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Protected tenancy

Wonder if any of the legal brains on here can advise on this situation.

Last year I inherited a small cottage that has a protected tenant. It was passed on to him by his mother when she died so cannot be passed on further. 
He pays a tiny amount of rent (about £260 a month) which is determined by a rent officer each year. 
The property is in an awful state and I've just been made aware of a bowing front wall that will need a structural engineer to look at. Also needs new windows and various other improvements. This will cost thousands to fix and take years for the rent to even cover it. 

About 6 months ago there was a fire which the fire brigade's report states they believe was caused by a cigarette being thrown in the back garden. There were also some old gas canisters left on the property. 

Ideally I would like him out so the place could be knocked down and rebuilt rather than throw money at it when eventually, when he passes away, it will have to be knocked down anyway. 

I know protected tenants are heavily favoured by the courts but on the off chance anyone has experienced similar or is clued up on the issue, do I have any grounds to evict for these reasons...
1. Neglect because of the fire incident 
2. Neglect of the property in general 
3. Property needing complete refurbishment

Thanks 





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Comments

  • I don't know the answer i am afraid but suspect you need to look at the tenancy agreement to see what the tenants obligations to the property are and whether, in acting the way he has, he has breached these and could now forfeit his lease for those reasons.  I suspect courts would err towards the tenant so you would need a strong case.

    alternatively, if it will cost £5K for the works (for example) then maybe offer him £3k to leave instead?
  • It appears Landlord is responsible for repairs. If it can be proved tenant responsible alternative case could, perhaps, be made.
  • Should have said "responsible for damage", apologies.
  • You say it is a small cottage and poorly maintained adding, "Ideally I would like him out so the place could be knocked down and rebuilt ..."

    Is the building listed or part of a conservation area?

    If so, there may well be protection or building restrictions that apply.
    The local council will know. Best to check that out also.


  • edited September 5
    I don't know the answer i am afraid but suspect you need to look at the tenancy agreement to see what the tenants obligations to the property are and whether, in acting the way he has, he has breached these and could now forfeit his lease for those reasons.  I suspect courts would err towards the tenant so you would need a strong case.

    alternatively, if it will cost £5K for the works (for example) then maybe offer him £3k to leave instead?
    When I inherited it I asked the managing agents for the tenancy agreement and was told there isn't one. Was just sent the registered rent documents.

    Good idea about trying to pay him off, however I'm almost certain he wouldn't accept. When told he may have to temporarily move out while work is undertaken he said there's no way he's going anywhere. Also, with the amount rent he's paying, he knows he'll find nothing close to that elsewhere.
    Cheers. 
  • @Tramp ; thanks for the links 👍
  • Oggy Red said:
    You say it is a small cottage and poorly maintained adding, "Ideally I would like him out so the place could be knocked down and rebuilt ..."

    Is the building listed or part of a conservation area?

    If so, there may well be protection or building restrictions that apply.
    The local council will know. Best to check that out also.


    Good point, have just checked on the historic England website and it isn't listed. 
  • So, what you want is a plan for your tenant to either leave on his own accord or die so you can knock his home down and build something else for profit but it has to be legal?

  • You need some serious legal advice - specifically a lawyer who is up on the landlord and tenant acts.

    Sorry to say, but this could be quite messy, expensive and take time.
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  • So, what you want is a plan for your tenant to either leave on his own accord or die so you can knock his home down and build something else for profit but it has to be legal?

    Well he's not going to leave on his own accord and I don't expect, nor do I wish for, him to die anytime soon.
    I suppose I could suggest he move out while the place is being rebuilt and then he move into the new build. Though as he's taken such little care of this one I doubt that would improve with new. Also don't think he'd agree to this anyway. 
    I just thought with the fire incident and general neglect that I might have just cause, but expect I'll need to speak to a solicitor. 
  • Sounds like an absolute burden to be honest!!  I thought a little inheritance was supposed to make life easier. This sounds like a massive pain. 

  • edited September 5
    Talal said:
    Oggy Red said:
    You say it is a small cottage and poorly maintained adding, "Ideally I would like him out so the place could be knocked down and rebuilt ..."

    Is the building listed or part of a conservation area?

    If so, there may well be protection or building restrictions that apply.
    The local council will know. Best to check that out also.


