Lodger or AST

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    Lodger or AST

    Hi

    I am new to this so please bare with me.

    My situation is I own a flat which I have been occupying for several years, I rent a room to a relative and 2 years ago I rented out the 2nd room to another man, I was occupying the 3rd room, making it 3 of us sharing.

    I have another property, which I spent time at and also spend time at my girlfriend's place.

    After about 2 months of the man moving in, he started claiming job allowance and housing benefit (which doesn't come to me directly), recently he moved in with his son who is age 15, he stated that he knows he is not allowed, but he will go to the council to get another place, but for that I will need to give him a written notice.

    I stated that me giving him a notice won't make a difference and he wouldn't be housed straight away, since then he said he would be at my place by law, because he is now a AST, since I haven't lived at the flat consistently (clearly he has been getting legal aid, because I wasn't even aware of this). Even though I have another place, I am registered electorally at the flat and have been paying council tax and utility bills at the flat.

    I have had reason to believe he is a lodger, so after about 6-7 weeks to which he hasn't also paid me, I manage to be in at a time he and his son wasn't around, then I changed the lock on the door (informed the police) and gave one a key to my relative who has consistently been living their through the whole tenancy.

    The council now called me saying they could potentially take me court for illegal eviction if I don't let the man back into the property, they said they have reason to believe I haven't also been at the property throughout his tenancy, therefore I need to apply for section 21 in other to evict him.

    Now my question is I always believe if you share with a landlord or their relative/family you are still a lodger. Is this correct? if it is correct then what does the relationship with the relative/family have to be.

    Otherwise I would be in a grey area of AST/Lodger, which if it goes to court would cost me and I believe since the man is on benefit he can claim legal aid, which in a sense would cost him nothing, also what are the council actual rights?


    Thanks for taking the time to read this and any feedback is much appreciated.

    Notes on things he has done:

    The man has left the room in a state that I can't even get emotional about anymore it's filthy, when this whole episode is over I would need change everything in the room, he as also shouted at me and called the police, the police came and I played them the recording of him shouting, to which they gave him a warning not to harass me, also when his son came to the door to open, I told him I have changed the locked, he banged on my door and said "I am f**** dead" again I recorded but I haven't called the police just yet.



    #2
    You are a resident landlord per the Housing Act if the dwelling-house was and remained your only or principal home throughout the entire occupation. Even for a lodger, you would have needed to give reasonable notice for them to leave.

    Whether you were or were not a resident landlord would turn on the facts of the case, and something for the court to decide if it get that far.

    Spend a little money and seek specialist legal advice on your position.
    I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

    Comment


      #3
      There is very little chance of legal aid for a property dispute.

      If you simply locked the person out, it's probably an illegal eviction even if they're a lodger, if you didn't give them notice.

      I would stop doing things and then asking for advice and start asking for advice before doing things.
      Talk to a solicitor if you are concerned.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        All he would have done / gotten so far is advice and help from council housing advice, Shelter, CAB etc. There's no court case yet, so legal aid wouldn't have come into it. Illegal eviction cases are one of the few remaining area where one can get legal aid for though, so if he is serious about claiming that you've legally evicted him, then yes he could apply for legal aid. He may or may not get it even if he is finanically eligible. State of legal aid is a bit of a shamble for years.
        I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

        Comment


          #5
          Would have been ideal if the relative who lives there full time had taken him on as their lodger, bit late now mind.
          "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

          What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

          Comment


            #6
            Please complete and paste https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...ll-new-posters for this person's occupation.
            IMO You may have been a resident LL initially, but once you move out for say a 1 month holiday, you are entitled to move back in, but may not claim resident LL status, subject to Judge's ruling.

            Comment


              #7
              Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

              England

              Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

              Room - sharing kitchen and bathroom

              Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

              1/May/2017

              Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

              3 Months

              Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?

              Per month

              Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

              NO

              Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).

              NA

              Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?
              Yes



              ----

              Also further to this I received a email from the "Housing needs team" and in the email it stated that the man categorically stated that I haven't been living at the property, so due that fact they believe that I don't reside at the property, thus it will be an Unlawful eviction, which pretty much means they are only going by what he said, which is not true.

