Problems with Lodger

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    Problems with Lodger

    Hi all,
    I would appreciate if you could share your collective wisdom to let me know if I am acting correctly.

    My brother and I both own an apartment (our names are both on the mortgage and either both or one of us on the bills). My brother lives in the apartment but I do not. My brother and I agreed that he would find the lodger and I would take care of agreements and rent.

    We have put a lodger in my room. The lodger has use of the room and because we have two bathrooms, we have designated one of those for use by the lodger, to make the apartment more appealing. Neither the bedroom or the bathroom the lodger uses have locks on. The lodger shares commons areas with my brother: kitchen, living room, hallway, balcony. The lodger pays a fixed amount each month (to me) which includes all the bills. Originally I drafted a "lodger agreement" to set out basic rules, rent payable and the start and end date of the agreement, termination and both my brother and I appear as listed landlords. I don't think its the best document and perhaps I have made syntax mistakes but I have come to understand from reading the forum, that it is the nature of the agreement, not the written agreement itself that often defines the situation.

    My brother and the lodger do not seem to get along. The lodger agreement has since expired. I was slow to renew it. I contacted the lodger and explained that we would like to offer to renew the agreement for 2 months, unless they wish to leave earlier, as my brother and I feel it's best if everyone leaves amicably and on good terms. Everyone should feel comfortable in their own home but I also wanted to give her longer to find somewhere to live. The lodger refused and asked for 6 months. I have spoken to them again and explained that's not possible. In return I received a tirade of complaints concerning my brother, things he said, that they felt we were asking them to leave unjustifiably and their intention to 'make official complaints' and 'contact a solicitor' etc.

    I have in all my dealings been polite and tried to be sympathetic.

    I am waiting to hear back if the lodger intends to stay until end of the proposed duration, leave earlier or other. Given her confrontational nature, I am tempted to give her reasonable notice of 28 days instead, asking her to leave and stating that beyond this time she does not have permission to be there. It's a great source of stress for me.

    My questions to the forum
    (1) Have I made any mistakes with regards to their status as a lodger? Obviously this would effect how I can ask her to leave etc
    (2) After the 28 days have been passed, what is the procedure for changing locks, arranging for the lodger to pick up their belongings and disposal of the belongings if they do not pick them up? For example, at what point can I go in to their room, bag up their belongings and put them outside?

    Many thanks for reading and happy to answer any question that may assist you all in answering.

    #2
    Update: lodger emailed me to give 28 days notice to leave....then followed up minutes later asking to leave end of this month. So I agreed and we confirmed the last day as 31st May.

    Now I get another email complaining that my brother has entered the lodgers room and "violently violated" their privacy, that it's causing emotional stress, that they have gone to the doctor etc etc. The reason the room was entered (and in fact the only reason we have entered unannounced before) was because they had left for work and left their window open. On this occasion , including leaving the front door to the apartment unlocked

    I have replied that they have a duty of care to the apartment to safe guard it's belongings (not just their own) and prevent unnecessary damage and that we have overall responsibility for the apartment including the closing and locking windows and doors. Then i reminded the lodger to close and lock windows/doors.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Finn75 View Post
      My brother lives in the apartment but I do not.
      .
      The lodger pays a fixed amount each month (to me)

      My questions to the forum
      (1) Have I made any mistakes with regards to their status as a lodger? Obviously this would effect how I can ask her to leave etc
      (2) After the 28 days have been passed, what is the procedure for changing locks, arranging for the lodger to pick up their belongings and disposal of the belongings if they do not pick them up? For example, at what point can I go in to their room, bag up their belongings and put them outside?
      To me the fact that he is paying his rent to a person who is not resident in the property says that he has a tenancy and is not a lodger.

      Which means that you will have to serve notice, and if necessary evict, as a tenant and not as a lodger.

      If you just change the locks or otherwise exclude him then it will be an illegal eviction which is a criminal offence and can carry a jail sentence.

      Your best hope is that he does leave on his own on 31 May, but if he doesn't then you will need to give notice and evict as a tenant.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the feedback.
        Given the person has opted to end their stay earlier - and I have agreed to it, is that sufficient?

        Comment


          #5
          Yes, if he leaves when he say he will then there is no problem.

          But if he doesn't then the tenancy doesn't end and you have to give notice/evict.
          (And you may have problems with doing that as presumably you didn't provide all the documentation needed at the start of a tenancy).

          Comment


            #6
            You can never just bag things and leave them outside, unless outside is a secure area, the bags are weatherproof, and the contents are immune from extremes of temperature.

            If there is a tenancy, the tenancy is an excluded one, because a family member lives there, which gives you more rights than would an AST. I seem to remember that the eviction rules are much the same as for lodgers.

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you leaseholder64 - I do not believe there is anything more than a excluded one, if not a lodger. For exactly the reason you have said that my brother lives there and also owns the apartment.

              Comment


                #8
                The problem that there seems to be now, is the lodger feels grievance that we had to close her window and lock the front door after she left, without asking permission to enter her room. And now she is threatening to "take it further".

                Comment


                  #9
                  Just inform her she is in breach of the implied term that as a lodger she will ensure the property remains secure by closing windows and ensuring doors are locked. Advise she is very lucky there was not a burglary because she has invalidated the insurance by doing so . . . and that she's lucky you don't take it further
                  Of course the grown up thing to do is just ignore.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I thought it might be helpful to share case law that I have found that covers multiple landlords. When establishing if someone is an excluded occupier, it's sufficient if one of the two (or more) joint landlords shares the accommodation. The case law is Cooper v Tait (1984).

                    Comment

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