Single occupancy AST installs wife and 2 children?

Single occupancy AST installs wife and 2 children?

9:19 AM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago 23

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Hello, In November 2022 I accepted a new tenant on a 1 year AST. The property is a 2 bed first floor flat in a converted building.

He is aged mid 30s (I think of Nigerian origin) and doing a post grad course at a local University. Let via an agent, but I manage.

It may have seemed strange that he took a 2 bed, but I have had this before with post grads who study mainly at home, and use second bed as an office. If he had a family, I assumed they remained at home in their native country for the duration of his course, certainly no mention has ever been made of a family.

In December he advised that he would be away for a month from Christmas and visiting Australia.

On 1st February I had a message saying his family were visiting next week from Australia. I texted him back immediately asking how many were coming.

On 14th February I visited the property and found a wife and 2 children (aged 7 or 8) and asked how long they were staying – hopefully only a couple of weeks. He informed me that the immigration system in Australia was complicated and he couldn’t say!

He told me that the tenant downstairs had been banging on the ceiling and could I ask him to stop. I told him he should keep the noise to a minimum and the property wasn’t suitable for children.

I spoke with the tenant downstairs who complained about the noise (we had an unfortunate similar noise problem with a previous tenant last year, which I resolved by persuade that tenant to leave). I also advised him that the situation should be short lived, which seemed to placate him.

The downstairs tenant is a bit of a moaner, but I can’t blame him in both instances. Currently there is a war of words going on between them!!

I have spoken to the agent who knew that children were unacceptable and were unaware of the family ever coming. The tenancy is an AST for 1 year. I asked the agent whether the flat was advertised as no children, but they informed me this wasn’t possible as it is regarded as discriminatory as is no smokers. Is this correct?

They suggested I advise the new tenant that the presence of his family is unacceptable and offer an early exit from the contract but reclaiming replacement tenant costs. To resolve I’d let him go with no strings attached.

I have received a texted complaint from the downstairs flat now. I cannot inform him of the single residency situation for fear of data breach.

I have informed the upstairs tenant by text of a complaint of noise from the downstairs tenant and that the building is not suitable for children, whist a stay of a couple of weeks would be acceptable to me, no longer would be acceptable. It is obvious from the new tenant’s response that things may be heating up between the two of them.

I am seeking advice on how best to proceed initially and then if needs be, legally.

Also is it possible to advertise excluding children and smokers?

Any comments or advice would be most appreciated.

Jasper


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Comments

Graham Bowcock

11:47 AM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

I don't think there's a lot you can actually do here.

Leting on an AST gives the tenant the right to occupy the proeprty as their home. It is difficult for landlords to put (or manage) restrictions on occupation. There's no legal reason not to advertise no children or smokers, but if a tenant is in breach there's not a lot you can do until the tenancy comes to an end naturally.

From your point of view I'd let the tenant get on with his life, with the exception of dealing with nuiance towards other neighbours - but in practice this is always difficult to deal with.

We manage a few blocks of flats here in my agency and we get similar issues frequently. That's why my own portfolio does not include any flats!

Rod

12:21 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

We specify in our tenancy the maximum number of tenants - this is particularly relevant for sharers, where additional or selective licencing may apply.

In addition, have you or your agent requested the relevant documents to ensure right to rent requirements are being complied with, given that is now her defacto main residence.

Simon M

12:37 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Whatever your tenant may claim, moving his family in so soon suggests he intended this when he took the tenancy. This won't be easy to resolve and you should expect to look for a formal route.
If the wife isn't a temporary guest then you need to have her checked for Right to Rent - and this may tell you if there's a time limit on her visa.
You should also check your tenancy agreement and any mortgage conditions, which might give you grounds for legal action e.g. all adults must be on the TA, or if wife applied for visa before the tenancy then it begins to provide evidence the tenant lied to gain the tenancy.
I'd ask the downstairs neighbour to formalise the complaint and to substantiate this with dates & times of noise as evidence for action you may need to take in future.

DPT

12:38 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

When you let a 2 bed flat it has to be on the assumption that the tenant will wish to use both bedrooms to accommodate people. Why do you think that the building is unsuitable for children? I would refuse to engage with the tenant downstairs. If they wish to complain to the Council they can, but if its for regular family noise he won't get anywhere.

Mr.A

14:02 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

If your tenant is paying rent on time and keeping the flat in good condition, what more do you want ?ask him to be understanding and not disturb the neighbours.
The man downstairs(the moaner ) if he has a problem should report his complaints to the clowncil.
If you come down hard on your tenant for no good, fair reason he may decide to not pay rent and you would then have a long and miserable fight on your hands through the Courts to remove him from the property.

Steve Riley-Snelling

14:19 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 21/02/2023 - 12:38
When I let a two bed flat it is on the assumption that the tenant will not breach the AST. My AST states that only those named on the tenancy can occupy the property.

Beaver

15:07 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Given that the resident is from overseas what checks have you done to ensure that the tenant is legally entitled to rent in the UK, and what checks have you done to ensure that the presumed wife and children also have the right to rent in the UK?

Darren Sullivan

21:10 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Australians have a maximum 6 month stay as VISITORS to the UK anything else would require a visa in their passport. Contact your local police and explain that you suspect you have overstayers in your property after the 6 month time elapses. Get the details of the wife kids etc from your tenant. If he refuses then that increases your level of suspicion to police. Failing that crimestoppers or a call report to Border Force. This should be low hanging fruit for them.

Cadaceus WHACKWALLOP

5:32 AM, 22nd February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Steve Riley-Snelling at 21/02/2023 - 14:19
I'd be very surprised if that requirement would be enforced by a court as it is a clear breach of the right to family life, prohibiting a tenant from co-habiting with a person met after the start of the tenancy.

DPT

14:37 PM, 22nd February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Steve Riley-Snelling at 21/02/2023 - 14:19
As said above, likely unenforceable.

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