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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    5 tenants staying until after 1st Oct

    I have a property which is rented to 5 different people in 5 different bedrooms. If I applied for a license I wouldn't be granted one, as one of the bedrooms is a box room, and there is no lounge. So I can't get a HMO licence for 1st Oct. 

    The trouble is all of the tenants ASTs expire after 1st Oct. 

    So I can't get a license, can't illegally evict my tenants, and even if they were on rolling contracts from what I have read I wouldn't even be able to send them an S21 anyway!

    What can I do?  I don't want to break the law by not getting a license, I also don't want to break the law by illegally evicting my tenants!

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    Hi,

    One option is to apply for a temporary exemption from licensing while you take steps to evict one or more of the occupants.

    I find a lot of my clients are unaware of this option which can help to resolve situations like this, depending on the precise circumstances and when the tenancy is due to end.

    Regards

    Richard

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.

    Well you can get a licence. The room size limit includes a power for the local authority to grant you time to comply for up to 18 months so they can easily give you a licence with a time by which you need to resolve the issues. Alternatively you can seek a TEN but the limit on one of these is just three months and a second one is by no means guaranteed so the tenancies will need to be ending very soon after October.

    In short this is not a justification not to apply. You must apply and then seek appropriate conditions to resolve the issue.

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    Hi David, are you sure? It seems odd that I will be applying for a license knowing full well that the property will not meet the requirements.

    It seems unlikely that they will grant me a license informing me that within 18 months I need to magically make one of the bedrooms bigger and build a lounge!

    I don't want to apply, they reject the application and hay ho I am breaking the law and they know about it.

    The other option of course, is not to tell anyone and wait until March when one of the tenants moves out. 

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    See if you can offer any one of the tenants a financial incentive to leave before 1st Oct - and if so get that agreement with them in writing.

    At which point you're down to 4 tenants and don't need a licence, so you could offer them a fair chunk of what a license will cost you and still not be out of pocket.

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    Think outside the box.

    Have the 5th tenant in the small room give you a surrender deed.

    Take the name off everything.

    Give permission for the remaining 4 tenants to have a 'guest' stay.

    The guest might choose to give some form of consideration in cash to the remaining 4 tenants; that would be his choice.

    The LL would have no problem with a guest staying who could well be the former tenant.

    There is no way that the LL could know how many days per year the 'guest' stays at the property.

    There are ways and ways!!




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    Just be mindful that Councils will check credit files of properties with 5 bedrooms.

    So any 'guest' CANNOT have bank details as the property address.

    No 'guest' would have any details registered at a property they are an 'occasional' 'guest' at.

    There should be no association whatsoever with the property address and the 'guest'

    Currently the BB Connect computer doesn't tie up medical and dental records but it will eventually happen.

    So you have to box clever.

    It may mean the 'guest' has all correspondence sent to a parental home and then once a week the parents post mail to the 'guest'.

    It would be useful if the 'guest' obtains all 3 credit reports.

    Then you can see which entries need to be changed to remove the property address from the files.

    This is all a pain but if the 'guest' wishes to regularly visit and stay overnight then there will be a bit of inconvenience

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    When is the box room tenants AST ending?

    Considering there has not been 1 years official notice of when this was going to be implemented you have a strong case for contacting the council and saying the person is moving out in say November and they can come round then to make sure it's only 4 people?

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    I would ring up the council anonymously and get their take on this scenario to get an initial idea. I have found that councils would not want you to evict a tenant. They may just say to apply for the licence and once the tenant moves out, not to re-let the room. I heard of a landlord in Croydon who had this recommended to them after a council inspection.

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