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Is it ok to say this to my tenant?

(25 Posts)
paulapantsdown Tue 18-Oct-16 20:01:19

So, my elderly relative rents out his flat to help pay towards his nursing home costs (a months rent does not even cover one weeks charges, so no profit being made here or anything). I have POA and take care of this for him, repairs etc. Its a really nice, large 2 bed flat, and the same tenants have been there since day 1.

We have always got on great, they have never been any bother. I have always repaired or replaced anything needed within a day or two. Since they moved in, I have had new windows installed, replaced the bathroom floor and recently had a new kitchen fitted so they had more cupboard space. So, trying to be a good landlord and leave them to it really. I appreciate that they don't cause me any bother at all really.

But ... they had one child when they moved in, and now have three little ones, so I am worried they are overcrowded.

My husband (who is a builder) fitted the kitchen recently, and its now come to our attention (as we had to move lots of stuff around to do this, electrics etc), that they have the most ridiculous amount of possessions! I am talking about the huge airing cupboard in the bathroom full to bursting with nothing but shoes, huge wardrobes along two walls in the bedroom with bags stuffed along the top up to the ceiling. We couldn't get into the electric/gas meter cupboard until re removed about 20 bags of toys and clothes.

There is mould around the place as she dries clothes on about 4 airers and does not seem to want to open any windows. We have talked about this and I got her a humidifier on condition that she please get some ventilation in the place. There is a huge covered balcony that she refuses to use to dry things or store stuff (like the 6 kids bikes in the hallway) as she says she is afraid the children will fall off the edge!

I am really concerned about mainly the potential the fire hazard of soooo much stuff, and secondly the mould and damp problem. The heating is always on full blast and its so stuffy, it can't be healthy for the kids. DH was up in the loft today as she sprayed mould remover in the boiler cupboard all over the wires and blew all the electrics. He says it is full to bursting up there.

I swear they have much more stuff in that flat than I have in my 4 bed house!

Would I be out of order to address this with her? Is it my business? I can't insist she removes stuff can I? Not sure how to approach this. Its not my flat, no one is making any money really (not me for sure!) and I really don't need the hassle of all this. Any experienced landlords can give me any advice?

specialsubject Tue 18-Oct-16 20:28:26

Stuff is their problem, adding more kids is their problem. They would not have expected the place to get bigger.

But damage to your property is your problem. You have tried to address the obvious and been ignored.

If you dont want this to go on, you know what you have to do.

user1471549018 Tue 18-Oct-16 20:31:36

I find tenants don't seem to open windows much. Are there extractor fans? Could you provide a tumble dryer? No you can't say anything about her stuff or kids, but you can issue notice if you want

Ilovehedgehogs Tue 18-Oct-16 20:33:47

The mould is the only thing that you should comment on to them, children and possessions are their own business.

itlypocerka Tue 18-Oct-16 20:36:56

Is the fuse board in the meter cupboard too? Keeping stuff in there can be a fire hazard - not sure how serious but my electrician saw my meter cupboard/fuse board with loads of stuff packed around it and gave me a right telling off.

JoJoSM2 Tue 18-Oct-16 23:25:13

I wouldn't want that many people in a 2-bed flat - Is feel like a slum lord. The wear and tear must be terrible not to mention the damp... I'd look for new tenants.

paulapantsdown Wed 19-Oct-16 08:01:01

Thanks for advice everyone. It's the fire hazard of all the stuff and people that worries me most. I think they are overcrowded now.

I think it's time to ask them to move on and just bloody sell it!

user1471549018 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:49:11

Do remember that if you decide to evict them and they need to be rehomed by the council (seems likely if they possibly can't afford bigger than a 2 bed flat with 3 kids) they will be told not to leave until you get bailiffs or will be classed as voluntarily homeless. An awful situation all round, which I believe the government is looking to change. Very stressful for them and could potentially cost you/your relative thousands.

specialsubject Wed 19-Oct-16 09:12:04

It is about £2k to do it with legal help and takes around six months, longer in some areas. They need to keep paying the rent if they want a chance of council accommodation. They will be liable for the costs although in practice you will never see it.

Make sure you are 100% on all paperwork and legals, and that you have evidence that you gave them the documents that you should have done. Otherwise your eviction attempts will fail.

paulapantsdown Wed 19-Oct-16 11:36:33

I think it's best if we just sell the place now - relative is very very old and in bad health, so his 'estate' is going to need sorting in the near future by the looks of (not wishing for his demise!).

A friend had this almost same situation and had to spend loads on appointing a bailiff so that the long standing tenant could get rehomed after eviction. He gave them 6 months notice and they totally understood as its was a property owned by his deseased mum and had to be sold. The council would not help the tenant until she is literally out on the street even thought they knew 6 months before that she would need housing! It's so ridiculous and uneccessary.

