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Tenant Problems

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UK44 | 20:55 Tue 24th Sep 2013 | Law
13 Answers
Hi there,

As a new landlord I rented out a bungalow to a young couple for 12 months. The bungalow has a separate double garage, which there is no mention of in the tenancy agreement. When the young couple came to sign the agreement, which was witnessed by our neighbour we had a discussion about the garage and said that from November to March we wanted to park our old VW camper in half of it, just for winter. The couple said that this was no problem. We have recently sent the tenants a letter to advise that in 4 weeks we will be bring the camper around. Prior to sending the letter we felt that we had a good relationship with the tenants. However we have now received a letter saying that as they are renting the property we cannot store the camper in the garage and they also said we have been breaching the tenancy agreement by working in the garden, even though we have told them via text and verbally when we have been or had work undertaken in the garden, I.e. Drive resurfaced, new fencing. We wanted to know if we have any legal right to place the camper in the garage. Although this is not mentioned in the tenancy agreement the conversation was witnessed by our neighbour, therefore we believe that we had a gentleman's agreement. As we were not happy with their letter, especially the accusation of breaching the tenancy agreement we have replied to them in writing saying that we have always advised when we were going to work in the garden and we have fixed any issues they have asked immediately. We also mentioned, the discussions we have had with them following complaints from neighbours who live near the tenants due to working on their car late, dangerous driving and revving engines, which is in breach of the "not to cause nuisance" in the tenancy agreement, which the neighbours are prepared to put in writing. One reason that they have said we cannot park the camper in the garage is because they have filled it, which includes car parts from their fathers business. Again we have informed them in the letter to remove the parts as this is in breach of the tenancy agreement " not to run a business from the property". We also said that they had no right to dig large boarders in the garden, which they had started to do without our permission. As a new landlord any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you!



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I'm afraid all this should have been covered in your tenancy agreement - what was included, who had the right to which parts - including parking your own camper van, which parts you were still going to maintain (garden etc). However, it's a bit late now. I honestly don't know if the word of your witness would stand up in a court of law if it came to it. When does the current tenancy agreement expire? I'd be tempted just to cut my losses for now, and decline to renew when the current agreement runs out - and next time, get a detailed tenancy agreement drawn up.
Just what I was going to say Boxtops.

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how is the garage separate?
is it attached to the house?

if you rent a house you assume you get the garage too - the whole property - or not at all - not get part of it for a bit then have it taken away again for half the year, every year - you must have know they would start to use it....

i am not sure id be too pleased if my landlord came round want to store things and use parts of the property either.

i know you say you discussed it - but did you make it clear? could they have misunderstood?

that said, if they did agree to this, make it clear that you will not be renewing their contract after the year, because you need tenants that allow you to park there... as previously arranged.

when they realise they may lose their home over this, they may make space for your van - its a double garage - surely theres room for both of you.
If the garage was not included with the property, was it not kept locked and you kept the key? If not and it is accessible via the bungalow itself then I can understand why they used it as it forms part of the house. As its not mentionend in the tenancy agreement I don't see what recourse you have now. Also, storing parts for a business does not constitute "running a business" so I think you are on a hiding to nothing with that one. Equally I don't think digging boarders in the garden should be considered a problem, when you rent out a property you have to let them maintain and enjoy it.

If they are causing noise nuisance however that is a different matter and i would given them a written warning now. Just be prepared that if they think they will lose the property at the end of the tenancy they may start to neglect it.
In the excitement of renting tenants sometimes miss verbals & since you omit to write them in TA your position is weakened. Best let tenants live peacefully while your property is occupied. When you get the chance, increase the rent to cover any inconveniences.
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how much notice have you given them of your intention to work on the garden? Have you given them formal notice?
Did you draw up the tenancy agreement yourself or use a baseline one?

Most tenancy agreements will have a clause regarding the landlord conducting work on the property and the notice provided for such works to be undertaken.

The garage is an informal agreement but if the garage falls within the boundary of the property you could find yourself in a sticky situation, IMHO. Particularly if it wasn't locked when the tenants moved in.

Mentioning their behaviour was not the wisest move as it is upping the anti, and is unlikely to help you in the long term. A tit for tat argument is rarely the basis for a fruitful negotiation.
This should be a cautionary tale to anyone who is a new Landlord.
If the garage is not mentioned it can be argued either way or the court will decide, if either side go that far, which is not recommended. Learn from your error and ensure any future agreements cover all possible circumstances and are preferably produced by a professional.
Some good advice given particularly from boxtops & EcclesCake.
I wondered what TW might say.
I think you can have oral extra clauses to a written lease -
but here there may be evidential problems ( = your tenants might say you didnt )

Be thankful they are maintaining the garden - border annoyance I think is incidental

I am astounded they are complaining about re tarmacking the drive
but in order the enter the property, the lease they/you signed would have specified reasonable notice. Your tenants after all have exclusive possession

your maximising option is pretty obvious to us all
1) pocket the rent
2) garage the car elsewhere
3) boot them out at the end of the year.

basically dont go near the place and ring them up every month and say is everything OK ? You only have to do it less than 10 times.
as far as problem tenants go,
this scores around 1 out of ten

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