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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10458
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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Hello, Im hoping for a bit of guidance and/or advice, please. My

Customer Question

Hello,

I'm hoping for a bit of guidance and/or advice, please.
My wife and I live in a converted garage alongside another house. The owner of that house - our landlord - runs a few businesses from his freehold property, and didn't get planning permission for the garage conversion. We're here because the rent is low enough to be affordable. There's no contract and nothing official - it's cheap partly because it's all so informal and under the table.
However, it's a garage with structural problems and the landlord has started to talk about independent adjudication on the problems we've raised with him (we suspect that means one of his contractor friends coming in and telling us it's all our fault and nothing to do with a cheap building process).

But I don't think he'd be wise to involve outside bodies, considering the planning issue. Is it likely that he has legal duties as a landlord despite the lack of physical contract? We get a monthly invoice, which we pay - does that imply any kind of contract in itself?

Is there somewhere else that I might be able to look at for guidance, a particularly useful book or website, for example?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 4 years ago.

Hi there,

So that I can answer you fully, could you please confirm whether or not all your facilities (bathroom/toilet/kitchen) are within the premises/garage you rent or do you share any common facilities with your Landlord? eg communal kitchen.

I look forward to hearing form you.

Kind Regards

AL

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, and thanks.


The converted garage is basically self-sufficient in that we've got our own kitchen, bathroom (with shower and toilet). We don't share anything beyond having permission to use the land around the two buildings should we want to (eg. there's a beer garden and a basic gym), but we haven't actually used those and they aren't part of any payment.


The water and electric bills are covered by the bills for the main house (in the landlord's name) and the electric gets added onto our monthly invoice. We pay for LPG gas cylinders for the garage's small outside boiler.


[That might be more information than you really asked for, but I wanted to make sure I'd covered as much as possible!]

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 4 years ago.

Hi again,

Thanks for your perfect reply- I just wanted to check that you do indeed have a Tenancy rather than a Licence (which would be the case if there were shared facilities).

Verbal tenancy agreements do still create legal tenancy agreements which is good news for you. They aren't recommended as the tenant and landlord can find problems occur, for instance with rent payments and deposits/repairs!

Once a landlord has accepted rent from a tenant then a previous verbal
agreement now becomes a legal agreement, so this is the legal background for you.

You do have therefore what is known as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, and with this, comes various rights, including the right to live in the garage which is kept in good repair by the Landlord- so, if there are any major structural problems/leaks to the roof, the Landlord is under a duty to repair provided he has been given notice.

Your Landlord should have obtained Building Regulations approval for the conversion of the garage (as opposed to planning permission), which is basically consent from the Council that the works have been carried out, as they should be.

As a Tenant, you take the property "as you find it" so you have no comeback on your Landlord in this regard, and legally all he is required to do is to provide you with a Gas safety certificate every 12 months.

I hope this assists, but please feel free to ask further, if you require any clarification.

Kind Regards

AL

 

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 4 years ago.

I attach general info on Assured Shorthold tenancies for you-

https://www.gov.uk/.../assured-and-assured-shorthold-tenancies-a-gui...

Kind Regards

AL

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks very much, that's certainly helpful, and it's good to know we've some kind of legal standing. The link cuts off part way through, could you let me have the end of it as well, please?


 


To clarify: am I right in thinking that any problems existing before we moved in are ones we can't do anything about, taking it on the 'as is' basis?


 


Further to the planning permission/building regulations question, I'm not convinced he's had any sort of permission to adapt the garage (and has been flatly denied permission for other alterations he's wanted to make to one or both buildings). If someone (say, the local Council) found out, do you think it likely they'd be able to evict or take some kind of action against the garage or landlord?


 


Thanks.

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 4 years ago.

Hi there,

1. You are correct- if the problem was there when you moved in, it is tough luck I'm afraid, unless it is a structural problem/leaking roof etc.

2. I'm not sure how long ago the conversion took place, but the Council are unable to take any enforcement action under Building Regulations if such works were carried out over 12 months ago.

Link-https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assured-and-assured-shorthold-tenancies-a-guide-for-tenants

Hope this helps.

Kind Regards

AL

Aston Lawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, that's what I thought.


I've just checked and it's only a few months since the garage was converted (it's been a garage for years). What sort of options would be likely to be open to a local authority etc?


And thanks for the full link - plenty of useful reading!

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 4 years ago.

Hi,

The Council could request that if any work that has been carries out does not comply with Building Regulations, that the appropriate work be carried out, and only once they are happy with any remedial work will they issue a B Regs Completion Certificate.

Kind Regards

AL