I don't want my tenant to have to go through this, but there is no way I could even put it up for sale with them living there as no one could fit in to view!

specialsubject Wed 19-Oct-16 11:43:23

You also can't sell with them there unless to another landlord. (even if they allow viewings, which they do not have to do) You need to give notice at the end of the fixed term, or now if it is on a rolling contract. It would be courteous to warn the tenant first and explain the situation.

Correct - the council will not help until the bailiffs arrive. With so little council housing, they would much prefer that you house the tenant.

RaspberryBeret34 Wed 19-Oct-16 11:50:06

I do think the best thing would be to evict them, hard as it may be, due to the mould issues.

It isn't always the case that the council require the tenants to stay as long as possible. I have a house that I needed to move back into and luckily the tenants got a council bungalow within about 2/3 months. Obviously it depends on the area though.

Sunnyshores Wed 19-Oct-16 14:38:48

You have to be hard nosed about it unfortunately, this isnt a normal landlord/tenant situation where communication, hand holding and time could resolve the situation for all concerned.

Your elderly relative needs the property sold in the near future and to get the best price, and quickly, the property will need to be empty and to have some work done (the damp will only get worse). So, Im afraid you do need to serve notice on the tenants.

As they have been there some time and been no trouble, Id explain the situation in person first. Join NLA - £100 for one year - to make sure you have all the paperwork done properly. Or use someone like Landlord Action. Its not difficult to do it yourself, but if you make mistakes it just adds time to the process.

user1476140278 Wed 19-Oct-16 14:41:45

The only thing you can mention is ventilation and storing things where the metre goes. The airing cupboards and wardrobes are there for them to use as they see fit.

Bags up to the top of the cupboards isn't a fire hazard anyway.

user1474907171 Wed 19-Oct-16 23:38:34

Do they have to be evicted, is it possible to not renew their tenancy when it runs out?

ClaudiaJean2016 Wed 19-Oct-16 23:48:55

You can't say anything about the amount of possessions.

Maybe suggest getting a tumble dryer to help with the ventilation. Having windows open isn't very nice in my opinion as flies and bugs come in so if tenant also doesn't like opening windows a dryer would be a better solution.

user1476140278 Wed 19-Oct-16 23:59:05

It doesn't sound like there's space for a tumble dryer plus they actually create moisture in the air....well mine does.

Are there extraction fans OP?

Otherwise I agree. I'm a tenant and if my Landlord mentioned the amount of things in MY cupboards, I'd be very hmm as it's none of his business!

scaryteacher Thu 20-Oct-16 08:06:11

I would have stern words about the mould and damp. It cost me shedloads to sort it out after one set of tenants, as they hadn't heated or ventilated the place. If they won't open any windows, ensure the meter is clear, or use the covered balcony to dry the washing (they could put airers or even a dryer out there surely, or those retractable washing lines), then tell them you will be serving notice on them.

specialsubject Thu 20-Oct-16 09:21:42

Not opening windows due to insects? Unless it is a farm next to a manure heap or in the australian fly zone, not an issue. Uk houses only need airing for 30 mins a day. The stink in there must be awful.

That is their choice , as is loads of clutter and too many kids for the space. None of those are for the landlord to mention.

But unventilated properties get wrecked with mould from cooking, breathing, laundry and bathing. That IS for the landlord to mention. No way to treat a place.

venys Thu 20-Oct-16 14:43:08

I think your decision to sell is best. We had a 2 bedroom rental and found we had to limit number of tenants to 3 people because of mould. We also had to install a heat exchange unit eventually as nothing we did worked. Hopefully tenants can move on privately. Getting them housed in council housing sounds like a nightmare.

paulapantsdown Thu 20-Oct-16 16:38:05

I totally get that the amount of stuff they possess is none is my business! It's just that's every room is jam packed, the place is never ventilated and is getting mouldy. As a human being, not a landlord, I worry about them all getting out in a fire!

Going to check the lease and serve them notice I think, but I feel awful. I'm not cut out for the being a landlord! smile

specialsubject Thu 20-Oct-16 17:32:11

They are adults and must be assumed able to understand the risks of blocking fire exits.

At this point you need to get fully informed on paperwork and procedure. There are changes if the tenancy started after October last year.

user1476140278 Thu 20-Oct-16 21:29:35

Well it doesn't sound like an ideal property for them anyway. If they get notice they may get help to be rehoused from the council.

19lottie82 Thu 20-Oct-16 23:08:15

As already advised, if you want them to me be prepared to have to get the bailiffs in to evict after a court date, if they attempt to be homed by the council.

If you do ask them to leave make sure you do it properly, one mistake in the paperwork and a judge will deem in unenforceable and you will be back to square one.

19lottie82 Thu 20-Oct-16 23:08:40

PS did you take a deposit? And if so, is it protected?

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