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07-10-2018, 00:08   #1
pasquale83
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Tenants made multiple changes to the property

Hi all,

I have tenants since a 4 months or so. They have been paying rent so far but they have made multiple changes to the property I didn't ask for and they didn't ask me permission for.

They have:
- landscapes the garden
- added a tap in the garden making a hole through the wall
- added a wooden stove in the sitting room
- changed the main door keys
- painted the walls
- changed the washing machine, fridge and electric oven

The guy is a builder, handy man, painter. They didn't ask for money yet. I've always made clear I'd like to be notified if they were going to make changes but they never did.

I'm getting a bit worried as it would be difficult to get the property back in the future. I've asked them to post me the new key. Honestly the house is in a shape better than before, but I'm also thinking they might request ownership because of all those changes.

I've an indefinite contract with them, registered to the RTB.

Not sure what to do. I don't I think it will be easy to evict them now.

Any advice ?

Thank you
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07-10-2018, 00:14   #2
Jack Moore
 
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Originally Posted by pasquale83 View Post
Hi all,

I have tenants since a 4 months or so. They have been paying rent so far but they have made multiple changes to the property I didn't ask for and they didn't ask me permission for.

They have:
- landscapes the garden
- added a tap in the garden making a hole through the wall
- added a wooden stove in the sitting room
- changed the main door keys
- painted the walls
- changed the washing machine, fridge and electric oven

The guy is a builder, handy man, painter. They didn't ask for money yet. I've always made clear I'd like to be notified if they were going to make changes but they never did.

I'm getting a bit worried as it would be difficult to get the property back in the future. I've asked them to post me the new key. Honestly the house is in a shape better than before, but I'm also thinking they might request ownership because of all those changes.

I've an indefinite contract with them, registered to the RTB.

Not sure what to do. I don't I think it will be easy to evict them now.

Any advice ?

Thank you
All fixtures installed immediately become the property of the landlord
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07-10-2018, 00:18   #3
pasquale83
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All fixtures installed immediately become the property of the landlord
Thanks for the reply. Am I entitled to get a copy of the house key at least?

I really don't understand their game. Why are they doing all of that?
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07-10-2018, 00:23   #4
Garibaldi?
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They should have asked permission.
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07-10-2018, 00:24   #5
pasquale83
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They should have asked permission.
Ya I know but they didn't. What can I do now?
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07-10-2018, 00:27   #6
jam_mac_jam
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Have you tried talking to them about it? They should have asked but if they are improving the place maybe they don't realise it's such a big problem. It's a bit of a jump suggestin that you won't get the property back.
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07-10-2018, 00:28   #7
Garibaldi?
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Check the rental agreement. The section where you listed all of the items on the property. You have the right to have those items re-instated.
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07-10-2018, 00:32   #8
pasquale83
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Have you tried talking to them about it? They should have asked but if they are improving the place maybe they don't realise it's such a big problem.
I did. I've asked in the past and also went home today and they showed me around and they are keeping it well but why don't they just tell me? Really don't understand if they don't realize it (they said they're happy I like it, they were worried I won't) or if they just don't care.

They said they are going to put it back the way it was if they have to leave the house, but they are not making changes easy to revert back to the original situation.
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07-10-2018, 00:35   #9
dennyk
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A tenant painting the walls is generally considered acceptable and permission to do so can't generally be denied without a good reason (e.g. you have special walls that would be damaged by painting or something). Landscaping also really shouldn't be an issue, unless they've torn out actual existing landscaping work and replaced it with their own; tenants will naturally want to arrange their gardens as they see fit, especially if they aren't done up at all in the first place. Changing the white goods could be getting iffy, but if they've safely stored the original units to be put back when they leave and they didn't cause any damage in the process then there's really no cause to object. (If they did cause damage or they've disposed of your original items, that's not really acceptable, though...)

Adding an outdoor tap (knocking a hole in the wall in the process) and adding a stove (if they also put in a chimney/flue or made other structural changes to accommodate it) without permission is going a bit beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour, and changing the locks without permission is definitely unacceptable (what if you had to access the property due to an emergency situation?).

All that said, none of that could possibly give them any sort of claim of "ownership" of your property. Hell, even if they knocked down the walls and did a complete down-to-the-studs renovation, that wouldn't mean they own the place. Whether they'll be problem tenants who will overhold at the end of their tenancy is another matter, though; certainly putting in a lot of work around the place could make some people feel they've a right to stay longer and could make them ornery if the landlord decides to end the tenancy, and by doing these things without consulting you and getting permission, they've definitely demonstrated that they don't have much respect for proper boundaries in the tenant-landlord relationship, so that is certainly cause for concern.

