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Emergency accommodation query

I am a 50% freeholder in a building containing 3 flats. The flat that is leasehold has been sold recently. I have suspicions that the owner is using the property as emergency/temporary accommodation. Within 3 months, a family of three moved in to the 1 bedroom property after being told they needed to leave their hotel. The family stayed there for 2 months and now a family of 4 have moved in. 

During my initial conversation with the owner, he told me he was ‘doing a favour for a friend’ to accept them as tenants. Now within 24 hours of the original family moving out, another family has moved in. 

Essentially, does the owner of that flat need to let the freeholders know that it has been purchased as temporary accommodation? 
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  • Grizebeck
    Grizebeck Posts: 2,648
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    Why should they 
    Advocate in the County Court dealing with a variety of cases, attending the courts in the North East and North Yorkshire
  • Depends what HIS lease says on the matter.  Might not be the same but what does your lease say?  

    When you asked the occupants what did they tell you?  

    Talk to your local councillors, see what they know. 

    We all need somewhere to live ,....
  • No I did wonder, it was just a query. I do have concerns about the property. It has quite bad damp (this is why the previous owner sold it because he was told by estate agents that it could not be let in that state). 

    I just am questioning why the owner wasn’t just open with me in the first place. 
  • Defo talk to councillors then re damp.  And grass him up to HMRC as he might have "forgotten" about the need to declare all his income(s)..
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,374
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    I am a 50% freeholder in a building containing 3 flats. The flat that is leasehold has been sold recently. I have suspicions that the owner is using the property as emergency/temporary accommodation. Within 3 months, a family of three moved in to the 1 bedroom property after being told they needed to leave their hotel. The family stayed there for 2 months and now a family of 4 have moved in. 

    During my initial conversation with the owner, he told me he was ‘doing a favour for a friend’ to accept them as tenants. Now within 24 hours of the original family moving out, another family has moved in. 

    Essentially, does the owner of that flat need to let the freeholders know that it has been purchased as temporary accommodation? 
    The owner will need consent to let from the freeholder and any lender.
    The lettings then need to be within the constraints of that consent.
  • Jonboy_1984
    Jonboy_1984 Posts: 1,191
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    The requirement for freeholder consent is only if detailed in that flats lease. 

    Our last flat didn't need any consent issued, but did say it could only be occupied by one family unit. 
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,374
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    The requirement for freeholder consent is only if detailed in that flats lease. 

    Our last flat didn't need any consent issued, but did say it could only be occupied by one family unit. 
    I guess that is an important clarification to my note - thanks.

    In this case, I note the OP is the 50% freeholder so presumably can easily check what the lease says with regard to rental use.  I doubt that many lease would be so tight as to mention the emergency accommodation use that is causing concern.

    I'm unclear as to why the property being used for emergency accommodation would be a concern.  I suspect that if I'd fallen on tough times and found myself needing emergency accommodation then I would be so grateful for somewhere safe to lay my head that the very last thing I would do is any kind of behaviour that puts that security at risk.

    If the concern is about over-crowding, I can see how that might have an impact in some cases.  Still, three or four people in a one-bed flat might not be ideal but is probably not that rare either.  A couple plus child or two couples (and sacrificing the living room) is not really any different to how student accommodation operates.
  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,113
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    edited 16 December 2023 at 7:57AM

    Essentially, does the owner of that flat need to let the freeholders know that it has been purchased as temporary accommodation? 

    As others say, you need to read the neighbours lease. Often, but not always, a lease will say:
    • The leaseholder needs the freeholder's consent to sub-let
    • The flat cannot be sub-let for a period of less than 6 months

    So the next question would be what you can do about it...
    • If a leaseholder breaches their lease, typically the freeholder can take enforcement action against the leaseholder
    • You say that you own 50% of the freehold - so I guess there are 2 joint owners. Who is the other joint owner?
    • If the 2 of you are joint freeholders, you would probably have to jointly agree to take enforcement action.

    (Hopefully, the neighbour in question isn't the other joint freeholder. Because the neighbour wouldn't agree to take action against themselves.)


  • If it is a block buildings insurance policy, it might be worth reviewing the cover and what was said at inception re occupancy.
  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,113
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    edited 16 December 2023 at 8:31AM
    If it is a block buildings insurance policy, it might be worth reviewing the cover and what was said at inception re occupancy.

    Yes - but just to get this the right way round...

    For example, if the lease allows short term sub-letting, then the freeholders should have arranged insurance that covers short term sub-letting.

    So in that case, inadequate insurance wouldn't be a reason to tell the leaseholder to stop short term sub-letting, that would be a reason for the freeholders to upgrade their buildings insurance (so that it matches the lease).


    And you could argue that getting inadequate insurance was the freeholders' mistake, so the freeholders should cover any extra costs resulting from their mistake.



    But conversely, if the lease doesn't allow short term sub-letting, and so the buildings insurance doesn't allow short term sub-letting, that's quite a serious situation.


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