    Good point, have just checked on the historic England website and it isn't listed. 

    I believe that applies to individual buildings that are listed for historical reasons and architectural interest.
    It might not be totally inclusive either. There may be other authorities/agencies with separate listings or interests.


    But conservation area listing is for buildings with group value and character within that conservation area.
    Any alteration or demolition could impact on that. Often trees and surroundings too. I'd still discuss with the local council, who may well be responsible for conservation area management, rather than rely on a website listing.

    I know, another hassle. Could save you a whole lot of bother down the line.

  • Oggy Red said:
    Talal said:
    Oggy Red said:
    You say it is a small cottage and poorly maintained adding, "Ideally I would like him out so the place could be knocked down and rebuilt ..."

    Is the building listed or part of a conservation area?

    If so, there may well be protection or building restrictions that apply.
    The local council will know. Best to check that out also.


    Good point, have just checked on the historic England website and it isn't listed. 

    I believe that applies to individual buildings that are listed for historical reasons and architectural interest.
    It might not be totally inclusive either. There may be other authorities/agencies with separate listings or interests.


    But conservation area listing is for buildings with group value and character within that conservation area.
    Any alteration or demolition could impact on that. Often trees and surroundings too. I'd still discuss with the local council, who may well be responsible for conservation area management, rather than rely on a website listing.

    I know, another hassle. Could save you a whole lot of bother down the line.

    Cheers, will do. 
  • edited September 5
    Just leave it. He obviously isnt bothered about the property so why should you be. Quid pro quo & all that.

    Joking obviously. You might just have to suck it up & think that one day you will be able to get your inheritance "back".....then sell it.

    How old is the tenant....??
  • Just leave it. He obviously isnt bothered about the property so why should you be. Quid pro quo & all that.

    Joking obviously. You might just have to suck it up & think that one day you will be able to get your inheritance "back".....then sell it.

    How old is the tenant....??
    Yes looking like I may have to. He's 65.
  • You could always sell it. Certain investors specialise in protected tenancy properties. 
  • I'll give you a grand.
  • Talal said:
    Just leave it. He obviously isnt bothered about the property so why should you be. Quid pro quo & all that.

    Joking obviously. You might just have to suck it up & think that one day you will be able to get your inheritance "back".....then sell it.

    How old is the tenant....??
    Yes looking like I may have to. He's 65.


    He might live another 25 years yet. After all he's not even now old enough to collect his state pension, as the goalposts were moved recently - by those who can afford to live very comfortably without it. 

    Oops! .... did I just get on my soapbox? :smile:

  • You could always sell it. Certain investors specialise in protected tenancy properties. 
    Yes that would be the stress free option but wouldn't get much. The plot could take a couple of semi detached houses in the future so I'm reluctant to get rid. 
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  • Oggy Red said:
    Talal said:
    Just leave it. He obviously isnt bothered about the property so why should you be. Quid pro quo & all that.

    Joking obviously. You might just have to suck it up & think that one day you will be able to get your inheritance "back".....then sell it.

    How old is the tenant....??
    Yes looking like I may have to. He's 65.


    He might live another 25 years yet. After all he's not even now old enough to collect his state pension, as the goalposts were moved recently - by those who can afford to live very comfortably without it. 

    Oops! .... did I just get on my soapbox? :smile:

    He has a heart condition, so an old 65. I certainly don't wish any ill on him but he's unlikely to live 25 years. 
  • You are a landlord now so you have responsibilities to your tenant. Speak to the rent officer and find out what he thinks needs doing, establish if the property is safe. If the property has a gas boiler that will need checking and a safety certificate obtained as a matter of great urgency.

    You will also have to fit fire and carbon alarms urgently. You are legally responsible. If something happens, you will be held culpable.

    If he won’t let you in to undertake this work you will need to protect yourself by making sure the local authorities know all about this and the efforts you have made - letters, tel calls, personal calls. 

    Then you can can think of what you want to do next.
  • Talal said:
    Oggy Red said:
    Talal said:
    Just leave it. He obviously isnt bothered about the property so why should you be. Quid pro quo & all that.

    Joking obviously. You might just have to suck it up & think that one day you will be able to get your inheritance "back".....then sell it.

    How old is the tenant....??
    Yes looking like I may have to. He's 65.


