building work on a rented house

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by horn-girlie, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    Don't know whether anyone will be able to help, but thought it was worth a shot ...

    I'm currently renting a house with some friends, and we have just been told from our landlord that he wants to start building work on the house starting Saturday if possible. He is hoping to turn our bathroom into an extra bedroom and turn our utility room into a small shower room.

    This building work was not mentioned when we signed the contract about a month ago, and so is he within his rights to do this? and if he is, can he force us to live with an extra housemate even though the contracts were signed by just the three of us.

    I've got a feeling that he probably can do what he likes as its his house ... but as tennants we decided to live here for a variety of reasons (including the big bathroom :D) and had we known in advance about all this the chances are we would not have signed the contracts.

    I've tried phoning the Citizens Advice Bearau with little success as it just seems to be an automated voice, and I can't visit them as I work 9-5 at the moment. Any ideas of anyone else to contact?!
  2. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    Go see a solicitor. Chances are if you are poor student you may be eligible for Legal Aid and so it wont cost you anything. You could always ask for a 30 minute free interview to see whether it is something a solicitor can help you with.

    See the above link and fill in the gaps to see who can help you locally.

    Much will depend upon what is contained in your tenancy agreements and whether you and your housemates have jointly rented the whole or whether you have each rented an individual room and share common parts.

  3. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    without seeing your contract I can't be certain but if all three of you signed the contract then he cannot force another tenant on you under that contract. He would have to renegotiate with you to accept the revision or if he doesn't and if you are unhappy you would be within your rights to cancel.

    With regard to access to do the work, check your contract again but the one i have with my tenants allows access with a minimum of 24 hours notice to carry out repairs and "other works"!

    Hope this helps.
  4. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    As Ipswich trom has said: it may well depend if you are "joint tenants" on the whole house, or if you rent individual rooms....

    If the former, then YOUR GROUP have rented the house and the landlord cannot impose anyone else on you.

    It also depends on how your agreement is worded as to whether "substantial building work" can be carried out while you are in residence - or if the landlord has to wait until the end of your tenancy.

    Citizen's Advice ought to be able to organise a short appointment with a solicitor to get your contract reviewed.

    How many of you are there in the house? If "more than 2 family units" are represented, and the property isn't a "house of multiple occupation" then the landlord could be in trouble with the local council if you were to talk to them...

    Though you're not a landlord, you might find National Federation of Residential Landlords and the rest of the site contains material of interest on how a responsible and legal landlord ought to be operating...

    Good luck

  5. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    It should all be in your tenancy contract. If it is covered that he can do work whilst you are the tenants then quite simply he can, if it's not covered in the contract, then he can't. The way this will impact or affect you is that he can give you whatever notice is in the agreement/contract to get out and vacate, or if he continues with the work you can state he is in non-compliance of the contract agreement and claim some form of compensation, get out of the property without losing any money etc. as it is he who has broken the terms of the contract.
  6. tinytimp

    tinytimp Member

    I had something similar happen when I was at uni and renting with friends. It never occurred to us that such a thing would be seen as breach of contract - in fact I don't think it mentioned anythong about building/maintenance work. We assumed the same as you - it's his house so he can do what he wants.

    We went through a difficult fortnight while a new kitchen was being put in. In the end though it was so much nicer and bigger than the old one and as we stayed in the same house for a second year the landlord didn't raise our rent like all his other properties due to the inconvenience, so it worked out quite well! Maybe it's worth asking for some kind of rebate or reduction on your rent during the period the work is being carried out.
  7. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    Thanks guys ... as it happens we are completely within our rights to refuse building work. After making millions of phone calls it emerged that we are legally entitled to live in a 'quiet, uninterupted environment' and no work can be done without our consent. The landlord came round to discuss it all this morning, and agreed that our consent is needed. So no building work, yay!
  8. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    There you go... communication and reasonableness doesn exist in this world of ours see :)

    Nice result.

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