              They asked if I would I be willing to work with the man to resolve this (which I reluctantly agree to because I don't want to come across as unreasonable), I said I will be ok for him to come back but I can't allow his son who has threatened me back in. They agreed that it's reasonable, and they tried to get hold him to let him know that I am willing to give him access back in the flat, but he never responded to them since Friday, I also contacted him several times over the weekend but he didn't respond to me either.


              This morning I called the housing team again to inform them that the man didn't respond to me and also to let them know that I find it strange that they are only going by his words, when I can show proof that I have been living in my own private property and the other person living their can also vouch for this, but for some reason the housing team rep tried to bounce it back saying, asking do I want to go down the legal route (because what I am saying isn't going to help the situation). Although the housing team rep himself admitted that he also find it strange the man has gone off grid (for someone that is homeless) and hasn't responded to them or me since Friday.

              I also spoke to Citizen Advice explaining the situation and they said that the 3 months fixed term agreement I did with the man had expired, so yes what I did was legal by changing the locks, given the fact that I already gave him 4 weeks notice (now running to 7 weeks).

              I have a feeling the Council Housing Team are trying to strong arm me (with potential legal threats) because I don't believe they actually have any evidence that I stay anywhere else, by not accepting that I live at my own property, because them accepting that means that my action was indeed legal and the onus will now be on the council to find the man a shelter straight away.

              I just want the man and his stuff gone, I don't even want the owed rent anymore.. I still have to fork out more money to renovate the room and part of kitchen and bathroom he has damaged.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by mariner View Post
                Please complete and paste https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...ll-new-posters for this person's occupation.
                IMO You may have been a resident LL initially, but once you move out for say a 1 month holiday, you are entitled to move back in, but may not claim resident LL status, subject to Judge's ruling.
                I have never lived out of the property for more than a month, I might go to my gf for a week and then head back to my place and I have been on occasional holiday but nothing longer than 2 weeks maximum.

                Comment


                  #9
                  It's a judge that decides if it's your principal private residence, not you, at any possible illegal eviction or deposit protection penalty case hearing
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the response.
                    So is it only the man that can pursue the case against me whether it's my principal private residence or can the council also do so?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The council would have to take action as the charge is raised in a magistrate's court.
                      Theoretically, the police also could, but doesn't happen.

                      The council will do almost anything to get out of taking you to court, though.
                      It costs them a lot of money and they don't always win.

                      The tenant could sue you for damages as a result of the action, but, without a decision about the illegal eviction it's not particularly easy.

                      I'd take legal advice, If you gave the tenant proper notice before changing the locks, I think you're fine.
                      You only have one principle residence at any one time, and I'd say it was this one, unless there's any claim to be made it's somewhere else.

                      Moving out for a time or staying away for periods doesn't stop somewhere being your "home".
                      People work all week in one place, but "live" somewhere different at the weekends.

                      I'd question whether a) you should take the person back or b) that the council would do anything if you don't.
                      But get a propert opinion from someone who isn't on a forum.
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yeah I will definitely contact a specialist on this one.. also I really appreciate the feedback also from the members have given so far thanks.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by BruceHumble View Post
                          he stated that he knows he is not allowed, but he will go to the council to get another place, but for that I will need to give him a written notice.
                          Be very careful. This could be seen as collusion to avoid intentional homelessness.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            He was trying to use his kid to get a council place, but the council have now told him his kid can't stay in my place and he would also need to find himself a place. So I should let him back in today, he is still adamant that I will have to give him 2 months notice once I let him back in my flat, which is making me more reluctant to let him.

                            I just don't feel like I have enough time to make informed decision, I haven't been able to speak to a specialist, I do have an appointment with one tomorrow for a consultation, in the meantime I will just have to let him in. Much to the dismay of me and my relative.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              If your position is that he was a lodger, then don't let him back in. If you let him back in, aren't you effectively saying to the council that he was a tenant?
                              I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                              Comment

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