Landlord refusing to provide tenancy agreement/proof of adress

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    Landlord refusing to provide tenancy agreement/proof of adress

    Hello, I found this forum a few days ago and thought it might be a good place to ask for advice since it seems very active, although I'm not 100% my question is pertinent to the topic of the forum or I'm posting in the right section, so forgive me if that's the case.

    I'm an EU national and came here as a student, living in halls, last year. This summer I decided to take a year out due to financial and health reasons. So just to clarify I'm not considered a student at the moment from a financial or legal standpoint. Anyway, what happened was that at that point I wanted to find a room in a house with other professionals, obviously. I found one but at the last moment they found someone they liked better, I guess, so that fell through. So I was in a situation where I had 4 days to find somewhere to live, and out of desperation I rented a room from 'a friend of a friend' who offered. At the beginning I was just happy I had somewhere to live, and I was dealing with other problems as I mentioned so even though in the back of my mind I was aware he hadn't made me sign anything I thought he would at some point when I asked him. Now about 2 months ago and 2 months after I had moved in the house, I finally completed the process for taking a year out etc, so I was ready to get a national insurance number, open a bank account, look for a job and get settled in the country. So I started asking him to give me a tenancy agreement in writing. He said 'yes sure, I will email it to you promptly'. Never did. I asked him about five times now. He always says it he's going to bring it over for me to sign next day and then if he comes over he avoids me. First question I have: is it legal for him not to give me a tenancy agreement? Unfortunately I think it is because we can just have an oral agreement, is that right?

    I'm aware even if he did give me an agreement, since it's just between private people and there isn't an agency involved it wouldn't necessarily be a valid proof of adress for banks. However for the national insurance number interview they are really adamant that someone basically guarantees for you by saying you live at that adress, in the sense that they even say on their website, if you're staying at a friend/relative's house, like many people do when they first come to the UK, have them write you a letter confirming you are their guest and you intend on living here, so I really think they would accept a private contract as valid, or in any case they want word by my landlord/agency/friend whoever gives me a shelter that I live here.

    Now I'm not sure why he doesn't want to give me a tenancy agreement, I'm sure it's to avoid taxes of some kind and probably because he wants to keep the contract flexible as this house is for sale and he wants to reserve the right to kick us out at any minute should he sell it (although he's a very dodgy person and my instinct tells me he never gives a contract to anyone, according to him he has dozens of houses in London and hundreds of tenants, and I wouldn't be surprised if none of them had a tenancy agreement), can you try to understand his mentality and help me draft at least a letter he would be willing to sign? Since he hasn't been telling me no directly but just avoiding me, maybe he wouldn't say no if i present him with a letter and he just has to sign it. I'm not sure what I should say in the letter though, if it's just a letter saying I live here as his tenant do you think he'd be willing to sign it more than a letting agreement? I mean is it 'less serious' and so maybe 'less dangerous' for him than a tenancy agreement would be, because probably he fears HMRC knowing I live here when I go for my National Insurance Number Interview? Should I go to the extreme of asking if I could just say he is a family friend and I'm staying at his as a guest and having him sign a letter stating that? I'm not happy at all at the prospect of doing that of course, my family gave him a lot of money for rent and it's outrageous that I have to say I'm here as a guest. Also I don't want to do anything illegal. However I'm desperate. I'm not even that worried about finding proof of adress for banks, nin etc., I can probably find alternative ones or I'll just have to wait until I move out of here for my nin (sigh), what I am the most worried about is proving that I've been in this country for the past four months in the future, since i didn't have a job (my parents were supporting me until I found one) and I can't produce any proof of the fact that I've been living in this house. I don't want to leave here until I have proofs. After Brexit I want to apply to stay here, so I will have to prove I've been in the country for 5 years continuously without leaving for more than 180 days in a year. So if I can't prove I've been here these past 4 months this year and the previous one won't count and I will have to start counting from scratch. (Unfortunately I went home for 2 weeks this summer just before I moved here and I was so stupid to throw away the airplane tickets, so there's no proofs I ever came back).

