Keeping bike in rented flat

Peter Rhodes
Peter Rhodes Posts: 329
edited August 2013 in Road general
Before buying my Specialized Secteur back in February, I carefully read through my tenancy agreement, and found nothing to say the landlord does not allow bikes to be kept in the flat (I would not have bought it otherwise)
In May I had an email from the landlord saying they've installed some bike boxes for £10pcm and:

"...It will contrary to the tenancy agreement to store your bikes in the apartments as this in the Landlords eyes could lead to the apartments becoming dirty and possibly even chain oil staining the floors."

I am careful to keep my bike clean, and store it on a piece of old vinyl floorcovering, so any risk to the floor is mitigated. After a recent flat inspection the caretaker is 'extremely disappointed' that I still have a bike in the flat. Has anyone had any similar problems, will reminding the landlord of the lack of a clause prohibiting bikes in the contract suffice to prevent any further trouble?
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Comments

  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    Don't be bullied check your tenancy agreement and if you are right try Citizens Advice Centre or similar for advice on how to approach it..
    Surely if you damage the flat your deposit/bond payment is in place to cover this and IMO the £10 pm is just another way of getting more money out of you.
  • GiantMike
    GiantMike Posts: 3,139
    As long as you're responsible for any damage and it's not explicitly mentioned in your TA, you can keep anything you like in your flat. If the landlord installed 'hat boxes' you wouldn't have to keep your hats in there. I don't think this is enforceable. If you really need to, maybe remove the bike for the next caretaker inspection to avoid it becomming an issue?

    I can understand why the landlord is doing it, but unless he has insurance cover in the event that your bike is stolen from a bike box, I'd keep your bike inside and take responsibility for it.
  • Unless it states specifically in the Tenancy Agreement that you are not allowed to store your bike in the flat then you will be fine. Anything he says after this has been signed is now in requirement of a new tenancy agreement, with any fees paid by the landlord.

    Ask him about the bike boxes and what sort of insurance he has on the box specifically to cover the theft of bikes, and ask him if he must list any bikes over x amount on the policy before he can charge for them.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    I agree with the above ...

    If there is nothing in your tenancy agreement about prohibited items then the landlord cannot impose that restriction on you - not during this lease period anyway.

    So, question you have to ask is - do you want to keep this flat when the lease is due for renewal? If so then you would be best to enter into discussion with the landlord about bike storage sooner rather than later.
    If you're not bothered then ignore the landlord ... the caretaker could be extremely disappointed you didn't brew coffee in the correct manner - but it's squat to do with them.

    FWIW - my bike is stored in my office at work - even in the wet (it's on cardboard to catch any water etc) and at home they regularly come into the house for routine maintenance. It is simple enough to keep it all clean.
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    The tenancy agreement doesn't need a list of prohibited items, it would be ridiculously long if it did. This came up on another forum and I can't say better than this.. it may or may not be applicable to your situation..

    Its a shared house, and presumably therefore is governed by HMO status. The landlord therefore has an obligation to the safety of everyone in the property, and so was well within his rights to ask you to remove the wheels from the communal areas if he deemed it unsafe. He also has, to an extent, the right to say that they are not suitable to be stored in the house at all if he deems them to be a risk to you or other occupants, regardless of how accurate that may or may not be.

    Also, very little of what is in your tenancy agreement counts for s**t. You can write a tenancy agreement on the back of a fag packet and it still grants the same actuators rights and obligations as one that is 35pages long, because they are exactly that, statutory. To make matters even more complicated there is a mass of common law governing tenancies as well.
  • GiantMike
    GiantMike Posts: 3,139
    iPete wrote:
    The tenancy agreement doesn't need a list of prohibited items, it would be ridiculously long if it did. This came up on another forum and I can't say better than this.. it may or may not be applicable to your situation..
    Its a shared house, and presumably therefore is governed by HMO status. The landlord therefore has an obligation to the safety of everyone in the property, and so was well within his rights to ask you to remove the wheels from the communal areas if he deemed it unsafe. He also has, to an extent, the right to say that they are not suitable to be stored in the house at all if he deems them to be a risk to you or other occupants, regardless of how accurate that may or may not be.

    Also, very little of what is in your tenancy agreement counts for s**t. You can write a tenancy agreement on the back of a fag packet and it still grants the same actuators rights and obligations as one that is 35pages long, because they are exactly that, statutory. To make matters even more complicated there is a mass of common law governing tenancies as well.
    Even if it's a HMO (which I don't know if it is), he can keep it in non-communal areas, like his room.

    I am a landlord and I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of a TA. There are statutory elements, but also some discretionary ones. Are you saying that, as a landlord, I can stop somebody keeping a bike inside my flat even if it's not specifically stated in the TA?
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    I live in a 2 bedroom flat, and have 4 bikes stored in the second bedroom (one bedroom for me, the other bedroom for the bikes obvously ;-) ) The only reasonable concern I would think my landlord might have is the carpets getting dirty but then I am responsible for the condition of the carpets when I leave, so its down to me.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
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  • GiantMike wrote:
    Are you saying that, as a landlord, I can stop somebody keeping a bike inside my flat even if it's not specifically stated in the TA?

