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to do any of these things re my tenant?

(41 Posts)
TheQueenOfDeDead Sat 15-Oct-11 06:07:52

This is a kind of WWYD. I'm really not sure whether any of these options are reasonable/unreasonable and knowing the vitriol often reserved for blood sucking landlords I thought I'd canvass opinions here grin .

I rent out a property and want to get the loft converted. For various reasons it needs to be done sooner rather than later. The tenancy comes to an end at the begining of the new year. Do I:

1) Give tenant notice, get work done, get new tenant who will pay increased rent?

2) Get work done (realise tenant will have to agree to this) but don't charge her rent for period of work and possibly compensate her?

3) Something in between?

My gut feeling is get work done, she continues to pay rent but gets benefit of newly converted room (which I know she really wants) with no increase in rent.

Hopefully Sat 15-Oct-11 06:13:24

I'm a tenant, and would have no problem with my landlord any of those options. All of them are totally reasonable, so why not do the maths, make sure they're all valid (e.g can you afford to keep your tenant at the same rent after the loft is converted?) and then ask your tenant what they want to do?

TheSkiingGardener Sat 15-Oct-11 06:20:52

I would talk to her and give her the options, but say that with the extra room the new tenancy starting in the New Year will have an increased rent. Up to you whether you charge her the full extra or not.

TheQueenOfDeDead Sat 15-Oct-11 06:33:52

The problem is my tenant is quite hard work and she will certainly push for option 2 so I need to have a clear idea of what is fair before I embark on any negotiations.

Just to add to the mix I know she wont pay extra rent once the loft is converted but that she is very keen to have the additional space. Not least (just to add to the mix) she is pregnant, which also impacts on how she will deal with the disruption (either of moving or building work)

I have a feeling what ever I do I will be perceived by her as exceptionally unreasonable.

aquafunf Sat 15-Oct-11 06:40:15

we cant possibly tell until we know why the loft NEEDS to be converted!

surely the only reason is to increase the rent? if so, you have answered it yourself. she wont pay more rent so giving notice is the only solution.

I think that it is unreasonable for a tenant to put up with building work, especially in the depths of winter, especially for something that will create mess, noise and heat loss.

If i were you, i would give her notice.

TheSkiingGardener Sat 15-Oct-11 06:44:32

Then I'd say go for option 2 but definitely raise the rent when the new tenancy agreement begins.

If it needs doing then it needs to be done. Unless, as the above poster has said, it is merely a revenue raising exercise. In which case this is a completely different question.

Thzumbazombiewitch Sat 15-Oct-11 06:48:43

I would say that you give her the option to stay on but tell her that the rent will increase as a result of it being done. If she doesn't want to pay the increased rent then she has the option to move out, doesn't she.

However, if you feel that her being there while pg and the work is going on is going to be counterproductive to a clean conversion etc., then give her notice and start afresh. It sounds as though it could be rather difficult for her to remain on site during the building work in her current condition anyway - so it might be simpler all around if you just give her notice.

You could give her first refusal on the property after the work is done, but she would have to find temporary accommodation so it could be too tricky all around again.

In the end, you don't owe her anything in terms of keeping her as a tenant - so do what is best for you, as you're going to get blamed whatever you do.

HormonallyMine Sat 15-Oct-11 06:51:41

Why does is it need to be done sooner? Are you planning on selling or moving into it? If either of those options, turf her. If you need someone for long term and she pays her rent, then i would say better the devil you know and keep her in with the option of subsidised rent until it's done.

TheQueenOfDeDead Sat 15-Oct-11 07:08:14

Well when I say it needs to be done, I was possibly overstating it grin .

I want it done now because:

i) My bank have changed their equity/rate bands. I have come off a discounted rate and if I have 60% equity then I get a significantly reduced rate which would save me a lot of money. Getting the conversion will push up the value of the house enabling me to take advantage of the rate.

ii) the planning permission runs out shortly.

iii) the very good builder who I really want to do it is available at the begining of year but then has some very big projects so would become unavailable for a long period.

I definitely don't want to move back into the house and have no intention of selling at the moment although probably will in a couple of years.

Hormonally I think you are right: She is a bit of a PITA but I am inclined to think better the devil I know - she pays rent (most of the time) and I guess I could have much worse.

I wouldn't put rent up (for her) because my mortgage would go down and although I could get more money from someone else I could get the tenant from hell. But I was kind of hoping that not increasing the rent would be sufficient compensation for her putting up with the disruption. I just didn't know how reasonable/unreasonable that might be.

thumb you are right whatever I do I will be "evil landlady" Ho hum.

TheQueenOfDeDead Sat 15-Oct-11 07:10:37

I should add that with selling in a few years in mind it makes sense to convert because the cost of the work is a fraction of the increased value iyswim?

HormonallyMine Sat 15-Oct-11 07:13:37

Just do it then. Tell her you are doing it and offer her option 1) and option 2).

TheSkiingGardener Sat 15-Oct-11 07:15:52

Ok. Tell her you are going to do the work, but in recognition of your good landlord/tenant relationship you will either:

Not charge her rent while the work is being done


Not increase her rent for the larger property.

She can choose how she wants to be compensated for the inconvenience?

ShroudOfHamsters Sat 15-Oct-11 07:26:50

She pays rent most of the time?

I'm not sure it is better the devil you know!!

Rent by direct debit at start of month as a condition of renewing her tenancy agreement perhaps?

And Skiing's solution to the conversion thing.