    He might live another 25 years yet. After all he's not even now old enough to collect his state pension, as the goalposts were moved recently - by those who can afford to live very comfortably without it. 

    Oops! .... did I just get on my soapbox? :smile:

    He has a heart condition, so an old 65. I certainly don't wish any ill on him but he's unlikely to live 25 years. 
    Set off some 'bangers' outside on a regular basis :-) 
  • Redrobo said:
    You are a landlord now so you have responsibilities to your tenant. Speak to the rent officer and find out what he thinks needs doing, establish if the property is safe. If the property has a gas boiler that will need checking and a safety certificate obtained as a matter of great urgency.

    You will also have to fit fire and carbon alarms urgently. You are legally responsible. If something happens, you will be held culpable.

    If he won’t let you in to undertake this work you will need to protect yourself by making sure the local authorities know all about this and the efforts you have made - letters, tel calls, personal calls. 

    Then you can can think of what you want to do next.
    I am not qualified to offer legal advice, but it seems to me this hits the nail on the head.  Whichever way you want to handle this, @Talal I think you should make sure you have covered off everything (and probably a lot more) on @Redrobo's list.  

    If you want the tenant to be forced out of his home, by demonstrating he's not been a model tenant, I would think you have to show you've been a model landlord.  And that probably requires you proving you have done everything that's required of you by law, and maybe more.  

    @HardyAddick has also made a good point about investors who could buy the property from you.  You seem to have already decided not to go down that path, but it might be a good idea to see what kind of offer you could get for it.  Then if the cost of ownership and repairs and the commitments you would have to make (for, perhaps many years) don't stack up, you have an upside to compare them to. 
  • edited September 5
    Having been on the other side of this somewhat secondhand, I strongly agree with most of @Redrobo's advice on this, although I think Fair Rents are set by the Valuation Office these days, and they don't really have anything to do with housing enforcement. You can request to increase the rent, but you will need to justify it to the Valuation Office, and this is more likely to be successful if you have done improvement work, but not guaranteed, particularly as the tenant can challenge it.
    You really need specialist legal advice on this, as you have a whole host of obligations as a landlord, and risk becoming subject to a bunch of enforcement notices if you (or the tenant) get the council involved. I don't know where your property is, but here's a link to one council's listing of the kind of enforcement notices they may submit to landlords. The link at the bottom to the .gov site looks like it might be useful to you too. You also need to be aware that from March 2020 the new legislation about rented homes being fit for habitation comes into effect for existing tenancies, so you could in theory end up being liable to pay your tenant compensation as well.
    In the case of my grandparents house, the council condemned it as being unsafe - I'm not sure that was because of the electrics (they still had 5A sockets in several rooms), the gas water heaters in the kitchen and bathroom, the outside loo or the fact that the kitchen was coming away from the back of the house at the rate of several mm a year. As they were both in their mid to late 80s by this point, we managed to persuade them that it would be in their best interest to move into sheltered accommodation, and someone managed to persuade their landlord that it would be cheaper to pay their moving expenses than fund alternative accommodation for the many weeks it would take to do the relevant remedial work. However, even if that might be a convenient resolution for you, it sounds like your tenant is of an entirely different mind, so you need to work out whether it's worth the hassle and expense of doing the renovation work in the hope that at some point you'll be able to realise the value of building on the land. Personally, I don't have that kind of money to throw around (and I wonder how mortgageable it'd be in its current condition) and I don't need that kind of aggravation in my life, so I'd be looking to sell up and just enjoy whatever kind of windfall I got from it.
  • Some very helpful advice here, thanks all. 
  • You've very little chance of getting him out, it sounds like it's going to be a money drain i'm afraid, only a cash buyer will buy it and by the sounds of the condition I think you are likely to get sub 50% of market value.

    You need to decide whether you are in effect prepared to invest in it over potentially the next 25 years on a net basis, if not just sell it now.
  • What is a protected tenancy? Seems a little unfair that he is paying such a low rent that you cant change to market value and nor can you decide not to rent your property out anymore?
  • One has to hope there isn't another fire while the tenant is out.
  • Out of interest @Talal who lived in the property prior to the current tenant's mother?

    A Court must evict a protected tenant if you or your family lived on the property previously and want to return to the property to stay there again.

    You could also become a vicar - as again if you wanted to live on the property the Court must evict the secure tenant.
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