This is in reference to your query about legal advice with respect to your property which is currently occupied by three tenants apart from you. This letter explains in detail about each tenant rights, terms and conditions which are legally referenced and relevant to your tenants, residing in ground floor, middle floor and top floor. A view on UK property law, rights and obligations of landlord is provided to you for your understanding and also about your convenient decision making in the matters of your property and also how to deal with your tenants in legal framework.
There is also a clear analysis about legal relationship that exists between you and your tenants. First of all, it is important to take a clear note on responsibility of landlord over the property. The said property of Georgian Town House has been taken for a lease period of 25 years and only a period of 9 years have been completed and there are still 16 more years for the expiry of lease period. Therefore, this gives out a fact that it is important to maintain the leased premises.
It is a also a fact that you travel on a holiday spending most of your time within and outside UK making it necessary that premises have to be absolutely in tact even in your absence for the convenience of tenants as well to keep the premises out of dilapidation. UK property law clearly states that landlord must undertake repairs to the property whenever required in the structure of the property. The connections of gas, hot water, electrical appliances, common areas and furnitures have to be strictly administered by the landlord.
This emphasizes that as a landlord, carrying out repairs wherever required is not only required by property law of UK whereas it is also an act of meeting the obligations and requirements of tenants. Three of your tenants stated that central stairwell which is commonly used by all of you is completely dilapidated and the tenants have been complaining demanding repairs, painting and to establish re-connections of lighting. Please understand that you as landlord have to meet and comply with the UK property laws and any violation to the laws would be seriously viewed inviting penalties.
Now, moving on from your rights and obligations as landlord, the next would be a detailed discussion about each tenant and legal relationship that exist between you as landlord and your tenants. Groundfloor – Taxi cab A written agreement of “licence to occupy” which came into effect on 1. 5. 2008 and as per the agreement taxi cab firm must pay ? 10,000. The taxi cab presently pays a sum of ? 2500 for every three months. The legal relationship between taxi cab and you is that of a tenant and a landlord.
Tax cab is responsile for paying the stated sum as rent regularly and tenant is also responsible for bills of gas, electricity, telephone as per the written agreement and further taxes must be regularly paid apart from water and sewerage charges. Taxi cab written agreement expires on 30. 4. 2011 as the agreement is for a period of three years. Therefore it is important to abide by the requests of repair or renovation as required by the taxi cab firm with the fact that lease agreement must be fully complied with meeting the all the requirements. Section 27 pf Tenant Act 1954 is not being discussed here for your reference.
Taxi cab also requested you to repair the central stairwell and if this request is not approved by you, there is a scope that taxi cab might waive paying rent, or bring such other damage to the premises which would prove more expensive for repairs to be made. Middle floor which is occupied by a jeweller, who is also your cousin has not entered into any written agreement with you and that does not legally bind neither you nor jewellery to comply with any UK property laws. Oral agreement is not a valid option in the matters of disputes and also consider any decision. However as for now, jeweller is paying a rent of ?
400 per month and is carrying on business during week days. It is also a fact that oral agreement also carries certain rights and obligations both for business tenants and for the landlord, although these cannot be enforced in the courts as written agreements are more valid while filing cases of non-compliance of property laws or tenant laws. The nature of legal relationship between you and jeweller is that of a business tenant and a landlord. Further this tenant must maintain a rent book for the monthly rent paid to you and you are required to put your signature in the rent book whenever you receive rent.
This tenant apart from being your cousin has every right and responsibility towards the central stairwell to carryout repairs whereas this must be done with a mutual consent from you. Further it is also a fact that this tenant is standing on the collective opinion of other two tenants that central stairwell must be repaired as it is creating problems for all the clients. Therefore, obliging to the request to repair the central stairwell is more advisable as it would invite more obligations both from business tenants and also from UK property law authorities if in case a complaint against you is launched for non-repair of central stairwell.
The top floor is occupied by a commercial artist who also does not carry any written agreement of business tenancy. The tenant also facilitates the floor when there are parties arranged by you which means the tenant is absolutely cordial and compatible with you in the capacity of landlord. This tenant is also paying a small amount towards bills. Further this tenant is also of the opinion that central stairwell must be repaired. All of the business tenants are using the premises all through the business days which means central stairwell is a common area for carrying on respective activities.
Another fact is only tax cab firm is a legal tenant with a legal relationship whereas other two business tenants viz. jeweller, commercial artist are not legal tenants due to the fact that there is no written agreement. The sum of rent paid by jewellery and commercial artist is very small whereas taxi cab firm is paying rent on lease. The opinion of all the three tenants is that since the central stairwell is used regularly, it is important to maintain the same in order to prevent any unforeseen occurrence of accidents or breakage.
This was the main reason that tenants have approached you to repair the central stairwell. Taxi cab firm along with other two tenants in each floor are performing well in carrying on businesses and therefore, there is no problem of business loss or lack of funds. Further tenants have been very cooperative in paying rents regularly and also in meeting the other expenses as and when required. Some of the rights that can be exercised by you in the capacity of a landlord are viz. , increase of rent, conditions on usage of premises or any other matter pertaining to either rent or premises.
Tenants complaints for repair of central stairwell would be valid only when there is a written notice to this effect under Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which states that notice that be given either verbally or in writing in order to provide sufficient time for landlord to carryout the required repairs. When landlord does not wish to carry out repairs, in such case, tenants have to show the proof of written notice to the court in order to receive a remedial claim. The landlord cannot ignore or overlook any legal responsibilities with regard to the repairs as stated in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
As per the law, landlord is responsible for maintaining the roof, gutter, drains, pipes, walls, windows doors or any structure of the property. Section 11 clearly states that landlord must take the responsibility to maintain the repairs of the structure and also to keep the installations such as baths, sinks, sanitary pipes. Taking this section as a guide, central stairwell is within the premises of the property which is used by tenants regularly for business purpose. Therefore, the responsibility of repair rests with the landlord.
Conclusively, keeping all of the above facts in view, there are two options at your end to maintain and repair the central stairwell. First is, to carryout necessary repairs to central stairwell and second is to assign the responsibility to one of the tenants whom you confide in to carryout necessary repairs to central stairwell and submit all the necessary bills of repairs to you. Further these expenses can be deducted from the monthly rent paid by all the three tenants. This would solve the problem and further all the tenants would be satisfied. Sincerely, Sd/- (B) Property law consultant
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