I have a tenant living in my granny annex. Am I a residential landlord, and what are the rules?

Question

I have a tenant living in my granny annex. Am I a residential landlord, and what are the rules?

Answer

A resident landlord someone who lets part of their only or main residential home. In law, a resident landlord letting is one where the landlord and their tenant(s) live in the same building, including situations where the tenant may live in a conversion in a different part of the property – a ‘granny annexe’ for example.

This is a fairly common practice, however, there are some quite difference rules to the normal landlord/tenant relationship.

Tenancies granted by resident landlords are not ASTs – this is specifically set out in schedule 1 (10) of the Housing Act 1988. This means that if you rent out self-contained accommodation in the same building that you live in yourself as a resident landlord, it is possible that the tenancy will fall under the ‘common law’ and slightly different rules will apply to those which apply to assured and assured shorthold tenancies.

In the case of a common law tenancies, the tenant’s rights and obligations are mainly dependent on the terms agreed between the parties (as written into the tenancy agreement).

If there are problems during the tenancy, the landlord can bring the common law tenancy to an end where there has been a breach of any of the specified terms in the tenancy agreement. You are not restricted to the prescribed terms laid down in Housing Acts. Resident landlords do have a greater freedom to end a tenancy arrangement, because it is acknowledged that should the relationship between landlord and tenant break down, the landlord is more vulnerable in his or her own home.

Generally, common law tenancies do not afford tenants the same protection regarding security of tenure and statutory continuation, so section 21 and section 8 notices and possession procedures do not apply. However, the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 still applies, meaning that in the case of a common law residential tenant refusing to leave, a court order will be required.

With regards to safety measures, (such as gas safety requirements etc.), you still must comply with the same requirements as a non-resident landlord. You must ensure that:

1. An annual gas safety check is carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer

2. The electrical system in the property is safe, and well maintained

3. A smoke alarm is provided on every storey of the property, and a carbon monoxide alarm is provided in each room with a solid fuel burning appliance

4. There is clear access to fire escapes at all times

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