Here is a question to the blog clinic from Sally (not her real name) whose parents are tenants.
Hi my parents have a very old tenancy from 1968. In that tenancy it states they are responsible for all the up keep of the property. Over the years with the help of modernisation grants and their own funds my parents have had a new kitchen, bathroom, double glazing central heating, and a new roof, (the landlord has changed many times over the years). When they moved into the property there was no central heating, no kitchen units no fire, no cooker etc. These have all been fitted by my parents.
Due to ill health, they need to move into a bungalow. My question is are they entitled to take the kitchen and, if they wanted to, the brand new Combi boiler, out of the property when they leave?
They paid a deposit on taking out the tenancy back in 68. Just for interest what happens to that?
As it is such an old tenancy I can’t find any information
This will almost certainly be a protected tenancy under the Rent Act 1977. There will have been an initial fixed term after which your parents will have remained in occupation under a rolling ‘periodic’ tenancy.
The first thing to do is to take a look at the fixed term clause in the tenancy agreement. Is it for more or less than seven years?
If it is for less than seven years
In this case, the landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the property (whatever the tenancy agreement says) and your parents may have a claim against the landlord if all the upkeep and repairs were done by them.
They may be able to take the kitchen and boiler items as they (presumably) belong to them (but see the comments section below).
The relevant act is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 section 11. Section 13 of the act specifically says it applies to all tenancies granted on or after 24 October 1961 for a term of less than seven years.
They should be able to claim back their tenancy deposit from the landlord, provided they can prove that it was paid (does the tenancy agreement record receipt?). Even though the identity of the landlord has changed.
If it was for seven years or more
Here things are different, the tenants are responsible for the upkeep of the property and the landlord may have a claim against them.
I have known cases where landlords have required tenants to spend considerable sums to put a property in repair at the end of a tenancy. You need to be very careful about this. Your parents should not move out until they know whether or not a claim is going to be made. It may be better for them to stay there if this is at all possible.
Their rights over the deposit remain the same but if the landlord can show that the property is not being left in a proper condition they may be able to dispute a claim for its return.
I would strongly advise you to take some legal advice.
The Landlord Law advice telephone advice service is provided by Anthony Gold solicitors who have experience in old tenancies such as this.