route of getting a Deed of Surrender. If not then S8 Ground 7 (taking three months presently).
If she offered me any rent herself (after the tenant died and she wanted to clear out the house etc) then the offer would not create a new tenancy, so back to DoS route or if she doesn;t leave the S8/G7 route.
The daughter could not afford rent on her own as we would be putting up to current market rent rate for area (current rent lower than this) and anyway she has confirmed she is on furlough and may possibly still loose her job).
If tenant goes voluntarily into a hospice - another possibility then DoS applies and S8/G7 route again.

I'm hoping this will all be amicable when the inevitable happens but of course you never know...

by Judith Wordsworth

13:13 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

You should always get a Deed of Surrender signed when any tenant moves out. But if or when the time comes for the mother to go into a hospice do the decent thing and let her stay there at the current rent, and for a period after the demise. You've been happy with a less than market rent for sometime. If she and her mother have been looking after the property why not consider her under housing benefit as long as the rent is paid direct to you.

by Graham Bowcock

13:15 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

The daughter has no rights to succeed to an AST and discussions on "Permitted Occupier" status are a bit if a red herring.

However, this is on the basis that at all times you have had all official dealings with the mother only. Rent demands, reviews, letters, etc. should all only ever be addressed to the tenant. I have found some agents and owners to be slack in this department and this is where problems arise.

Assuming you have dealt properly you owe the daughter nothing from a tenancy point of view.

I see no harm in you have a polite conversation with the mother or daughter. I have found that a sensible conversation is often well received as it can give the tenant some clarity as to what they are going to do next. They may be working on incorrect assumptions, or have simply never thought about it.

by DSR

13:30 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 08/03/2021 - 12:21
oh believe me I am not worried about the bottom line or rent. Just the actual position of the daughter so before anything happens I can have an honest chat with her so she is as clear as where she stands legally as am I. No point doing this once the tenant dies - too raw and she may get reactive. Trying to help as best I can as a LL.

by DSR

13:41 PM, 8th March 2021, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 08/03/2021 - 13:13
Not possible. The daughter could not afford rent as it is on her own never mind with UC 'help' and that's not a route I am going down at all.
Daughter has said she is saving for a deposit, (with her partner who lives elsewhere) so it may mean that when the inevitable happens, it may be the time for her to naturally move on.
A suck and see situation, but I will diary note a chat to the daughter in two weeks time (when things are a bit less raw and the tenant herself is back home (currently in hospital).

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