    Last thing I should point out, all the bank transfers to the landlord for rent are in my father's name unfortunately, since he was paying for it, so I'm not sure I can use those as proof of anything either.

    I know my situation is about more than rental law and so maybe not a perfect fit for this forum, but any help you would give me would be greatly appreciated. I've never been more stressed in my life and I don't sleep at night.

    ​​​​​Thank you so much if you read until the end too.

    If I were you, I would look for somewhere else to live, and move out as quickly as you can.

    Have you registered at a doctor? Do you have any letters that's sent to this address? Keep as much evidence for proof as you can. Have friends that can back up that they know you at this address? Keep in contact with them. EU national can vote in EU elections. Obviously none are scheduled before Brexit, so you may not have cared, but have you registered to vote at this address? Things like that.
    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.

    I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.


      Hi, you don't need to sign anything for there to be a tenancy, as long as there is proof you are living at the address and are paying rent.

      However in practice I would agree the situation is not ideal, and I would be looking to somewhere a bit more offical as soon as possible, if you have not paid deposit, then there shouldn't be anything that tie you down to the house.


        You could try asking the landlord to sign a letter to prove you are a tenant. If he refuses to sign it then you know for sure where you stand with him.

        I don't think you should ask the landlord to pretend you were staying as a guest, it isn't worth the risk and could make things a lot worse if it is found out.

        You don't need a written tenancy agreement to have a tenancy. A verbal agreement is just as valid. However obviously there is the problem of proof. Your tenancy arises automatically because you have lived there and paid rent. If your father has a bank statement showing the proof of bank transfers paying the rent on your behalf then your father could write a letter to confirm he has been paying the rent on your behalf.

        If you look on the land registry website you can find out who legally owns the house and get proof of this from the land registry. Hopefully you will find that the landlord is listed as the person owning the house!
        Go to:

        You need the title register, the costs is £3.

        Then if you have any letters sent to you at this address, especially anything like bills, what about mobile phone bill? Then you have 3 things to show you are living there as a tenant. Proof of who owns the house, proof your father has been making regular payments to the owner of the house and proof you have been living there as you have had letters sent there.

        Looking ahead you could even write a letter to yourself and send it to yourself at your address. Send it by recorded delivery. Make sure you are there at home when it arrives so you can sign to receive the letter. Don't open the letter, keep it as proof for the future. After you have received the letter you can go to the Royal mail website and there you will find a copy of the receipt you signed when the letter was delivered. At least that will show you were at the house to receive the letter on that date. It all helps to build the case.

        You may need an advisor to help support you in making your case. I think the Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to point you in the right direction. They should also be able to help advise you with any problems with your landlord and they may be able to try to persuade your landlord to write a letter confirming your tenancy for the last 4 months. The risk is however that your landlord may not be happy about this. But he can't just throw you out. He needs to get a court order to do so. Be sure to send the letter to yourself and take photos/video of yourself and your belongings in your room and photo of yourself entering the house using your keys! Then if he tries to make you leave illegally you can show all of this evidence to the police.


          Please complete & paste what you can of

          My guess is that your 'LL" is illegally sub-letting to help with his rent and wants to keep a low profile.
          As a non-EU national, has your LL done the Right to Rent checks with you?
          If you share with the 'LL' you may be just a lodger, not a T.


            OP is an EU national. This looks like an illegal HMO to me.


              Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
              This looks like an illegal HMO to me.
              On what basis?

              It may be that OP is a lodger, not a tenant; we need to know more about the living arrangements.


                Originally posted by MdeB View Post

                On what basis?

                It may be that OP is a lodger, not a tenant; we need to know more about the living arrangements.
                The OP says that this is a room in a house, and also says that the landlord claims to be operating many properties. I suppose it could be the exceptional property where the landlord is actually resident, but boasting of lots of properties just feels like how an under the radar HMO operator would speak. You'd expect them to think they have hoodwinked the authorities and could operate lots of places with no come back.


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