Help required from renter

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    Help required from renter

    I am hoping that someone can help.

    I have lived in a top floor flat above my landlady/landlord for 7 years. I do not share any facilities (my flat has a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room). There is a lock on the door to my flat.

    Since my landlord passed away (3 years now) I have been helping out my landlady who is frail and in her 90s. I have walked the dog, provided assistance when required, help in the garden. My landlady’s son has approached his sister insisting that my rent be increased. My landlady’s daughter has advised her brother that she won’t agree to it, as it potentially risks me moving out and getting a new tenant. He is proposing this increase in the same week I agreed to help out his mother a little more (his behaviour has recently resulted in his mother’s part time carer leaving). I like to help out as I believe in treating others as I would like to be treated and I admire and love my landlady.

    On principle, I will be saying no to the increase should he decide to push ahead and not take the advice of his sister. On a side note I have paid my rent in full and on time every month I have lived here. I have been living in the flat nearly a decade now.

    I have a few questions

    1) what type of tenancy do I hold?
    2) what rights does it afford me
    3) if I refuse the increase what action can he take?

    Thank you in advance.

    Bennu

    #2
    1. What does your agreement say, it sounds like an AST as you do not share facilities and their is a lock on the door.
    2. AST much stronger rights eg they must go to court to obtain permission to remove you, if lodger just give notice
    3. He can start eviction proceeds (can start any time) but to be honest more problematic for him would be if you withdrew help for his mum. It also depends on what power he has, is he the owner, what relationship does his sister act in this ?

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Blinko, the contract states that it is an agreement on a tenancy for that, and that I have possession of the flat and access to it at all time. It is not very long at all and does not specifically mention an AST.

      My landlady’s children have POA (joint I believe). They were not the ones who issued the agreement. This was issued by her late husband.

      I could withdraw the offer of help, but that would hurt my landlady and that is something I want to avoid. I don’t want her be a pawn in this dispute should it come to pass. She deserves better than that.

      Comment


        #4
        Do you have a written tenancy agreement, and if so, who is named on it as landlord?
        Who do you pay the rent to?

        1) I suspect you have an AST. Do you have to travel through your landlord's property to come in and out of your own?
        2) If it is an AST, it means that anyone who wanted to evict you would have to take you to court to do so if you decided you didn't want to leave. But eventually your landlord would probably be able to evict you.
        3) Unless he's actually your landlord, he can't do anything. Whoever is your landlord can serve notice to increase your rent and you would have to go to a rent tribunal and argue that it was above market rent, otherwise you would have to pay the new rent.
        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
          Hi JP Keats and thanks,

          I have to go through the hallway of my landlady’s home to access my flat. My tenancy agreement states I will have access at all times. My late landlord was the initial signatory on the agreement. I pay my rent into my landlady’s bank account each month by bank transfer from my own.

          Comment


            #6
            How have you been paying rent? Hopefully bank transfer or some other way which allows you to prove you paid.

            As above AST. Needs court to evict you. Any issues call Shelter 0808 800 4444 or police.

            Keep a written log of any harassment and any evidence.
            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
              Hi JP Keats, i pay via a bank transfer. Whilst I don’t have much law experience, I have started to retain an audit trail of any WhatsApp messages asking for help etc and will start keeping a log of any potential harassment. Thanks again for your help.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Bennu View Post
                I have to go through the hallway of my landlady’s home to access my flat.
                That's the space you share with your landlord.
                It's possibly still an AST, but it may not be.
                Your landlord would have to be pretty sure before trying to evict you, though.

                If you want to be more sure, talk to Shelter, they have a free helpline and are very helpful.
                They are usually quite busy, so be prepared to be patient.

                My late landlord was the initial signatory on the agreement.I pay my rent into my landlady’s bank account each month by bank transfer from my own.
                I think the reality is that your landlady is your landlord, but, unless that was communicated formally - and it is an AST - it might make it more difficult to put the rent up or evict you.

                I suspect that your rent is below the market rate (although you are obviously doing work in addition to help your landlady) and it may be that you will have to pay a little more?

                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
                  1) I think you may be either a lodger or an occupier with basic protection, depending on whether the building is converted.
                  2) Not very much. You can be given short notice and are not protected by the Covid legislation.
                  3) They could evict but may not.

                  Why do you refuse the increase?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I would be refusing the increase as I have been helping my landlady out for several years, and not requested payment. This enables a saving of around £150-200 per month to them. It would also be disrespectful as he has recently requested further help from me at the same time as potentially raising my rent.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Do you have direct access to the rest of the landlady's home from the hall or does she have a locked door? If the former given LLs vulnerable state it would put her at risk if they let it to a stranger. Might be worth slipping it into the conversation with daughter who seems to be rather more concerned about her mum's welfare than the son. I'm sure she appreciates everything you're doing.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        royw , I can access my landlady’s home. Which is good as there has been quite a few times I have had to help her after falling. If her son does decide to proceed with the rent increase I will be outlining the benefits of my rent remaining and the risk a new tenant could potentially bring. I have also been self isolating, my role as a graphic designer means I can work from home and have been doing so for five years now. Her daughter is standing firm on my rent remaining given the support I have given. I suspect her son is more concerned with his inheritance. It is really sad.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          There might be another route if he does go ahead with it. Anyone with POA has to act in the person's best interest and letting a stranger into her home for a higher rent is in his best interest not hers. I'm not sure what the process is.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            royw that is an interesting point you raise about the POA. Thanks a bunch

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by royw View Post
                              There might be another route if he does go ahead with it. Anyone with POA has to act in the person's best interest and letting a stranger into her home for a higher rent is in his best interest not hers. I'm not sure what the process is.
                              Yes, that's an excellent point. My brother and I have POA for our Mum and we have to put her best interests first, which can be surprisingly difficult at times because we've had to make decisions that wouldn't have been her first choice eg moving into a home. To change from you to another tenant would, probably, be a major upheaval for her at her age. Might this tip her over into dementia? When my Mum fell in her own home and had to go into hospital the change in her was almost immediate and she never went home. What seems to be a fairly normal change to us younger people can have a severely detrimental effect on an older person.

                              Comment

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