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Housing Association & Garden Sheds.


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Hi,

Ive lived in my old house for a long time (my tenancy is over 20years old). Its separated into 3 flats, 1 on each floor. All this time we (myself and my upstairs tenant combined) have had a wooden garden shed in our large garden which is not attached to the property.  The garden is around 20 meters long and we have taken pride in it (winning our city's best garden award previously). Our shed is used to store our garden tools, bicycles & paint - the usual stuff people keep in sheds).

 

The issue we now have is that our housing officer has (at my request) arrived finally to address the issue of some leftover rubbish from a previous tenant.

Instead of addressing this rubbish issue, she has told me that we are not allowed to have a shed at all because its not in their policy and that not complying is jeopardising my tenancy.


Im confused and concerned by this development and want to know if we are now going to be forced to remove our shed. She also told us that we cant keep paint or equipment in the shed (So, what are they for then?).


What is the legal duristiction with this?
I can find nothing in my tenancy that covers this at all.


Can we keep our shed?
Any pointers, help or advice would be fabulous.

 

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I am no expert on where sheds can be placed or what can be stored in them. My experience of social landlords is that they provide one shed per property, where the property is not communal, and gift the shed in perpetuity to the tenant. This absolves them of the need to maintain the shed at their expense. They do not state what can and what cannot be stored in the shed.

 

If there is nothing in your tenancy agreement that covers this, and the the shed has been in use by yourself for over 20 years, then I would suggest that there is an implied contract between the landlord and yourself. The landlord, under the terms of the contract, allows you and your fellow tenants to use the shed for any legitimate purpose, and to store whatever you like in it, providing you maintain the shed and adhere to H&S guidance and any relevant bylaws.

 

I would put the implied contract into writing and serve a copy on the landlord.

 

 

 

 

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Ask the Council to prove that that shed is not allowed, as nothing is stated in any document that has been issued to you.  But state how long the shed has been on the land and what it is used for,  that you maintain it.

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@jaycee113

 

Not true. I have lived in Council properties for over 20 years. The shed policy is if it is a brick one that use to be the old coal shed the they do provide the key for it and are responsible for it.

Tho if the property does not have one of those they dont have to provide one and you even have to obtain planning permission to have a shed. This is in several councils and HAs round here. 

 

 

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Hi

 

I think people are jumping to conclusions here about this shed and what we need the @ mishka muerte to clarify is

 

1. Was this Shed already installed at that location by the Housing Association for the use of the Residents within these specific flats? or

 

2. If yes to above what does it state in your Tenancy Agreement about who maintain this Shed i.e is it the Housing Association responsibility or is it the Tenants responsibility to maintain this Shed? 

 

3. Did @ mishka muerte and this other tenant install this Shed themselves and if so did they get written permission from the Housing Association for this at that time as this would be classed as a change of use as per there Tenancy Agreement and would require the Housing Associations permission?

 

4. Was this Shed installed and in view when you won the city's best garden award and did the Housing Association at that time note this in there newsletter given to all tenants at that time also?

 

5. In your Rent with your Tenancy Agreement do you pay a Service Charge for Landscaping of that specific area where the Shed is located? i.e. the Housing Association have contractors that come out and cut the grass

 

If you could answer the above for me so that I will be able to assist you further in how to approach this with your Housing Association

 

 

Also just to be clear Housing Association just do not provide shed for X amount of properties to use it is all down to how that Housing Association develop there plans when deciding to build new properties and if Shed are part of the development of those properties. 

 

If Shed are then part of the development of those properties then when new Tenants take up residence in these properties it all come down to what the Housing Association clauses are within the Tenancy Agreement the those Tenants Sign as to who Maintains that specific Shed i.e. whether it is the Housing Association or the Tenant. (the Tenant should also be given a list of items that are restricted/not allowed to be stored in that shed due to Health & Safety)

 

The above also applies even if it is Old Properties as in the OPs case the Shed comes down to what it states in the Tenancy Agreement as to who Maintains it. If Tenant then decides to install there own shed then as per all Tenancy Agreements it is classed as a change of use and requires written permission from the Housing Association/Council/Social Housing Landlord.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

OK, to clarify in respect of the above questions..

The shed has been in situ for many years. It was purchased collectively by the tenant upstairs and the tenant that previously lived in my home (her half was gifted to me with the full consent of the upstairs neighbour & co owner).

 

I 'asume' we have full responsibility for our shed (because the HA scaffolders broke a section of it a couple of years ago and it was not fixed by them).

There is nothing in our tenancies that mentions a shed. It is made of wood and not attached to the property (Its meters away from the brickwork).

 

The HA have changed hands 3 times since its erection.