As they've only been in there four months, they do not yet have Part 4 tenancy rights. Are they on a fixed term lease? If not, you can give them notice at any time before they've been there for six months for no reason at all; just be sure to do this quickly before they do hit that six-month mark. If they are under a fixed term lease, is there a clause in there that states the tenant cannot make changes to the property without the landlord's approval? Any proper lease should have a term to that effect. If so, then they have likely violated the terms of the lease and that should give you cause to terminate it. If there is no such clause, I'm afraid you might be a bit stuck, though; you can't end a fixed term lease early unless the tenant has violated it, and after six months they will acquire security of tenure for six years and cannot be removed even after the fixed term lease expires, except for an allowable reason (you require the property for yourself or an immediate family member, or you are selling it or performing extensive renovations that require vacant possession).
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07-10-2018, 00:40   #10
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Sounds like they have upgraded the house off their own bat. You should consider a months free rent or a discount at least. Fair is fair.
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07-10-2018, 00:46   #11
pasquale83
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Originally Posted by dennyk View Post
A tenant painting the walls is generally considered acceptable and permission to do so can't generally be denied without a good reason (e.g. you have special walls that would be damaged by painting or something). Landscaping also really shouldn't be an issue, unless they've torn out actual existing landscaping work and replaced it with their own; tenants will naturally want to arrange their gardens as they see fit, especially if they aren't done up at all in the first place. Changing the white goods could be getting iffy, but if they've safely stored the original units to be put back when they leave and they didn't cause any damage in the process then there's really no cause to object. (If they did cause damage or they've disposed of your original items, that's not really acceptable, though...)

Adding an outdoor tap (knocking a hole in the wall in the process) and adding a stove (if they also put in a chimney/flue or made other structural changes to accommodate it) without permission is going a bit beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour, and changing the locks without permission is definitely unacceptable (what if you had to access the property due to an emergency situation?).

All that said, none of that could possibly give them any sort of claim of "ownership" of your property. Hell, even if they knocked down the walls and did a complete down-to-the-studs renovation, that wouldn't mean they own the place. Whether they'll be problem tenants who will overhold at the end of their tenancy is another matter, though; certainly putting in a lot of work around the place could make some people feel they've a right to stay longer and could make them ornery if the landlord decides to end the tenancy, and by doing these things without consulting you and getting permission, they've definitely demonstrated that they don't have much respect for proper boundaries in the tenant-landlord relationship, so that is certainly cause for concern.

As they've only been in there four months, they do not yet have Part 4 tenancy rights. Are they on a fixed term lease? If not, you can give them notice at any time before they've been there for six months for no reason at all; just be sure to do this quickly before they do hit that six-month mark. If they are under a fixed term lease, is there a clause in there that states the tenant cannot make changes to the property without the landlord's approval? Any proper lease should have a term to that effect. If so, then they have likely violated the terms of the lease and that should give you cause to terminate it. If there is no such clause, I'm afraid you might be a bit stuck, though; you can't end a fixed term lease early unless the tenant has violated it, and after six months they will acquire security of tenure for six years and cannot be removed even after the fixed term lease expires, except for an allowable reason (you require the property for yourself or an immediate family member, or you are selling it or performing extensive renovations that require vacant possession).
Thank you for the extensive reply dennyk. So you recommend to give them notice to go ASAP?

Or maybe just getting the new house key would be enough, closing one eye for the rest they've done?

Thanks a million.
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07-10-2018, 00:50   #12
the_pen_turner
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i think i would politly remind them that they are breaking the lease and that you could serve them notice but you wont because they are keeping the place great. explain that you need to give written permission before any works are carried out
get a coppy of the key . and do regular check ups
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07-10-2018, 01:05   #13
dennyk
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Thank you for the extensive reply dennyk. So you recommend to give them notice to go ASAP?
That's really something you will have to judge; presumably you have spent some time with these folks and done your vetting work and gotten references, etc. on them, so you'll have a better idea of their nature and history than we do. The fact that they've done these things without permission might be a red flag that they're going to be headstrong and troublesome tenants, but it could also simply be a misunderstanding or a miscommunication (e.g. they're just trying to make their place nicer and they assumed you'd appreciate the upgrades, or their previous landlord allowed such things and they just failed to consider that not all landlords would feel the same way, or perhaps they mentioned fixing the place up a bit at some point during your discussions and took a lack of clear objection from you as tacit agreement). In the latter case, having a discussion with them and setting some firm and clear boundaries on what they can and can't do without obtaining permission from you (preferably in writing) might be all that's needed.
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07-10-2018, 01:10   #14
bertsmom
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I definitely would NOT be happy with this. Who is liable if the stove is fitted poorly and carbon monoxide harms or kills someone? Is your landlord insurance still valid with the introduction of the stove and any other changes etc.
At the least I would draw up a VERY comprehensive lease forbidding ANY further alterations in any way without prior written permission from yourself. If they have installed their own white goods where then are the ones that were in the house stored? A shed where they will rust and decay?
I am not a landlord I do own my own home now but before this I rented for years and would never dream of doing this.
Personally I think I would prefer to get them out of my property, they seem to have very blurred lines as regards the boundaries that need to be respected.
If you do let the tenancy continue (I wouldn't) demand a key IMMEDIATELY and do extremely regular inspections.
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07-10-2018, 01:16   #15
Hitman3000
 
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With the exception of changing the locks it sounds all good. Remind them who owns the property in a friendly manner. I know it sounds counter intuitive but they may have for them a genuine reason for changing the locks. It does sound like you have good tenants.
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