    Yes, especially if there is provision for bike storage elsewhere.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • I once had cats in a house that didn't allow pets. When the landlod/agency wanted to check the house, I simply removed the cats for a day.
    If they want to check your flat, just go for a ride so they don't see the bike.
    What they don't know, can't hurt them :)
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    Always confuses me why people come to bike radar for legal advice just because the item is a bike.

    Read the terms of your lease - there is almost certainly a provision in there which relates to doing/not doing things which cause others a nuisance or which might cause damage to the property. Its for the LL to state clearly which part of the agreement he things you are in breach of. The language being used suggests he is already of the opinion that his "requests" cannot be enforced.

    If you are careful and not causing a nuisance or damage then the Land Lord really has no option to insist that you use the facilities, particularly since he is charging you extra. Maybe check that he has actually incurred costs for this and check also that your agreement is not worded sufficiently loosely that you could demand access under the terms of your agreement.

    The Landlord has 3 options:
    1 - at the end of the agreement he can take damage out of the deposit using the normal process.
    2 - he can decide he no longer wants you as a tenant and serve Sec 21 Notice to quit (google Housing act sec 21) which means your current Assured Short Hold tenancy Agreement will not be renewed.
    3 - he can decide that you have breached your contract and serve you a sec 8 notice (probably ground 12-15)

    He then has to go through the process of taking you to court to get you out under the sec 8 or 21 if you don't play ball. He really wont want to do this for £10 per month.

    So options are:

    Reply stating that having reviewed your agreement you can find nothing that prohibits you from storing your bike in the flat and that you consider his attempts to forcefully upsell the secure facilities as breach of his statutory obligations to allow you to peacefully enjoy the property without being disturbed.

    Or tell him that you are taking great care to ensure that the bike is stored safely and securely without causing a nuisance or damage.

    If you want to go further invite him to explore his options in accordance with the relevant sections of the Housing Act 1988
  • GiantMike
    GiantMike Posts: 3,139
    GiantMike wrote:
    Are you saying that, as a landlord, I can stop somebody keeping a bike inside my flat even if it's not specifically stated in the TA?

    Yes, especially if there is provision for bike storage elsewhere.
    So I cn just pop round and tell them to stop keeping bikes in the flat and they have to? Even though it wasn't a condition when they took the flat on? Seems a bit one-sided to me. Where are you getting this information from?
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    I have 7 bikes in my rented flat despite the tenancy agreement saying I need to keep them in the bike room. I told them I'd be more than happy to store them there if they accepted full liability as my insurance doesn't cover them there. Needless to say they did not want to accept that kind of responsibility.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • trek_dan
    trek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Just ignore it as though you never recieved the email. Even it did specifically say you aren't allowed bikes he isn't going to obtain a court order to evict you if you pay your rent and aren't a nuisance tennant. Landlords think they can do what the f*ck they like most of the time, but most legislation is stacked heavily in favour of the tennant.
  • diy wrote:

    He then has to go through the process of taking you to court to get you out under the sec 8 or 21 if you don't play ball. He really wont want to do this for £10 per month.

    Most TA's have a line in there to say tenants will be responsible for any incurred legal costs.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • trek_dan wrote:
    but most legislation is stacked heavily in favour of the tennant.

    No, it isn't.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • dnwhite88
    dnwhite88 Posts: 285
    drlodge wrote:
    I live in a 2 bedroom flat, and have 4 bikes stored in the second bedroom (one bedroom for me, the other bedroom for the bikes obvously ;-) ) The only reasonable concern I would think my landlord might have is the carpets getting dirty but then I am responsible for the condition of the carpets when I leave, so its down to me.

    He's hardly going to want to make that lovely rourke homeless is he? ;)
    "It never gets easier, you just go faster"
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    diy wrote:
    Always confuses me why people come to bike radar for legal advice just because the item is a bike.
    Eh? You're confused about ppl wanting to discuss their issue - then you go on to offer your own advice ... weird! ;)

    Perfectly understandable that ppl want to discuss their issue that may be loosely biking related as other ppl interested in biking may have come across the same issue and be able to offer their experience. You may get lucky and get a specialist in the field and have some expert advice - one forum I frequent had exactly that - an insurance co trying to wiggle out of a claim on a technicality - a legal expert (really - he is, trust me) read the post by that guy and took on his case and won.
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    yes but there are 100 better places on the net to ask this.

    @SloppySchleckonds - you can write what you like in a TA. Its for a court to decide who pays legal costs, not the TA. Housing Act trumps anything you can write in your agreement. The law is very much and rightly stacked in the tenants favour. The exception is shared houses and the deposit protection scheme as it works well for nobody.

    I wouldn't fancy your chances of using a line in the TA agreement relating to costs as reason for the judge to award you costs.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    diy wrote:
    yes but there are 100 better places on the net to ask this.
    and 1000 worse ...

