Tenant moving in wife and son to property in the first month of tenancy

by Readers Question

11:22 AM, 13th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Tenant moving in wife and son to property in the first month of tenancy

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Tenant moving in wife and son to property in the first month of tenancy

I have an AST with three tenants, a married couple who have just had a baby and a cousin who is related. They are nice tenants but in the first month of tenancy the cousin has now moved in his wife and child. This was done while I was on holiday. Tenant moving in wife and son to property in the first month of tenancy

It seems this is going to be permanent as they are already checking out admission procedures for their son at the local primary school. It is somewhat annoying as I originally set up the tenancy for three tenants plus new baby.

I am not too concerned as the tenants pay their rent on time but I am concerned about landlord insurance implications and the fact that I have not seen any identification papers, passport etc. immigration papers etc for the wife and son.

The house has three bedrooms so there does not appear to be an overcrowding issue.

As a landlord I would like to know what I can do to ensure I get the appropriate information from the new family members in a sensible manner to ensure that I am covered legally and that my actions are not seen as harassment. I have asked for the information but it has not appeared.

Thanks

Freyah



Comments

Mark Alexander

11:23 AM, 13th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I have to admit, you've got me stumped with this question.

I look forward to reading the answer from other members.
.

Nick Pope

17:09 PM, 13th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I think you need to crack down immediately and regularise the situation. Even if the cousin is party to the agreement he has no right to bring other persons into the property without your permission even if they are related.
In any event it seems tome that you have agreed a rent based on a 3 + baby - you would no doubt have considered the rent level if there were extras to start with or perhaps not rented to them in the first place - there will inevitably be additional wear and tear with 4 adults and 2 children.
If you are relaxed with the situation that's fine but the extra adult must be added to the agreement so in the event of anyone moving out she is liable for rent payments.
You must also check immigration status.
So far as insurance is concerned I am most concerned that the property will be considered by them to be an HMO and this will affect cover.
Under the terms of the Housing Act 2004 an HMO is:

A house or flat which is occupied by 3 or more tenants forming 2 or more households* who share a basic amenity such as cooking facilities, bathroom or toilet.

*A household is defined as a family which includes relatives, staff etc.

If the property is less than 3 storeys high it would not require a mandatory HMO licence though a discretionary licence can be provided if if a landlord wishes to demonstrate a certain level of safety etc in the accommodation .

In this case the relationships might well be considered as a single family so far as the local authority is concerned (and they will consider it when the council tax returns are received) but in the event of a claim your insurer might try to wriggle out of a claim and so I would talk to your insurer to get their view a.s.a.p.

Generally it seems a bit of a minefield and I'm glad it's not my problem

Freyah Payne

0:37 AM, 14th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Dear Nick,
Thank you so much for your comments. I am meeting the tenants tomorrow to state exactly what I need from them and pointing out that I am unhappy that they failed to inform me of their plans. I am backing this up with a formal letter requesting the information. I have also contacted my insurance company who are getting back to me and am reviewing the existing tenancy agreement. I will keep you posted about results.

Luke P

12:21 PM, 15th June 2015
About 3 years ago

If they don't play ball by signing a new agreement, what options would one have in this situation. A S.21 is no good until the fixed term is over (and with the new 4 month rule coming in, is useless at this point). S.8 may not cut it either if they claim the extra people aren't permanent (and the Judge always has discretion).

I'm curious as to what can be done, particularly in light or the soon-to-be rolled out immigration status checks. Would a landlord be at fault in this situation if the 'additional' tenants didn't stack up? What if you didn't know about this but the authorities found out first?

