Categories: Law

Five Top Tips To Help You Avoid The Tenancy Trap

With the recession biting deep, you may be thinking of renting out some self contained accommodation to get a bit of money. You could try renting out a room in the house you live in, and taking in a lodger.


Maybe you’ve got an unused summer house that you fancied renting out? Maybe it’s a converted garage? Garden room extensions could also be classed as separate accommodation.

Basically, you want to create a “granny annexe” but you have to be very careful that you don’t make this into a tenancy, with you as the landlord, this throws up all kinds of expensive legal loopholes.

Here I give you some tips on how to avoid creating a tenancy on any out-building you may wish to rent out.

Sheets, rubbish and fire alarms
The tenant (who lives in a separate building, not shared) basically needs to be seen in the eyes of the law and the mortgage company as a lodger (someone who shares your property with you).  It means that the occupier officially doesn’t have the exclusive use of the room or rooms.

To this end, it is necessary for you to write into the contract some reasons under which you would be able to access the property/rooms, whilst still respecting the privacy of the occupier, and being able to access without permission.

There are a few ways to achieve this.

1. Clear their rubbish for them

All you need to do here is let your tenant know that you will need access to the property once a week (when the bin men come). This means you can go into the room to make good the agreement you have with the tenant. It gives you free and rightful access to the room.

2. Clean sheets/or towels

This is another reason that you could use which gives you an excuse to go into the room. There isn’t any need to make or change the bed, but if the bed was stripped, you could merely take the linens away and replace with new ones once a week.

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3. Fire alarm testing

You would need to have access regularly for this purpose – and it’s a very good idea to have fire alarms fitted. You can then access on a fortnightly basis, just to test the alarms are in working order.

4. Provide meals

This doesn’t have to be a regular thing, but say breakfast once a week, which could be served in the room, ensures that the tenant does not have exclusive use, and therefore the accommodation will not be classed as a tenancy.

5. Cleaning of rooms

If you tell your occupier that the cleaner is part of the rental deal (cover the fee of the cleaner in the rent agreed) and explain that you wish your property to be well maintained, then the occupier must agree to allow this third person in for that purpose.

6. Service please!

Providing at least two of these services means that you can bypass the tenancy rules and regulations, and all should be agreed between you and the occupier in advance of the signing of any contract.

Mortgage contracts and legal requirements come into force should you not heed this information, so stay wise and make sure that you rent your “granny annexe” out under these circumstances.

Elise Lévêque is a quirky French writer, living in the UK after falling for the irresistible charms of a chap from Newcastle! She is a prolific writer and fun loving girl and blogs for David Salisbury who provide delectable conservatories, orangeries and other outdoor structures that make neighbours envious.

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