 

The shed was definitely already 'in-situ' when the awards were won. We have certificates (that used to be displayed internally in the shared hallway, but were taken down becuase of new fire regulation rules!). We didnt have tenancy magasines to recycle then.

 

We do pay towards gardening services (in the last couple of years only). They do not use our shed. We pay this voluntarily, but are about to cancel that because they dont actally help with whats actually needed - keeping the (vast amounts of) ivy in check and tree surgery. They just cut the lawn and dont come near the shed space at all, nor have reason to.

 

Its a large walled garden, no other neighbours can even see the shed, nor does it sit anywhere near the garden path (as an exit).

 

Does that help?
Thank you x

Edited by mishka muerte
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So, the shed is not owned by the landlord but is owned by yourself and another tenant. This just gets better!

 

The landlord is party to an implied contract, which they inherited from the former HA who owned the site, to allow you and a fellow tenant to keep a shed on the site for any legitimate purpose. You may store whatever you like in it, providing you adhere to H&S guidance and any relevant bylaws. You must maintain the shed to a reasonable standard and not allow its existence, purpose or use to cause nuisance or offence to your fellow tenants or neighbours.

 

If the landlord wants to terminate your contract they must show you to be in  breach of it. Failing that they must negotiate with you. I would agree, with the proviso that they replace the shed with an even bigger one!

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Hi

 

Now as the other Tenant at the time this Shed was installed wasn't given permission and as the Housing Association has changed hands 3 times over the years this is where you use that and a little white lie that you were given permission XX years ago by your housing officer at that time simple as that not your fault they don't have it on record.

 

Now you make a Formal Complaint about what this new housing officer has stated to you about this shed being against their policy and you make sure and title the letter formal complaint as they have to record this and it is open to inspection by the housing regulator.

 

Please feel free to amend to suit but my advice is this letter is better coming from not you but that other Tenant that was the original person when this shed was installed before you took on the other tenants share when they left.

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Formal Complaint

 

On XX/XX/2022 my Housing Officer (insert name if you know it) came out on a visit due to a complaint I made about rubbish dumped by a previous tenant and she was more interested in the shed installed a XX location and stated this was against your Housing Associations Policy and ignored the issue of the rubbish left by a previous tenant.

 

This Shed was installed in XX Year (insert date if known) by (insert the Tenants names at that time) and as tenant (insert name) left I took over there responsibility for that Shed with XX Tenant (insert name) to date.

 

Before this Shed was installed in XX Year (insert date if known) discussion were had with the Housing officer of that Housing Association at that time and they gave permission for this Shed.

 

This Shed has now been in the exact same location for XX Years with Housing Officers physically seeing this Shed over those years and inspecting the shed with no issues at all as we have changes Housing Association 3 times since its installation.

 

I now find it unacceptable that your Housing Officer has now rather than dealing with the issue of the rubbish left by a previous Tenant that they were were coming out to see takes issue with this shed installed with permission XX Years ago and states it is against your Housing Association Policy.

 

1. Permission was granted for this Shed installation in XX Year (insert date if known) by the Housing officer at that time and if this is not on your Housing Association Records then this is due to Maladministration of that Housing Officer at that time not noting it on your records.

 

a) Permission was granted by the Housing Officer in XX Year for the installation of this Shed

b) The Housing Association has changed hands 3 times during this time to different Housing Associations with no issue of this Shed Installation with it being inspected during this time by different Housing Officers.

c) In XX/XX/XXXX we won the city's best garden award in with photographs were taken and the Shed was present at this time.

 

2. This Shed is maintained not by the Housing Association but by myself and XX Tenant therefore there is no cost associated to the Housing Association for it maintenance and we abide by Health & Safety to ensure the safety of all residents as has been done since its installation.

 

3. As your Housing Officer stated this was against your Policy I would like to be provided with a copy of that exact policy they are referring to.

 

4. We are more than happy for the Housing Association to arrange a date and time if you wish to inspect this Shed and for your advice of Health & Safety to keep all residents safe as we have always previously complied with this during the sheds installation to date.

 

I look forward to your reply

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5 hours ago, stu007 said:

Now as the other Tenant at the time this Shed was installed wasn't given permission and as the Housing Association has changed hands 3 times over the years this is where you use that and a little white lie that you were given permission XX years ago by your housing officer at that time simple as that not your fault they don't have it on record.

Where has the OP stated that the shed was installed without permission? I think it perfectly reasonable to assume permission was obtained, (albeit verbally rather than in writing - unless you can show a document giving written consent). It is also reasonable to assume that the HA at the time the shed appeared would have noticed it! They would have required its removal had they not consented to it being there. The OP was not party to the original agreement regarding the siting of the shed. They are entitled, however, to rely on their agreement with the fellow tenant, and the implied contract between themselves and the current landlord, to protect their interest in their co-owned property.