Lenin Benin

11:35 AM, 16th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Be very careful as this situation may quickly get out of hand. I am currently completely renovating my 3 bedroom flat after finally getting the tenants evicted (S21)which took 6 months. The place was totally destroyed, needing new boiler, kitchen, bathroom and toilet, plus new doors (repeatedly drilled by tenants for locks) and floors (terribly damaged by dragging of large items of furniture, including freezers and fridges in living room and bedrooms!)
9 years ago I signed a AST with 2 nice young African girls with "good jobs" who were introduced by what I believed to be a trustworthy neighbour. They always paid the rent, which was very low, as I felt guilty about renting out a former council flat. (they picked up on this ). I went abroad for a year, leaving the neighbour in charge, but on my return, the door was answered by a very pregnant young lady, who explained that the other girl had left but her boyfriend was now living there. While I have nothing against this, I have since found out that the boyfriend had been waiting round the corner on the day of signing the tenancy and that the friend had never lived there!
Every time I went round (to fix things which they frequently broke) a different person would answer the door. I was always told it was their 'sister' or 'brother', not realising at first, this was not the case. I finally realised things were wrong, when looking round the flat I found each room was locked individually, there were separate satellite dishes going to each room,strange people were emerging from the shower, cooking in the kitchen and washing vast amounts of clothes in the bath!
I managed to persuade them to put the tenancy in both their names, and refused to keep supplying washing machines and cookers, changing it to unfurnished on AST.
All this time, I tried not to discriminate against them because they were low paid and from Africa, so I kept the rent low and felt grateful they paid it.
Eventually, though, the house became uninhabitable, as they crammed themselves into 2 rooms with their now 3 children and grandmother to look after them, whilst sub-letting
the other 2 rooms to other people from their country. They never opened the curtains or windows so condensation built up and caused mould to grow in the children's room and bathroom. It became a total slum and I was worried about what to do, as I did find them quite confrontational if I queried anything.
I was spurred on to act when an estate agent told me I should be getting at least 700 pounds a month more for that flat as it is in a popular area of London . That is when I issued the S21, which the tenants weren't surprised at, and didn't mind, as they intended to be made homeless by waiting for eviction, which they did, so that they would be re-housed with their 3 children and have a chance to get a council flat of their own! They know all the tricks and the ins and outs of the system. I felt vey naive and now I feel quite bitter and used as they have cost me a fortune in repairs and replacements.
To crown it all, I found out that they had been claiming housing benefit nearly all the time they had been living at and subletting my flat! So much for being kind to low wage earners!
I do want to point out that they were not bad people, nor did they take drugs, etc, but I feel that I have been the loser in all this, and am having to spend upwards of 20,000 pounds to make the flat suitable for other tenants to live in again.
It is the wear and tear and the insurance situation you need to consider, and make sure that if you acknowledge the wife you get her on the tenancy too, in case you need to evict them in future. A lot of tenants are trying to get themselves made homeless in order to get council housing (on the day of eviction, a friend 2 doors away was also being evicted after being told about it by my tenant!!)

Jay James

14:25 PM, 16th June 2015
About 3 years ago

£20,000 of work needed and you say they are not bad people? They are terrible people!

Mark Hulbert

10:21 AM, 21st June 2015
About 3 years ago

We need to start including a clause in the AST that states that in the event of someone over age 18 years residing in the property for more than x weeks the rent will rise by £y pcm, and that in any event no more than the legal overcrowding limit (?1.5 occupants per occupiable room) are permitted.

Detre Dominus

21:29 PM, 14th September 2015
About 3 years ago

I'm really sad when hearing things like that. I came from eastern Europe and I was a low wage earner. But still decend person, who likes tidyness and cleaniness. I would be thankful to have a property for a low price, and would be trying to give a little back of the helping. But these people just used you, and in the end you turned up stopping to help people like me.

Roger Rabbit

13:35 PM, 15th September 2015
About 3 years ago

I have something that is comparable.
Rented out a house to a married couple and the brother. They have since moved in the brothers wife. I suspect down the line both married coupled will also have kids.

It does concern me somewhat and had I known in advance I probably would not have taken them on. However since they have been in the property they have been one of my best tenants looking after the property and the garden to a very high standard. Especially the garden which most tenants do not touch at all whereas this group has totally changed it from overgrowth and grass to planting flowers and decorative ornaments etc

So far so good. I still do have a concern that if the two groups of couples have a disagreement/fight it will lead to a negative situation.

Overall I have sympathy for the tenants as rent prices are high in London and so long as they are good people and look after the property there should be no issue. But I do have concerns about future regulations and changes to their circumstances. But once they are in its difficult for a landlord to do much of anything.

Just for info they are eastern Europeans.


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