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Landlord breaking the law?

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Author Topic: Landlord breaking the law?  (Read 205 times)
Newbie
Posts: 1

I like property

« on: March 01, 2021, 10:51:46 PM »

Hello,

Within my tenancy agreement it states that it is 'not an assured tenancy or an assured shorthold tenancy'.  However my tenancy doesn't fit any of the criteria of a lodger or a non assured tenancy. My rent is not below 250 or above 100,000. This is my main property and the LL doesn't live here. My contract is for a 6 months tenancy too so not short either. Two other girls, all with separate non assured contracts and different rents live here. We all rent a room and have a shared kitchen/living room and i share a toilet with one of the girls too. My deposit as such isn't protected.

Secondly, the landlord has refused to accept me asking him/his daughter to not come in when we are not in the property I set a camera up, whilst i was away, which showed him letting himself in, walking into the flat and back out. He has been very rude about this request which begun because his daughter walked into the flat ( to show a room before it was rented) when i was sitting in the living room, without warning. He said that because i said i was out it was "fair to assume the flat would be empty". He then told me that he'd have to end the tenancy if i didn't "get off my high horse". He has also asked me to fix a boiler/ organise it myself and also asked me to speak to a previous tenant to try and fix it even though I told him the advice online is, once googling to code, to not attempt to fix this myself. There is no hot water or heating so i have sorted this. He told me that i would be charged if it was a call out that ended with no faults but has since said it's under a scheme where this is free.


So kind of three questions  - 1. should my tenancy be assured/ is it an assured on regardless of what the contract states based on fitting the assured tenancy contract rather that one that isn't? And 2. what are my rights regarding the LL coming into my flat and not accepting that i don't want them in my flat without me (I've offered to video the room and also have been very accommodating letting people in and showing the flat despite being fearful of COVID - my area is very high for it) / is he breaking any laws with the above actions and 3. He also charges what myself and fellow renters think is way over for bills. Is it ok to ask to see a copy of the bills?

Thank you - appreciate any help/advice :)
Hero Member
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 11:40:24 PM »

You have dodgy landlord who thinks he's above the law and can just work around the protection in place to protect tenant.

First, do you have a tenancy. If you in reality have exclusive possession of a premise (here you room) for rent for a period of time, then you have a tenancy. Since you have not suggested that the landlord is trying to argue you have a licence and not a tenancy, I'll leave this point and proceed on the basis that you have a tenancy.

If you have a tenancy, and you (or a joint tenant) live there as your only or principal home, you do not fall under any of the exception listed under Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1988, then the tenancy must be assured. Since you have mentioned and ruled out the most likely reasons (low rent, high rateable values, resident landlords), I'm going to assume none of it applies.

A notice served before the tenancy is agreed, served by the landlord to the tenant, stating that the tenancy is not shorthold exclude the tenancy from being shorthold. A statement purporting to exclude a tenancy from being assured has no effect.

Ergo, you legally have an assured tenancy that is not shorthold. Definitely not what the landlord intended, but tough luck to him.

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My deposit as such isn't protected.

As the tenancy is not shorthold, protection isn't required by law.

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We all rent a room and have a shared kitchen/living room
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Secondly, the landlord has refused to accept me asking him/his daughter to not come in when we are not in the property

As you have an HMO with a shared common area, excepting any contractual provision possibly stating otherwise, the landlord is legally entitled to enter the property and be in the shared area without notice. They can't just wonder into your room though. I understand your worries, especially with COVID-19, and wouldn't want a landlord wondering in myself, but don't think you can prevent it.

It's not clear to me whether your boiler was fixed, and who by? That should had been the responsibility of the landlord.

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He then told me that he'd have to end the tenancy if i didn't "get off my high horse".

Given you have a non-shorthold assured tenancy, that's going to be a bit of a problem for your landlord, even without COVID-19. He basically won't be able to evict you unless you stop paying your rent.

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He also charges what myself and fellow renters think is way over for bills. Is it ok to ask to see a copy of the bills?

You haven't provided enough information on the exact arrangement so it's difficult to comment.

In your position, I would check whether you are in an area where your landlord is required to obtain a licence under an HMO additional licensing scheme or a selective licensing scheme.

Have you been given a copy of gas safety certificate for the property (assuming it has gas appliances)?

Have you been given a copy of electrical safety report (Electrical Installation Condition Report) for the property?
Full Member
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2021, 10:29:15 AM »

1. should my tenancy be assured/ is it an assured on regardless of what the contract states based on fitting the assured tenancy contract rather that one that isn't?

Not for a rented room I believe.  No need to protect the deposit in this case.

2. what are my rights regarding the LL coming into my flat and not accepting that i don't want them in my flat without me (I've offered to video the room and also have been very accommodating letting people in and showing the flat despite being fearful of COVID - my area is very high for it) / is he breaking any laws with the above actions

As the kitchen areas etc are shared they can come in with notice. 

3. He also charges what myself and fellow renters think is way over for bills. Is it ok to ask to see a copy of the bills?

You can ask but I would suggest you check your agreement.  Are you paying an agreed fixed fee or does it change each month?  If you have agreed to a fixed fee then I can't see what you can do.


Ultimately you have rented a place where you are not happy with the way the property is run but the boiler aside nothing sounds illegal.  I would suggest you look for a new place and move out at the earliest opportunity.
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2021, 06:25:06 PM »

Whether the deposit needed to have been protected has nothing to do with it being for a rented room. If a tenancy was paid in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy, then it needs to be protected, and it's perfectly normal for rooms let in an HMO to be assured shorthold since that is the default tenancy type for residential tenancy in England and Wales after all.

No notice requirement for shared area. It is shared, the tenant does not have exclusive possession of it. In fact, the landlord are well advised to regularly check a shared area since their repairing obligations of shared area does not depend on notification by tenant first since it is deemed that the landlord have access and hence should know already if something's broken.
Full Member
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2021, 09:37:56 AM »

Whether the deposit needed to have been protected has nothing to do with it being for a rented room. If a tenancy was paid in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy, then it needs to be protected, and it's perfectly normal for rooms let in an HMO to be assured shorthold since that is the default tenancy type for residential tenancy in England and Wales after all.

No notice requirement for shared area. It is shared, the tenant does not have exclusive possession of it. In fact, the landlord are well advised to regularly check a shared area since their repairing obligations of shared area does not depend on notification by tenant first since it is deemed that the landlord have access and hence should know already if something's broken.
The OP says the tenancy agreement states it is not an assured tenancy. Would be interesting to see what sort of agreement he has.
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2021, 12:37:31 PM »

I am willing to bet that the agreement was either drafted or at least modified by the landlord from something they found online in an attempt to deprave the tenant of the various protection set out in law. Fortunately for the tenant, and unfortunately for the landlord, such attempts does not work and in fact results in the tenant here having more security than if the landlord hadn't try anything.

Any attempts to pretend an agreement is a licence to occupy rather than a tenancy using a sham agreement have been shot down since Street v Mountford [1985] UKHL 4.

While landlord can exclude the grant from being assured shorthold through notice, such notice have no effect on a tenancy's assured status. If the tenancy fulfil the criteria set out under the Housing Act 1988, then it must be assured. And while not being shorthold mean deposit protection doesn't apply, it also mean section 21 notice doesn't apply. The requirements related to GSC and EPC are still there via their own regulations, even if the additional prohibition relates to s21 no longer applies, and no longer need to apply.

The new EICR requirements still applies, and so does the minimum energy efficiency requirements and smoke and CO alarm requirements. Same goes for any HMO laws.
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