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I like the idea of the formal complaint as suggested by stu007. I have had a play around with it. Have a look and see what you think.

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

FORMAL COMPLAINT

 

On XX/XX/2022 my Housing Officer (insert name if you know it) came out on a visit due to a complaint I made about rubbish dumped by a previous tenant. She took no interest in my complaint but took a great deal of interest in the shed installed in the walled in garden situated at the property. She stated this was against your Housing Associations policy and ignored the issue of the rubbish left by the previous tenant. She threatened me with my tenancy if the shed is not removed.

 

This shed was installed in XX Year (insert date if known) by (insert the Tenants names at that time) and as tenant (insert name) left I took over their responsibility for the shed with XX Tenant (insert name) to date.

 

Before this shed was installed in XX Year (insert date if known) a discussion was had with the Housing Officer of that Housing Association at that time, and they gave permission for this shed to be sited.

 

This shed has now been in the exact same location for XX Years with Housing Officers physically seeing this shed over those years and inspecting the shed with no issues at all. We have changed Housing Associations three times since its installation.

 

I now find it unacceptable that your Housing Officer has, rather than dealing with the issue of the rubbish left by a previous tenant that they were called out to see, taken issue with this shed installed with permission XX Years ago. They stated that it is against your Housing Associations policy.

 

1. Permission was granted for this shed to be installed in XX Year (insert date if known) by the Housing Officer at that time. If this is not on your Housing Association records, then this is due to maladministration on the part of that Housing Officer at that time not noting it on the records.

 

a) Permission was granted by the Housing Officer in XX year for the installation of this shed

 

b) The Housing Association has changed on three occasions during this time to different Housing Associations. There have been no issues identified by any Housing Association regarding this shed’s installation, purpose, or use, with it being inspected periodically by different Housing Officers.

 

c) In XX/XX/XXXX we won the city's best garden award. photographs were taken and the shed was present at this time.

 

2. This shed is maintained not by the Housing Association but by me and XX Tenant therefore there is no cost associated to the Housing Association for its maintenance. We abide by Health & Safety regulations to ensure the safety of all residents. This has been done since its installation.

 

3. As your Housing Officer stated this was against your policy, I would like to be provided with a copy of that exact policy they are referring to.

 

4. We are more than happy for the Housing Association to arrange a date and time if you wish to inspect this shed and for your advice on Health & Safety issues to keep all residents safe. We have always complied with this during the shed’s installation to date.

 

I look forward to your reply

 

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Is the Housing Officer actively pursuing this shed issue ?

 

If there is no ongoing communications regarding it, then there is a choice.  Complaint in the hope of resolving to avoid this coming back in the future.  Or not doing anything now to provoke any further argument and wait to see if this issue is raised again.

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Agree With @unclebulgaria67. Is there a point in poking the bear when no need. Also known as letting sleeping dogs lie. 

If they are not perusing then leave it

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The original post was one week ago. Not much time for the OP to know whether the matter is being pursued or not. This matter is time critical in that there is an implied contract here. An implied contract is fluid and subject to change until one party sets it down in writing and serves it on the other. It is very advantageous, from a legal standpoint, to be the party who sets the contract down in writing as it can then be used as an entire defence in any future legal proceedings.

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Plenty of time. Our landlord would have had a letter out. 7 days is more than long enough to get a letter out. If l can order a item at 4.30 friday and it be here via royal mail second class today then why cant a council. 

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Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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Thank you so much for your input and advice.
Im going to talk with my lovely neighbour and draft up a formal complaint as set out above (by your sterling work, Jaycee113) but we shall sit on it for a while and see what transpires regarding the rubbish collection/ or if the HA was just threatening blowing hot air and actually does nothing. I also believe in not poking the bear.
Im totally not looking for trouble with this, but feel much better prepared now if they decide to make something of it.
We are very lucky to have a home with a big garden (thats listed so cant be developed on) and we are aware that ours is the only one left of several thats not been decanted and sold off to developers. My neighbours tenancy is nearly 40 years old and the rules of selling from under him have saved us! (but thats another thread for another day) and yet we often feel that they are itching to get us out so they can either sell or up the rents to full market value with new tenants on contracts with less rights.

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Just a querie but your original tenancy. Do you have it and what does that say. 

Just wondering as well if the tenants have ever had any consultation on the changing hands of the HA and if everytime you have been given a new tenancy to read and sign. 

I know when our council considered selling off the housing stock to the highest bidder a few years ago they got a lovely response to the tenants consultation of No. People did not want to live in a non council property. 

