my lodger is taking legal action against me. What to do?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    my lodger is taking legal action against me. What to do?


    P - lodger (NOT tenant)

    Moved in 09.02.2020

    L- second lodger.

    AJ - landlord living in with my partner C. Renting out the spare rooms in their own home to get some extra income. Sharing facilities - kitchen, bathroom, living room, garden, bathroom.


    A mutual verbal agreement between P and AJ -renting a room for £375 per month, deposit £150.

    First-month rent was paid in cash and second month and deposit paid in bank. Deposit and full second month returned to P on the day he moved out.



    Long story short I and my partner decided to quarantine the home as COVID 19 started to spread and as P could not do it, we made him understand that it is a risk for our health being for him to be in our home, as my partner has a preexisting condition of having collapsed lung in the past.

    Lots of arguing in between all of us… moving forward.

    He asked how long notice I give him and I said as soon as he finds something he should move but while he is here we will feel unsafe. He found somewhere to stay 2 days after, he asked full month money back, deposit, and payment for wardrobe he bought and moved out with arranging with me that he will pick his stuff whenever he finds a permanent place. It was fine by me, I paid him all that day and he left but kept the house keys. which I told him was not appropriate anymore because he does not live here anymore. But he said he needs the keys to later get his belongings.

    Few weeks in, he wanted to come in our home to collect his belongings, but I told him that we are in quarantine and I will pick his belongings and leave outside.

    He was pressuring me so much that he has the right to enter the property and if I will not let him he will call the police. I refused to let him in and I asked him which part of ‘stay home’ he does not understand, does he thinks he can enter other people’s homes?

    Moving forward I received the letter from his solicitors


    The Summary of a letter sent from his solicitors in accordance with the PDPAC contained with civil procedures rules CPR.

    Legal position

    They claim he had exclusive possession of his room of fixed-term agreement for 12month - street v Mountford 1985

    Claims that I did not provide notice according to housing act 1988 schedule 2 sections 8, by giving 28 days notice.

    Claims that he is entitled of protection from eviction Act 1997

    Claims that we breached of protection from harassment act 1997 by telling him that we do not feel safe while he is here and sending him numerous links about coronavirus.

    Breach of tenancy deposit protection, he wants a 3month deposit, total 450 pounds.


    Loss and damage

    Damages for breach section 27 of the housing act 1988

    Compensation for the distress caused by illegally evicting him what caused him to be homeless.

    I have illegally evicted him during the government introduced emergency COVID 19 legislation, therefore, Client would reserve the rights to claim for aggravated damages

    He’s losses is estimated between 5-7k plus costs.


    Action required

    To confirm that I accept the liabilities.

    Response by 20.04.2020 with the offer in respect of compensation.

    If not they will seek the following orders against you
    1. An injunction requiring to let him back in property and to prevent you from harassing him
    2. A banning order for breaching Protection from eviction act 1997
    3. A rent repayment order pursuant to section 40 of the housing and planning act 2016
    4. An order for general and special damages in respect of your action and to compensate him his losses and distressed caused at this unpreceded time
    5. A full report of the above incidents will also be provided to police and local council






    #2
    Tell them you'll look forward to their court submissions, police report and council referral.

    If he returns, call the police.

    Comment


      #3
      Get your locks changed.

      Comment


        #4
        I have changed my locks. But should I ignore the letter from his solicitors and wait for court?

        Comment


          #5
          You should probably reply. If only to point out how bad some of their points are. I would suggest getting a lawyer to do so if you are able to do so during these times.

          a) There was no illegal eviction as he left after you reached an agreement including paying his Feb rent back etc.
          b) Whether he had exclusive possession, which you dispute, as a lodger the occupation cannot be an assured (shorthold) tenancy so deposit protection doesn't apply.
          c) As a household with someone at increased risk from coronavirus, the course of conduct was entirely reasonable.
          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.

          Comment


            #6
            I have made an inquiry to couple of legal services, and hopefully, I will get some response after bank holidays.
            Thank you, everyone, for the advice, it does make me feel better that I do have my rights.

            Comment


              #7
              Yes, point out that he was a lodger, not a tenant, so they are barking up the wrong tree. Also refer them to the noted case of Arkell and Pressdram (1971).

              Comment


                #8
                Hi the only way this would backfire on you in my view is if you actually were living at your partners and you decided to return to the house with your partner to isolate. I'm not suggesting this was the case but if it is then you need to deal with this in a different manner as he might have a claim as a tenant not a lodger.

                If you were indeed living there full time and your partner does not have another house that someone can argue you were living at then you seem to be on safe ground. In future it definately makes sense to have a lodger agreement (formal) not verbal as I doubt the solictor would have written you that letter if the tenant had shown the solictor the lodger agreement. You might also find depending on the age and experience of the lodger they do not actually realise the difference between being a tenant and a lodger. If you and your partner are both registered to vote at the address and on the council tax bill / car insurance / banks accounts etc this will help defend your story to a solictor that has just heard the tenants possibly confused view.

                They might have been explaining the story to someone, who suggested you had broken the law and then found a no-win no-fee type solictor. So the tenant might not be acting with malice he just might just be really annoyed at the situation and not understand the legal side of things...

                I think it's fair to expect the lodger would be upset with the situation as I don't expect anyone was expecting this to happen coupled with your partners previous health condition so try and take this into account.

