This is a blog clinic question from Bernard (not his real name) who is a tenant
This problem involves the The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
As a background, I live in a charity run private student halls of residence. The property is an unlicensed mandatorily licensable HMO, but the Local Authority has a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (the property is extremely substandard and could not be licensed in any event).
The tenancy agreement purports to be a licence to occupy via an obvious sham clause rather than the common law tenancy that it obviously is, and indeed the landlord has a habit of allowing non-students to stay in the property which you could argue forfeits the “student accommodation” status and makes the tenancy an AST.
The Landlord is increasingly militant that the rented property is theirs, not the tenants. As part of this they have inserted clauses into the contract that permission must be sought in writing before having overnight guests, and that additional rent is due for their stay. The request form asks for personal information such as the guests next of kin.
This is obviously not legal, but I have no idea how to challenge it short of violating the clause and precipitating an illegal eviction (which has happened for precisely this reason – again, the landlord does not recognise the authority of the courts over “their” property). Is it a matter for the local trading standards? Who does enforce the The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999?
The regulations are enforced by the Office of Fair Trading and also by Trading Standards Offices. However if you are right and the landlord and LA are hand in glove, you would probably be best referring this to the Office of Fair Trading. You can read a bit about it on their website here.
If you decide to report your landlord to them, you will find contact details on the contact page here.
A well known example of what they do is the litigation relating to Foxtons agency contracts which the OFT considered unfair but which Foxtons refused to alter. The OFT brought proceedings against them which they eventually won. You can read about the Foxtons case on this blog here.
Let us know how you get on!