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I Rented A Property Without Planning Permission

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vanman84 | 19:26 Mon 11th Mar 2013 | Law
7 Answers
I rent a storage yard, and also live there. I had a contract with the landlord for one year, this expired last month. Also last month, the council came to the property and posted up planning contravention notices, and it's now clear there is no planning permission for living or commercial use on the land. As this was days before the rent was due, and I have a deposit of one month's rent I did not pay the rent. The council visit was on the 19th Feb (rent due 25) and on 9 Mar I had a call from a man who said he was the landowner's son and asked for the rent. Previously I had only dealt with the caretaker, who has moved out of his mobile home and has not contacted me about the rent. I have no contract with the son (the landowner is currently living in the Philippines, and was there when I moved in) and the one I do have has, I feel been issued falsely, as the landowner had no right to offer space as there was no planning permission.
I am actively looking for a new place, but it will cost me to move (which I wasn't planning to do) and I will have to offer a deposit and rent up front so by way of compensation I feel I don't want to pay the rent again.
What are my rights?

Do I have any right to reclaim my rent?

Can I claim moving costs?

Can I be locked out of the property as the son is talking about changing the locks?

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"I rent a storage yard, and also live there."

That alone says much about the way you choose to do business. Even you will realise you can't just rock up in a van and live in it. The small matter of whether there is planning consent to do this must have crossed your mind - planning permission that won't be forthcoming unless you are running an agricultural or forestry operation.

As to your contract, much is going to depend on what it says about the scope of what you are renting. It is generally your job to establish the use to which you intend to put the yard to is covered by the relevant consent under Town & Country Planning Regs.

Your problem, I suspect, and time to move on sharpish.
with my non legal head on (i don't have a legal head) the logical answer seems to be that you have no rights - the PP has nothing to do with you, the landlord has been providing you with the service in the contract, and you have now stopped paying for it, despite the fact you are still there.if the lack of PP hasn't had an impact on you (which it sounds like it hasn't) i can't see why you would be able to reclaim your rent (or in fact stop paying it) You can be evicted for not paying the rent although they have to follow a process, rather than just lock you out. I would say you have considerably less rights now you have defaulted on the rent though
Your 12 month contract expired before this planning issue came to light. You have not entered into a new contract. What does the original contract say about the right of the landlord to give you notice to quit? It is quite likely it specifies something like 1 or 2 months notice. If so, you could be asked to go at any time by giving you the necessary notice. You would be expected to pay the rent up to the date you go.

Your questions then fall away except that the landlord should not lock you out for failure to pay 1 month's rent unless the wording of your contract specifies he can - & even then, it is possible that would be considered to be an unfair contract term. (This assumes you do not have a residential assured shorthold tenancy - if you do, then a Court order is needed to evict you legally.)
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frstly, I actually did ask what planning permission was on the land. I was told there was commercial use and for 3 mobile homes (one of which was occupied by the caretaker who handled my contract and answered my questions).
None of the buisinesses can be remotely thought of as agricultural (car storage, scaffolding PVC recycling and others)
Also, there was a contravention noticed back in august I knew nothing about.
If being MADE to move is not thought of as having an impact on me I don't know what is!
Aside from anything else, the landlord has no right to offer space to rent so surely that at best makes any contract null and void and at worst a criminal activity?
Oh and I thought I read this site was to offer advice and not to judge those asking for it?
i don't think anyone is judging you.
As for your other points, you are now out of the 12 month contract, so you are not being made to move in contravention of the contract - the landlord just needs to give you notice (or start eviction proceedings as is more likely now you've stopped paying for a service you are still enjoying)
ps when i said it didn't have an impact on you i meant in the last 12 months during your contract, therefore why would you be able to reclaim rent you already paid for the service you already received?
Looking at this form a neutral perspective I can not for the life of me understand what you are asking for and why.

You rented a storage yard and then decided to take up residence in the yard without:
1- Checking the land was able to be used for the purpose you intended to use it for.
2- Checking if a residence could be set up on said land.
3- Had dealings with the "Caretaker" not the actual landowners
4- The owner has moved to the Philippines
5- The council is stating that all activity on the land is illegal

I work in Employment Law, however I have had to look into various laws over the years. My advice to you would be to walk away from this and take it as a hard lesson in life. A judge is not going to grant you any damages for losses if they arise from any type of illegal activity, as you have been running a storage yard without a licence and have been living in a site without payment of council taxes/business rates your case is rather flawed.

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