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I own my house with residential mortgage from last 2 years where I reside with my wife and one child 9 years old boy. It’s a mid terraced 3-bedroom house originally, but the previous owner of this house had made a hardboard separation between ground floor and 1st floor and he put another small kitchen and a small shower/toilet upstairs making it looks like 2 flats. I was using the both flats/portions myself but recently I faced serious financial crises so I decided to rent one portion since my family is too small consisting on 3 people only.
I rented downstairs flat/portion in June18 to one African man with his wife and kids with a tenancy agreement for 12months with 6 months breaking clause. The tenant seemed to be a very nice gentleman so I was very satisfied. I am a new homeowner and didn't know any rules and regulations about renting. I had been a tenant myself all my life before I bought the property and only thing I know was a tenancy agreement. I simply got an official tenancy agreement signed and gave the possession of ground floor to him without any other paperwork or inventory or anything because of my unawareness. We both have the same main entrance but then 2 sub doors to go either on 1st floor or ground floor.
The tenant was so nice at first and since he was a new asylum seeker immigrant into the country so I helped him in many tasks like GP registration, kids school admission, opening the bank accounts and many other tasks. I even spent hours in hospital with him at night when her baby daughter got an incident as she inhaled orange seed in her nose.
He never complained about anything and I didn't object to him anything either even though I could see his kids had ruined the walls and sofas with their pen painting the cleaning condition in house seems pretty bad as well. I never saw his bedrooms but sitting room was visible from his entrance and I could see inside whenever his door was open and I walked passed to enter my entrance to go upstairs. I did not object thinking that is how African people may live, though I had indirectly asked him many times to live hygienically for the better development of his kids.
Things were going ok until 3 weeks ago I saw a woman officially dressed, with workbag in her hand going into my tenant portion. It has nothing to do with me but since the tenant is new to the country and knew no one so an official person coming to home made me surprised. Since both portions are just a house conversion and noises can be heard from each other’s pretty clear. I didn't try to hear anything intentionally but could hear the lady conducting some sort of interview and getting some details of property and few sentences I heard about someone being so ill. I didn't understand a single bit completely but one thing was clear that she was from some official department. Since the tenant always discussed every matter of his UK life with me and I was the person to assist him in all needs, so I straight away went down, soon after the woman left, and asked the tenant "if everything is ok, who was this lady'. But to my surprise the tenant replied me "oh nothing she is just a friend". I became very surprised but kept quiet since it was none of my business.
Since the day lady visited the tenant starting avoiding me. He never spent a single minute with me if he ever saw me walking by or if we came across at the main door.
Just 2 days ago, I received a register post. Once opened it was a letter from my tenant in-which he has mentioned, ''the downstairs condition is so bad and because of that my wife and children are coughing blood. There is constant smell in the bedrooms, which is adversely affecting my family health, and there are worms in the kitchen sink. Even upon continues requests to you, you did not take any action for these concerns. If you do not take any action within next 7 days, I will take the further actions for the wellbeing of his family'.
That was one of the most shocking moments of my life that how come he is accusing me for the things which were not in my awareness, neither has he ever mentioned to me about them. I was like a best buddy to him and always looked after him. I had given the house to him in mint clean condition and my wife had maintained it like heaven when we were living at that portion. Even if he had any problem, he could have asked me directly and his work would have done straight away. I did not understand a bit of it or his purpose behind him but I was positive that something is not right.
I waited all day for his returning back from work. I knocked at his door of his portion at 9:30 pm since he comes home that time. I turned the iPhone video on and put the phone in my front pocket facing the camera in front. He opened the door and I nicely said. ‘‘Hello, how are you etc. and then I requested if we can sit for 5 minutes somewhere either at my portion or his. But he said. ‘‘If it is about the letter I sent you then simply reply me back by post”, and he hang the door on me while I was speaking. The worst trust beak of my life!
