HELP! I've become a landlord by accident....

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    HELP! I've become a landlord by accident....

    Hi guys,

    This may be one of the weirder situations you hear, please take a look and I'd appreciate if anyone can provide any form of guidance....

    1. I applied and was granted an Order for Sale on a residential property I own with my ex, as she was refusing to sell it despite it being empty
    2. During proceedings, my ex placed an occupant in the Property without my notice or consent
    3. A week ago I went to the Property to prepare it for sale, only to find it occupied and in a horrific state
    4. The occupant says my ex gave her permission, and that she has an "informal agreement" and has paid a deposit/rent
    5. My ex says the occupant has paid no such deposit/rent, but that she did give consent

    I am now in the situation whereby I have sole conduct of the Property, and supposedly vacant possession as of the start of December, yet the occupant is claiming they won't leave without me evicting them....I called the police and they said it's a civil matter, won't help.

    They can produce no evidence of a tenancy agreement or proof of payments for rent/deposit.

    I am considering issuing proceedings to enforce my Order for Sale on the occupant for trespass, as she was a "guest" on the Property with consent from me ex, who can no longer provide consent due to the Order for Sale, does this sound reasonable?

    I seem stuck between a rock and a hard place, I can't issue a Section 21 because she has been in the Property less than 1 month and obviously I have no deposit/EPC etc, and I seemingly can't issue a Section 8 because nothing in the "grounds" accounts for a legal Order already existing saying it should be empty....

    It's worth noting I gave no permission to let it out, as joint owner, and we only hold a standard mortgage, we have no consent to let from our lender.

    Does this supposed informal tenancy between my ex and this person override my Order for Sale? Am I now a landlord by accident?!

    offfff one of the more challenging cases i've seen on here, I would suggest the first thing is (beyond the madness of your ex's actions) find out if you can what communication in writing your ex has given the tenant.

    If there is no paper work then this will / could have an influence on the type of agreement. if there is no paper agreement BUT there is an agreement then there is a statute AST which i think falls into place.

    But seeing as you both own it i can't see how one person alone can simply rent it out without your consent.

    Like I say a tricky one, the more knowledgable heads should be along shortly


      Thanks, she has acted erratically for a long time and this was a blatant attempt to obstruct the Order for Sale, neither she nor the Occupant (her friend) are willing to hand any paperwork over, so I have no proof of any tenancy or money changing hands. I'm unsure if my Order for Sale over-rides the tenancy (if in place...). I think my only choice is to apply to enforce the Order to rattle them and see what falls out....

      I've had no involvement in the agreement and provided no consent, so I'm unsure if that has any effect on its validity, I'm also unsure if I can even evict her as technically I'm not the person who entered into the agreement, but now I have overriding ownership of the Property...


        Nice one. Good example of how the law that is there to - supposedly - protect tenants, ends up destroying lives. So this "tenant" has an agreement which says that they pay no rent?

        Did the order for sale specifically say that wife had to provide vacant possession - if so I would go back to court to state that she has deliberately acted to frustrate a court order. Either way I think your first port of call must be the court that granted the order for sale. Effectively she herself (or via this proxy tenant) is refusing to leave the property to allow a sale.

        There is nothing to say that you cannot sell it with the "tenant" in place though. Did the court specify how the sale was to take place, and do you have permission to bid on it yourself? Your wife may be acting to artificially suppress the price so that she can buy it herself.

        If your wife is very likely to be unable to bid on a sale you could put it up for auction and buy it yourself at the (likely) suppressed price.

        If your wife remains an owner I cannot see how you can proceed to unilaterally evict anyway.


          Originally posted by hybrice View Post
          but now I have overriding ownership of the Property...
          This makes no sense to me. The court was ordering a sale (and that you would have control over that sale) not that you should own the property. Who will get the proceeds of the sale? Surely your wife remains an owner until the sale takes place.


            Hi Andrew,

            I have no evidence of the verbal/written agreement, so I don't know what was agreed, either way - I'm paying the mortgage, council tax, bills and the rest solely, the occupant (and my ex!) is paying nothing, and has provided no evidence of paying anything.

            Yes, exactly that, the order clearly states that "the property is to be sold forthwith" and that "The Defendant (my ex) is to provide the Property to The Claimant (me) with vacant possession forthwith" so she is in breach of that requirement, as of 12th December.

            I already have a sale agreed, and need this person out of the Property, however, my ex intentionally allowed them access a week before the final hearing, meaning they entered officially before an order was made, complicating everything...

            I'm tempted to apply to enforce the order whilst simultaneously applying for a Possession Order for trespass, as my ex can no longer provide the occupant consent, and they've provided no evidence of an agreement or monies paid, is this reasonable?>


              I get the proceeds, due to her reluctance to deal with the Order for Sale, it was awarded as costs against her.


                Agreed that the story sounds odd.

                Not being a lawyer I would say that if no rent has been paid then the person in residence is just a guest and not a tenant.

                There again you only have your ex's word for that; so you need to be very careful what you do now.


                  There is some information in

                  Whether was a joint tenancy or tenancy in common before the forced sale may be relevant.

                  If there is a valid sub-let, removing the occupiers,other than through the courts, could be a criminal offence. If there is no tenancy, you may be able to simply change the locks, assuming you have the keys. As such, it is rather important to know which. The occupier may well call the police, even in the second case, and you need to be sure of your position.


                    Agreed, I've been advised to issue a Letter Before Action requesting proof of payments etc. Before issuing proceedings.



                      It's a joint tenancy, 50/50. I tried having the police remove them but they were unwilling, saying it's a civil issue.

                      My plan is to go "by the book", if no tenancy can be proved then file for a Possession Order for trespass, also enforcing the Order against the ex.


                        Wow, i can see why she is an Ex - If she will tell you nothing and her ''' tenant '' is in the plan with her then i see no way for you to find out what has been agreed (if anything), the friend could simply be doing this to stop any sale out of loyalty to her friend and spite to you, either way i think the courts have to be your next port of call and a property solicitor as well, she sounds nuts.


                          Who says this is a tenancy agreement. Your wife agreeing to have a friend stay in a house she owns is not a tenancy agreement and you have no evidence there is such an agreement. What if you were to try to move in yourself (without evicting)? On what basis would you be excluded? That might force the production of evidence of an agreement and the timing/terms of that agreement.

                          Your wife says there is no rent or deposit - do you have that in writing. An AST is a contract - so what is the consideration here?


                            Wow, awful situation, #AndrewDod 's suggestion to move in yourself sounds like a good idea but may not be practical, perhaps a local biker gang might appreciate some temporary free accommodation ?
                            But more seriously can you talk to the occupant ? Offering them a cash incentive to disappear will likely be cheaper in the long run......



                              Unfortunately, this is not practical (though I like your style lol) as I live on the opposite side of the country now. I have it in writing from my ex that "she has paid £0 so far", which I have incorporated into Witness Statement - but the occupant is stating she has paid (but has provided no evidence) - although this may be because she knows the score if she says she hasn't - she is "that" type of occupant...

                              My plan is:
                              1. Letter Before Action requesting details of agreement and payments made prior to 12th December (effective date of vacant possession order)
                              2. If no response file N244 claim for enforcement of order against the ex, and N5/N121 claim for Possession Order for Trespass against the occupant
                              3. If they provide convincing evidence of an agreement and payments, simply apply to enforce the Order.

                              My issues is - I've sold the Property now, and I'll lose the sale if I can't get her out....

                              What's the point in 6 months of Court action and thousands in fees for an Order for Sale if it means jack?!


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