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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Godmother, I adopted my friends tenancy when i moved in because we swapped.
I then did not sign any 'new' tenancy agreements when our HA first changed hands. We looked into the details and realised we would be selling ourselves short in giving up our existing ones, so i assume they have just rolled over.. and without signing anything else, assumedly our existing original contracts stand.

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so you never signed a tenancy when you moved in to the property. 

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Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

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Hi

 

@  mishka muerte reference your post#15 it was actually my letter which is in post#8 and you should if you wish to challenge the Housing Association keep it as it is written not the way @jaycee113 has said they have amended it, keep it as I have it in is layout in post#8.

 

In post#17 you mention this was a House Swap so you would have signed a new tenancy with the Housing Association when you moved into that property but can you clarify this for us?

 

When a Housing Association changes hands (even 3 times in your case) you actually do not need to sign a New Tenancy Agreement as the Tenancy Agreement you Originally Signed will just transfer to the New Housing Association with all the same rights you signed in that original tenancy agreement.

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Did not know thats. Just assumed that as its a new company then they have to follow certain rules of signing new tenancys within a certain time. Only say that as a friend had to when his HA and another merged to make a new one. They got 6 months grace and 6 months to assess and sign contacts 12 mths in total. 

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Im so sorry. My apologies to Stu007. I appreciate your time and input and expertise very much. So, thank you for that.
For the other interest - I originally signed an agreement to swap tenancies - with all the internal fixtures and fittings 'as is' rather than be blank-slated as a new tenancy would, so no removal of carpets, replacing fire doors, etc. This also meant that we took on each others rental amounts, status & service charge amount.
We had to pay for extra gas & electrical checks, but that is all.
I havent signed any other tenancy agreement (none during the changes of stewardships), however when we were first 'swallowed' by a bigger HA they did try to get us to sign new tenancies at the time, to which we refused.
 

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So signing that as is tenancy you should still have had information like who is responsible for repairs out of hours emergency contacts what you can install etc. 

Do you still have that

 

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Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

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Hi

 

@The GodMother please have a read of the OPs answer to my questions in there post#6

 

The Shed was purchased collectively by the tenant upstairs and the tenant that previously lived in my home (her half was gifted to me with the full consent of the upstairs neighbour & co owner)

 

As this Shed as above was then placed onto the Housing Associations Land we still need the OP to clarify if they asked the Housing Association in writing at that time for Permission for this Shed to be placed onto the Housing Associations Land which they need to confirm with the initial tenant upstairs. Remember this shed was place onto the Housing Associations Land and it's location to the building which Health & Safety comes into play as well and what's stored in that shed.

 

The permission is very important no matter how many years this shed has been in that location for

 

As an example a Tenant move into a property that has a front and back Garden (but doesn't have a Shed) they then decide that they want to purchased a shed to install in the back garden, that Tenant only rents the property from the Housing Association and the front & back garden is the Housing Association Land therefore this comes under a change of use which is is most Tenancy Agreement.

 

That Tenant would then need to write to that Housing Association to request requesting permission to install that shed in the back garden (remember it's the Housing Association land not the Tenants).

 

If they then fail to do this and the Housing Association find out they can then class this as a Breach of Tenancy and insist that the shed is removed and the back garden placed back to it's original condition at that Tenants cost and if that Tenants fails to do so they can proceed to continue down the Breach of Tenancy route.

 

The above as said is only an example and the difference in this case is how many years that specific Shed has been in that location through numerous transfers of Housing Association which they can use to there advantage as my post#8

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@stu007 I have read what it says and based on over 20 year experience know myself how things change. 

Tho l have myself used stuff in my original tenancy to point out where changes have not been made when my council  landlord say they have. 

No need to Mansplain to me l am very aware of rules of social housing. 

 

 

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Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

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What this comes down to is as this shed was purchased by the Tenants at that time some years ago even with the Tenancy Agreements in place at that time this would still be classed as Change of Use as the land this Shed was placed on belongs to the Housing Association and not the Tenant as that Tenant is only paying Rent for the property they stay in. therefore those Tenants at that time would need to have asked the Housing Association for Permission in writing to place this Shed on there Land.

 

You need to bear in mind this shed was placed on the Housing Associations Land which those Tenants at that time have no right to Change the Use of that Land by placing a Shed on that Land as those Tenants in there signed Tenancy Agreement only Rent that Property not the Land and maintain the Garden if they have one (which a Service Chare may be in place for the Housing Association  to carryout Landscaping)

 

What is different in this case is the years that the Shed has been in that specific location for numerous years and it has change hands through 3 different Housing Associations who during this time even with inspections of this location have not raised an issue with this Shed and it's location until this new Housing Association took over and came out for a different issue of previous tenants rubbish and raised this issue of that Shed is against there policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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