Tenant or Lodger?

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    Tenant or Lodger?

    Hi all,

    I need some advice on whether I am a lodger or a tenant.

    So me and my wife began renting a property a week ago. It was on a casual basis with no contract in place (stupid I know). It is only temporary as we are renovating our place and as there are no walls or heating thought it would be best to move out.

    The landlord expressed that I could "use the house as I wished and there would be no-one else there". As it was only for 3 months I was happy.

    I paid my rent in advance and moved in on 7 Jan 2020.

    A few days after moving in the landlord decided (quite randomly) that I couldn't use the lounge. She also mentioned that on odd occasions she may bring her friends over and, on such occasions, I must only use my room.

    She has now decided that she wants to set up a new AST for a bedroom only in which some of the restrictions are quite ludicrous. She has essentially restricted all my activities and use to my bedroom, the kitchen and the bathroom (I am not allowed any possession anywhere else).

    Note that this is far from what I agreed to and only really went ahead as I wanted access to the house in full like the lounge. She has also stated that she also wants access to the property at all times and can go in and out as she pleases. Initially I asked for a courtesy message just to ensure I/wife was decent - however she refused. I backed down as I didn't want to get thrown out with nowhere to go. At the moment she has at times come in and out 4/5 times a day

    Anyways, she sent through a draft on AST on 15 January and after reading and researching I realised I might have some statutory rights. On the AST she has put the "landlords address" as the rental address I am living at. She obviously does not live here but pays all the bills and council tax. She mentioned she lives with her parents nearby.

    She has also now asked for a deposit (which I am thinking of refusing given that there was no mention of it before).

    My questions are:

    - Even if she is registered as living there (i.e. council tax and bills in her name), am I now classed as a lodger even though in her messages to me it was made clear she was not living there and I would have the property to myself.

    I ask as the rights of a lodger are quite different to that of a tenant. Can she say as such?

    - Can she continue to walk in unannounced? Can she bring around her friends and restrict use of the lounge (I mean legally not practically).

    - Can I refuse to provide a deposit. Should I? She has not mentioned a TDS in the AST.


    Thanks in advance

    #2
    You have occupation and are paying rent so a verbal AST (entirely legal ) tenancy is in place


    But Landlord sounds a devious crook so in your shoes I'd move.
    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


      #3
      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
      But Landlord sounds a devious crook so in your shoes I'd move.

      Tell me about it..

      I am only renting for 3 months max as my current place is getting renovated in full. I honestly have nowhere else to go so am just looking to ride out the next few months.

      I thought I might be a tenant with a verbal agreement. My worry is that she will continue to use the place and have her friends round. Is there anything I can do about this? I do feel rather uncomfortable that she can enter and leave as she wishes, especially with my wife being there alone most days.

      Comment


        #4
        You are probably a tenant and probably have all the normal rights as a tenant.
        But, a lot depends on what you want to do.

        For example, you are liable for the council tax if you're the tenant.
        If you change the locks to keep your landlord out, you'd be within your rights, but what is likely to happen then?
        If you want to stop your landlord entering, how are you going to achieve that practically?
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          You are probably a tenant and probably have all the normal rights as a tenant.
          But, a lot depends on what you want to do.

          For example, you are liable for the council tax if you're the tenant.
          If you change the locks to keep your landlord out, you'd be within your rights, but what is likely to happen then?
          If you want to stop your landlord entering, how are you going to achieve that practically?
          Is this the case even though she mentioned that rent will be inclusive of all bills? I don't want to go down the route of changing the locks. I am happy for her to come and go as she please - but only for her to message or call me beforehand (surely a reasonable request). She has downright refused this as she "feels its inappropriate for her to have to".

          I've added some additional Qs to the original post.

          Comment


            #6
            Don't bank on those 3 months. Most such projects run over and cost over .

            Tell me about it!
            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


              #7
              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
              Don't bank on those 3 months. Most such projects run over and cost over .

              Tell me about it!
              I won't go into the shock I received when realised the costs of fittings lest I hijack my own thread. A topic for another day!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Felics View Post
                Is this the case even though she mentioned that rent will be inclusive of all bills?
                Who's responsible for paying council tax is set by law, you can't decide it in a contract.

                If you're a tenant of the whole property, you're liable.
                If you're a lodger or a tenant of part of the property, your landlord is liable.

                Your "landlord" doesn't know what they're doing and you need to find somewhere else to live.
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                  Who's responsible for paying council tax is set by law, you can't decide it in a contract.

                  If you're a tenant of the whole property, you're liable.
                  If you're a lodger or a tenant of part of the property, your landlord is liable.

                  Your "landlord" doesn't know what they're doing and you need to find somewhere else to live.
                  Understood however this doesnt fit neatly into my situation.

                  From the facts and circumstances I can say I am likely a tenant (and thus liable for Ctax). This is fine as I can avoid paying CTAX on my current place as its undergoing major refurb and therefore can benefit from exemption.

                  Yes she doesn't know what she is doing. I won't go into why I cant find another place to live but that is case. I am just trying to explore my options for living here now.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Nope. If you don't have tenancy on complete property then it is a "HMO for council tax" and landlord is responsible for council tax. E.g. landlord excludes one small room.


                    Very different from usual HMOs.

                    Your landlord hasn't a clue. Wonder what else he's getting wrong - gas safety cert, electric safety, rent declared to taxman, keeping address at property so mortgage company don't realise he's renting it out etc etc
                    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


                      #11
                      I think the problem OP is going to have is proving that the landlord was not and is not also in occupation -- given it is all verbal and only one week. Does the landlord have another primary residence, and where is that?

                      It is perfectly possible for L to ask a lodger if they wish to convert to an AST as L is now departing. Which is what they are now doing.

                      So what PROOF does OP have that distinguishes him from any other lodger - at least for that first week. That fact that L was not there in that first week is hard to prove and is also not relevant (a landlord of a lodger is allowed to be away for a week).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I have a seperate question - under the latest draft of the agreement now sent, the L has asked me to be an excluded occupier.

                        I don't want to be this given the restricted benefits in comparison to a tenant.

                        Legally, if I allow her access does that make me an excluded occupier? I thought I could qualify as a tenant for a room only AST?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Excluded occupiers can be tenants.

                          Being an excluded occupiers is a matter of fact, not what the contract says. I think you need to fill in the standard questionnaire for this forum, which is in one of the sticky posts.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Felics View Post
                            I have a seperate question - under the latest draft of the agreement now sent, the L has asked me to be an excluded occupier.

                            I don't want to be this given the restricted benefits in comparison to a tenant.

                            Legally, if I allow her access does that make me an excluded occupier? I thought I could qualify as a tenant for a room only AST?
                            You haven't attempted to properly answer the question as to where your landlord lives

                            Comment


                              #15
                              not at the address im living at.

                              Comment

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