I couldn't sleep all night. Next day I saw him coming towards the home and I was already at door. I again turned the phone video on and while is was walking towards his apartment I asked him to, “give me access to your portion so I can see the required woke and get it done”. But again he kept quiet and went inside house without replying anything to me.
I text him again that whatever concern he has, let me inspect and sort that out for you but no there is no response. I went to the estate agent who had helped me finding this tenant and wrote the tenancy agreement between us. The agent tried calling and left him voice mail, and then sent him an email requesting him that he would like to visit the property after 48 hours and arrange professionals to carry the work he needs, but no response from him.
Now I have written the tenant an email in which I have asked him to let me carry the work he needs. I affixed that letter on his door, I inserted a copy from door gap to his portion and I made video evidence that I have served the notice to conduct the repair. I also sent him an email along with posting him the same letter by registered post. He did not replied to anything as yet. (Postal letter hasn’t reached yet though and I am sure he wouldn’t receive it)
Now I see him going to somewhere with his kids and I am sure they go to hospital to build up some record that their kids are in danger and suffering with health issues. Since he is not speaking or replying anything to me hence I am unable to carry any work he needs. I am sure the next thing he would do is to go to the council and tell them that the landlord did not carry any work even at his written request and put me in trouble and then insist council to give him a residence to live. I am very much depressed about his motives and putting me in trouble. I want to get rid of him but do not know how do I do that.
What options do I have please? Am I a resident landlord since I am also living in the same property I have rented with a basic separation between our portions? I have not registered with tenant deposit scheme since a residential landlord is not required to do so.
Please help me where I am standing and what possible actions may be taken against me with the evil planning he is doing and how can I regain my house possession from him, legally, without any legal burden upon me. It has already been 6 months since the tenancy started and tenancy agreement is breakable after 6 months completion.
Thank you very much for reading that long, I would really appreciate kind suggestions in this regard.
If property has Gas do you have Gas Safety Cert?
What is EPC rating for property as since April it needs to be at least E rating to be legally let. Check free EPC Register by postcode if unsure.
Also did you do RTR (Right to Rent check of documents for all the tenants) - check the regs online.
Thanks for your kind reply. The property ECP report is D. The tenant had been checked against their legal status in the UK. The property has Gas certificate issued to tenant on start of their tenancy 6 months ago.
Is tenant still paying rent in full and on time?
Yes so far the rent is paid on time. But it’s alreay been 6 months and tenancy agreement has 6 months breaking clause.
OK so subject to discussion with RLA you may be able to issue S.21 notice.
Depends to some extent on how robustly the property has been split - as to whether tenants are deemed lodgers or otherwise - hence the differing opinions you mention.
Far easier/quicker to get rid of lodgers.
I assume you pay the Council Tax for whole property - but it should have 2 separate sets of Council Tax charges levied - one for each flat.
That's true but I considered myself a residential landlord since I am living in the same property where tenants are living. Its just I have separate facilities for both upstairs and downstairs But this conversation was done 10 years ago by previous landlord and property had separate council tax bills for both apartments before I bought the property in 2016. I was about to apply for "certificate for lawful usage" on existing usage for 4 years bases. But since this problem has arised I am stuck with this and unable to deal with any other issues now
There are so many potential problems here it's difficult to know where to start.
The OP needs to join the National Landlords Association or Residential Landlords Association as soon as possible and work through the list of problems that have built up and hope to come up with a solution.
I hope they can get some resolve to this but it will not be easy.
Thank you very much Adam. I have found landlord association website and I will register there today to call them tomorrow.
I have done everything a resident landlord should do like tenant right to let check and Gas certificate. The property ECP is also D rating so it’s safe to let.
I have no idea what action shall I take before he takes action against me for his false accusations for me not giving the property in good condition and I am not doing the required repair. The reality is I had given the property to him in safe and clean condition which he must have ruined for his own advantages to put a claim on me and also not letting me carry any work he mentioned in his letter.
I am jut worried if I come under residential landlord category or not because so many people are telling the different information.