                Has the lodger now got his things back, if not I would try and arrange to put them in a shed or such but I would not let them back them in case the new lodgings were not working out and they decide to stay. Equally if there are items of a personal or sentimental or expensive nature the lodger may not want you touching them so try and assure them that you will carefully remove and wrap / protect the items. No one will want their goods left out on a step (I'm not suggesting that is the case) so try and be accomodating where you can be given he has just lost his home and may be on someone's couch now who really does not want him there (and equally pushing this legal action). Try and remember it sounds like this all happend in the space of a few days and was not the lodgers fault and they did do the right thing and move out to respect the health issues of your partner.

                As others mention point out to the solictor that this is your 'only' and main residence and he was a lodger not a tenant,,, if it is a no-win no-fee it will probably disappear when they understand they will not be getting a % of the win fee.

                I have no legal training so please take advice before acting on anything I say.

                All the best Stew..

                Comment


                  #9
                  OPs posting are somewhat ambiguous as to whether OP was continuously living there.
                  If OP was not living there we need a lot more details to make sense of it. Did the person have exclusive access to their room? Was there a lock on their door?

                  That said I would not reply to the lawyer other than to state as briefly as possible -- you risk digging a hole otherwise -- "No aspect of your client's case has any merit. I am not intending to expend further time on this frivolous correspondence until and if I receive a statement of claim with supporting evidence.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I am live in landlord and it’s my home since 2018. There are no locks on the doors. There was no verbal agreement that the room will be exclusive. I can access room anytime.
                    I have given him all his belongings back last week.
                    In the solicitors letter he is providing evidence of WhatsApp massages that we have sent him numerous links about covid 19.
                    Also there was massages that he demanded me back the full month pay and deposit, however he have deleted that since.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Save a record yourself of the convo, with it clear that he had deleted messages.

                      How recent was the deletion, do you still have backup of your chat history from before that? Save that somewhere so you can get a copy of the messages pre-deletion if he does get it to court. If you do write back more than how Andrew suggest, you can point out the convenient deletion which you will make sure to draw to the court's attention if he does bring a claim.
                      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.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I cannot see when it was deleted, I just noticed recently when I wanted to save the massages. I saved the rest of the chat though.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Agne View Post
                          Claims that I did not provide notice according to housing act 1988 schedule 2 sections 8, by giving 28 days notice.
                          Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 doesn't have a section 8 relating to notice periods.
                          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


                            #14
                            I think OP means message rather than masssge.
                            Was the OPs occupant a bone fide lodger under prevailing Law?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I don’t think he can be classed as occupant a bone fide lodger under prevailing Law? But I am not entirely sure. He was in our home only 6 weeks.

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              • Reply to Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                                by HobbitShire
                                Sorry but I must reitterate that she DID provide all documents which were initially requested before both parties signed the lease. This new, rigid requirement for a utility bill only came a day before the agreed move-in date.

                                This is not a case of a prospective tenant having no paper trail....
                                20-01-2022, 01:28 AM
                              • Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                                by HobbitShire
                                My partner has recently signed a lease through a well known property agent in London.

                                The lease was also signed by the landlord. References from current + previous employer, landlord, etc, and proof of address were requested before signing, and provided.

                                Upon signing the lease...
                                20-01-2022, 00:57 AM
                              • Reply to Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                                by HobbitShire
                                Firstly, she already provided the previous lease, along with a document from the municipality of Amsterdam stating that she was registered as living there. I paid the bills as we were living together, and she has closed her Dutch bank account (as is required when you are no longer a resident). I'm sure...
                                20-01-2022, 01:11 AM
                              • Reply to Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                                by Jon66
                                No bank statements with the old address on? These are available freely from your online account, or previous utility bills, council tax bills etc. I find it difficult to accept that they are unable to provide something. I would have concerns if you were my prospective tenant. You need to provide the...
                                20-01-2022, 01:02 AM
                              • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                                by minorbark
                                When you put it like that I'm more inclined to edge towards the S21 route regardless. As much as part of me feels some compassion for the guy and doesn't want to lump more stress on top of someone who appears to be struggling already, as has been said before, none of us are acting as a charity.
                                ...
                                19-01-2022, 22:51 PM
                              • Property damaged. Advice please
                                by minorbark
                                Apologies if something similar has already been covered elsewhere. I did try to search but couldn't find anything that matched my situation particularly closely. A huge thanks in advance to any of you who do take the time to read and advise.

                                TLDR version: Police have forced entry into my...
                                18-01-2022, 21:55 PM
                              • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                                by minorbark
                                Thank you.

                                My initial contact with the police was just a phone call to the local station. As I almost half expected they wouldn't give up much info, I didn't particularly push back when they said as much and I left it at that. A formal complaint might fill in a few blanks in the story but...
                                19-01-2022, 22:37 PM
                              • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                                by Hudson01
                                A back door way into finding out what did happen (or more info than you have now), is to ask for a callback from the local PCSO who covers the beat area where the tenant lives (go online and start a live chat), he or she will know far more about your tenant that a faceless comms operator at HQ or anyone...
                                19-01-2022, 22:17 PM
                              • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                                by DoricPixie
                                Just because someone knocks on your door, even if it crescendos to them banging loudly on your door, it doesn’t mean you have to answer it or have to go and investigate.

                                If the tenant suffers from mental health issues and the police were sent round because someone thought the tenant’s...
                                19-01-2022, 21:47 PM
                              • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                                by WebLand
                                From painful personal experience of this issue... You should formally contact the police, ask them why they broke the door down and ask for compensation. Their lawyer will then write to you with some information which may be useful for you to know (but not giving very much detail). I expect they'll...
                                19-01-2022, 21:31 PM
                              Working...
                              X