NinkyNonker Sat 15-Oct-11 07:29:15

I'm a landlady, and I would significantly reduce the rent for the period of the works, it is a big inconvenience. But if she is unreliable on her rent I would reconsider whether she is worth fighting to keep!

levantine Sat 15-Oct-11 07:36:53

I don't think I'd give her that choice because it sounds as if she might opt for

c both of the above

which might be reasonable, but I think you need to decide in advance

ballstoit Sat 15-Oct-11 07:42:20

I'm a tenant, and would be quite happy with either option...and I pay my rent every month grin

TandB Sat 15-Oct-11 08:48:16

How long would the works take? I don't think you should be too generous in your offers as it sounds like she might be the type to take advantage or have unrealistic expectations.

I would be clear with her that this work is being done in the expectation that the rental value of the property will increase and that you will be increasing the rent in the next tenancy, whether that be with her or with a new tenant. BUT that you are willing to offset that against the inconvenience to her for a set period of time, not indefinitely. So offer her the choice of a new contract on the basis that building work is being done during the first x number of weeks of the new tenancy and that the rent will be reduced to the current sum for 6 months by way of compensation. Or she takes the new tenancy at the new market rate, but that you don't charge rent at all during the conversion period.

Either of those options should be perfectly fair, and if she does not want to go with either of them then she can choose not to renew. I wouldn't be inclined to get into all sorts of negotiations about no rent increase AND rental holiday AND compensation. She doesn't sound like such a gem of a tenant that you simply can't afford to let her go.

For you, there is no difference in having the property empty during the work and having her living there rent free, so why would you compensate her on top of that? The builders would probably prefer the property empty anyway.

SeveredHeadsDragonTheFloor Sat 15-Oct-11 09:17:43

TBH, I'd give her notice and get the work done whilst the property is empty. I think the work would go more smoothly if there was no one in the property.

RandomMess Sat 15-Oct-11 09:27:30

She could argue over what constitutes "the work" being done - including decorating etc?

I would offer something like a 50% reduction in rent for 3 months and then no increas on the original rent price for 12 months thereafter. What if she ends up being there for years or something or you have other issues etc.

TBH I think her moving out and having the property empty is prefereable, you could get the rest decorated etc and put it back on and presumably a much better price.

wingandprayer Sat 15-Oct-11 09:29:58

Getting a loft converted is a filthy job which will make the whole property dusty, possibly wreck carpets and require full redecoration, and of course leave a gaping whole in the roof for the heating to escape from in some of the coldest months of the year. Sounds dramatic but all these things happened to friend during her loft conversion last year.

Are you absolutely sure you want a tricky pregnant tenant present during this? She will in all likelihood have no idea what the realities of a conversion are and while you have a good builder if something goes wrong or she has pregnancy problems and needs to be off her feet then this could end up being a nightmare for all parties.

I would say give her notice but give her first refusal on converted property at reduced rent/old rent. She gets all the advantages, none of the stress, you and your builder get a clear run and getting the work done which will mean it will take less time.

RandomMess Sat 15-Oct-11 09:38:04

When we had our loft done we only had velux windows put in but had to have the chimney removed. At my request they did nearly all the work through the whole in the roof so no mess anywhere else until they put the staircase in which was one of the last jobs before plastering.

Thoroughly recommend that approach.

wowfudge Sat 15-Oct-11 14:17:13

I'm a landlady too and I think first and foremost you need to make sure it really makes sound financial sense to convert the loft. Even with the better rate you say you will be able to benefit from, by how much do you stand to benefit once you have paid for the works on the house? Would it make a significant difference to the rent you could charge and is there a market for the property where it is located if it's bigger and at a higher rent? If you are thinking of selling in a couple of years you need to have researched what % increase in value a loft conversion will add and look at whether you will recoup your costs.

As for the tenant, if you really want to go ahead with the work, tell the tenant your plans and give her the options as you see them. Your relationship with her is a business one and as long as you are reasonable and stick the terms of the tenancy and the law, then that's all you really need to be concerned about. If you were to make the house bigger, keep the current tenant and not raise the rent then you need to be sure that the loft conversion still makes financial sense in the longer term. The flip side is whether you can afford the mortgage without a tenant while the works are done.

I'm not sure I understand your Option 2 - if you are not charging rent while the work is being done, surely that is the compensation for putting up with the building works? If the tenant doesn't want to be there because of the works, she has the option of giving notice and providing there is a market for your property in the local area, you can get another tenant once the works are finished and, as RandomMess says, at a higher rent. If you provide extra compensation in addition to not charging rent it makes you seem rather desperate to keep someone who doesn't (from the info provided) sound like the 'perfect' tenant.

TheQueenOfDeDead Sat 15-Oct-11 14:26:10

random we have discussed doing it like that - definitely the way forward. They will effectively seal the loft space from the lower three floors and then everything except the staircase will go in through the roof.

I have been told it will take three weeks and I have used the builder before so have no reason to doubt this.

kungfu you are right in terms of the rent itself it makes no difference whether she is not paying or whether the property is empty, but there is quite a lot of "hassle" factor involved in getting a new tenant and obviously all the incidental costs - new agreement/inventory etc etc.

Thanks for your thoughts all.

RandomMess Sat 15-Oct-11 14:28:24

3 weeks sounds about right, it's just the painting, carpeting etc afterwards that will add time on IMHO especially in winter as plaster will take longer to dry.

FabbyChic Sat 15-Oct-11 14:34:09

Theoretically unless it creates another totally seperate room with seperate access it would not increase the HB banding.

I have a loft conversion here giving me three beds as opposed to two, however the stairs for the conversion are in the second bedroom thus it is classed as a two bed because the third bed does not have it's own access.

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