    Why are the 100 better places? Because they're frequented by solicitors?
    The value of advice is worth as much as you've paid for it ... usually ...
  • Call the landlords bluff and explain if a charge is levied then you will have to find an alternative accommodation, he will soon change his terms. sounds like a money spinning exercise to me. Everyone's out to make a fast buck it stinks.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    diy wrote:
    Always confuses me why people come to bike radar for legal advice just because the item is a bike.

    I guess they just come looking to see if anyone knows anything about the subject, has had personal experience of it themselves or can maybe suggest where best to find the answer to the problem. I doubt they intend to get some solid legal advice. I expect (and certainly hope) that the OP never had any intention to go back to his landlord and say "you're wrong about my bike so go do one - someone on BikeRadar said so..."
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • gezebo
    gezebo Posts: 364
    Seems pretty straightforward... They are selling storage for an extra tenner a month and you don't want it! Not sure what all the fuss is!!
  • Thanks for the replies guys. I've had a response from the landlord's office who now says their objection is due to oil damaging the wooden floor in the entrance. and that the tenancy agreement 'has been changed to say bikes must be kept in the lockers'
    Aside from the basic error that bikes don't drip oil, the marks on the floor he appears to be refering to look to me as if they're a result of water getting to the wood where the varnish has worn off, therefore perhaps there's shortly going to be a ban on walking into the building in wet weather...
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    and that the tenancy agreement 'has been changed to say bikes must be kept in the lockers'

    obviously not in the copy you singed ;)

    I'm guessing its an oak floor?
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    diy wrote:
    and that the tenancy agreement 'has been changed to say bikes must be kept in the lockers'

    obviously not in the copy you singed ;)

    I'm guessing its an oak floor?

    They can change as much they like - you've not agreed to it and it isn't enforceable.

    I won an argument with a solicitor/landlord because she had accepted a tenant under a contract, then on the day they were moving in she gave them another one to sign - refusing access until they signed. Hmm ... Signed under duress - unenforceable!
  • Slowbike wrote:
    diy wrote:
    and that the tenancy agreement 'has been changed to say bikes must be kept in the lockers'

    obviously not in the copy you singed ;)

    I'm guessing its an oak floor?

    They can change as much they like - you've not agreed to it and it isn't enforceable.

    I won an argument with a solicitor/landlord because she had accepted a tenant under a contract, then on the day they were moving in she gave them another one to sign - refusing access until they signed. Hmm ... Signed under duress - unenforceable!

    This seems to be common practice in the UK< renters seem to have very few rights, and all the responsibility lies with them to pay fees. Fairly poor system if you ask me.

    We are very lucky to have a landlord like we do, who realise we live in a house, not a ferrari or something. She is very accepting of any changes we want to make, and let's us treat the house as ours unless we are doing damage, which we arn't.
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    load of bollox - renters can massively take they pee if they know how.

    the issue with signing new tenancy agreements is often due to the incompetence of agents who use standard agreements that they charge both LL & T to draft with absolutely no idea of the terms in the LL lease (if its leasehold flat for example) so the LL has no choice other than to ask the T to sign a new contract if there are vital clauses missing.

    Done properly there can be no "duress" if the LL rejects the agreement that the T singed with the agent. They'd be mad to let the T gain access to the property if the terms do not allow them to flow down their own obligations under lease.

    The issue is that the LL cannot amend the terms of the agreement without the agreement of T. Even if the agreement states that he can. Variations have to be agreed. The OP in this case should state clearly (if he intends to) that these amendment requests are rejected.
  • What's the legal position on changing a tenancy agreement mid-tennancy? I know in Austria you have to wait until the agreement is finished, is it different in the UK?
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    What's the legal position on changing a tenancy agreement mid-tennancy? I know in Austria you have to wait until the agreement is finished, is it different in the UK?

    I would think that a tenancy agreement can be altered mid-term - but it would have to be with the consent of all parties concerned.

    Back to the OP - his acceptance/rejection of the change of terms will depend if he wants to carry on in the flat at the end of the agreement. If he does then it may be worthwhile getting hold of the LL direct and inviting him round for a meeting where he can demonstrate the cleanliness of his bike and the risk of leaving something that valuable in a bike locker. If the LL is reasonable then he may accept that exception. If he's not then the OP may be better off finding another place either at the end of the agreement or earlier if the LL will release him from the terms.
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    All contracts can be varied by agreement between the contracting parties. There are some specifics where legislation can trump the contract - e.g. consumer statutory rights and Assured Shorthold Tendency (ASTs) agreements where the Housing act has a few things to say on what can be agreed.

    At the end of an AST most agents will issue a new agreement and charge the T and LL for the benefit, however, ASTs become rolling agreements once the first AST expires. Its often in Ts best interest to refuse to sign a new contract, and as long as he does not slip in to arrears there is a fairly difficult process of getting him out.

    There is also the whole issue of terms impacting Ts peaceful enjoyment of the property which is his right.

    You have to remember that a lot of LL and T legislation has come about because LL have abused power over Ts.

    The previous comments are bang on - better to work it out face to face directly with the LL, but it sounds like their is an agent/corporation calling the shots.