Can my neighbour let out his property to a housing association without consulting the other occupants in the building?

Our property lawyer Fiona McNulty answers your questions
Question: I own the top flat of a converted house. The owner of the bottom flat has let it out to a housing association which places 16-to-18-year-olds who are "at risk". Their key workers stay on occasional nights but other than that, they live in the flat on their own. There have been a lot of problems with loud music and smoking and the front door of the building has been kicked in. The police have been on several occasions. Can the owner let out the flat to a housing association without consulting me?

Answer: Yes, the owner can do so unless there are restrictions in the lease or in any buy-to-let mortgage secured on the flat. If your neighbour has a buy-to-let mortgage, letting to someone on housing benefit may be prohibited. Check the terms of the lease of your flat and of your neighbour's flat. There may be restrictions on the type of people to whom the flat can be let. Housing benefit recipients are often excluded, and the freeholder's consent may be required for letting.

Private landlords often let their properties to housing associations as there are benefits, such as a good management service and guaranteed rent. The problem is, the landlord loses control of who is occupying the flat.

By behaving in the way you describe, the tenants are likely to be in breach of the terms of the lease. If you own a share of the freehold, then you will be involved, but if the freehold is owned by a third party, you must liaise with them to enforce the lease. The occupants are behaving in an antisocial way. Keep a diary of events, which will be useful if legal action proves necessary.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.


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