Here is a question to the blog clinic from Dean who is a tenant.
I privately rent my house at the moment, and my land lord is trying to stop me from keeping my push bikes in the house over night. The value of the push bikes is far too great for me to want to do this.
I was just wondering whether my landlord has the right to dictate this to me? (May I add that no damage has been cause to the property because of keeping the push bikes in the house.)
I’m confused and I feel like I’m being punished in my own home. Can you please help with some advice?
The first thing you need to do is take a look at your tenancy agreement. Does it have any clauses which would apply to this situation? Some tenancy agreements do specify that the tenant cannot store bicycles inside.
If there is nothing in the agreement, particularly if the bikes are doing no damage, then you are not doing anything wrong. If your landlord keeps pestering you about it, this could be deemed harassment.
However if there is a clause in the tenancy agreement, then the question is – is it enforceable?
There is a limit to how much a landlord can dictate to a tenant what he does in what, as you say, is your own home. So depending on how it is worded, the clause may be unenforceable.
The main reason why landlords often prohibit bicycles being stored inside though, is that they can obstruct passageways and would prevent people getting out easily in case of fire.
If the purpose of the clause is to prevent this type of thing, it will be reasonable. So make sure, if you take the bikes inside, that they are not causing this type of obstruction.
Then of course bikes often CAN cause damage. The fact that your bikes have not caused any damage so far does not mean that they will not do so in the future.
If there is a valid clause in your tenancy, then if you breach it, the landlord’s main remedy is to claim the cost of any damage done to the property as a result, from your deposit when you leave.
Which, if they have not caused any damage, will not be a problem for you.
However, if you want to stay at the property long term, it may be wise to reach some kind of agreement with your landlord. As otherwise he may decide he does not want you to stay at the property beyond the current fixed term.