Help! Sub tenant with no contract eviction rights

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    Help! Sub tenant with no contract eviction rights

    Hi there,

    I moved into a property 2-3 months ago which was subletted to me by a girl named on the main tenancy contract of the property. I handed over a deposit (which is currently unprotected) and have paid rent on time. She today decided to give me notice to leave, giving me only 2 weeks notice to do so, for no good reason.

    Since I moved in she insisted the head landlord would provide a contract for me and I kept asking for this but it never happened.

    Although she is named on the contract, she has been subletting her own room for the entire duration that I have stayed here and living in another property. Whilst I’ve been here 2 different couples have occupied the room already.

    There are 3 rooms here altogether, mine, the couple’s and another guy who is also on the original AST.

    She apparently intends to come back in a month’s time to take back the room.

    As you can imagine, I am extremely confused as to what type of tenant I am as a result and therefore what rights I hold. I am concerned about what may happen come the day she specified as she mentioned forcibly evicting me. I did lodge this with the police in case it is helpful down the line for harassment as I believe she is probably in the wrong here.

    I have cats and it is really stressful as to find somewhere with such short notice in London with pets at a good price is nigh impossible.

    Very grateful for any help with this

    Thank you

    #2
    I should also add that it is not clear whether or not the head landlord knows what she is up to, and none of us have been given his contact details except for his address.

    Comment


      #3
      It's worthwhile checking with your local authority to see if the property (which is an HMO) is one that requires a licence.
      Use their website though, rather than talking to them, just in case.

      My guess is that there isn't much you can do about the notice.
      I don't think you're actually a tenant, although you might possibly be, and, realistically, I'm not sure what would happen if the "landlord" locked you out, for example.
      You might have a right to remain in the property, theoretically, but I'm not sure how helpful that is, in practice.
      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


        #4
        Learn from this experience, as a T you need to know who your giving your money to and if you don't even have a contract I wouldn't have departed with any money (even though legally you don't need one to rent out a property a verbal contract would suffice, but wouldn't recommend going on someone's word over it).

        Comment


          #5
          jpkeates,

          Thanks for the response. Just wondering how I am not a tenant here though? Since there is a verbal agreement, I have been paying rent to her and she does not live in the property.

          Comment


            #6
            You might be a tenant, but it depends on what you are renting and that's not particularly clear in this informal arrangement.

            The issue is practical.
            Let's agree that you are a tenant (because what you are renting is a room with exclusive possession and the other facilities for living are shared).
            The landlord's notice isn't valid and you don't have to leave when it expires.

            I'd guess the landlord isn't reporting their income to HMRC and I'm prepared to bet that the property isn't set up to be a lawful HMO (and it might need licensing in some city regions).

            The landlord is in a bit of a bind.
            What are they going to do when you raise all of these issues?
            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


              #7
              Thanks again for your input. What you described does fit the circumstances of my situation. I am also named on the water bill at the property.

              I also believe you are correct about the HMO, it doesn’t appear to be set up as one whatsoever and I highly doubt she is reporting.

              Not sure what to do at this stage, I am trying to obtain legal advice to get some clarity but I only have 2 weeks so if I did need to move it isn’t enough time.

              Comment


                #8
                I was just going through the text messages I have with her. They include a lot of information about our agreement including that she would chase a contract from the landlord for me which was said several times, that ‘the place is mine now’, that my cats were allowed (she gave an excuse about them when telling me I had to leave), the bills I need to register for i.e. council tax and water, that we each - including me - are responsible for finding the person to occupy the room after us and that is how we would get back our deposits. There are multiple requests from her to come to visit and talk to us. If these things don’t make me a tenant I don’t know what does!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Yasmenaax View Post
                  If these things don’t make me a tenant I don’t know what does!
                  What makes you a tenant is paying rent for exclusive occupation of a residential property. Which could be a room in a shared house.

                  In an HMO, the landlord is responsible for council tax (which might be the ultimate landlord in this case - i.e. the person your landlord is renting from).

                  I'd make the point that you're a tenant in her HMO (if it currently has another two people living there) and that you want the proper formal notice that a landlord has to give - which is currently 4 months (and it's almost impossible for your landlord to meet the requirements to serve valid notice without a lot of admin catch up anyway).

                  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


                    #10
                    Appreciate the clarification, I did do a lot of digging around after you first mentioned exclusive occupation into the laws regarding this so I definitely understand your point there now. And as far as I can tell from that, my being here should constitute the requirements of a (sub)tenancy.

                    Did not know about the council tax responsibility, interesting.

                    I have initiated an investigation with the council into the HMO circumstances. Your advice is much appreciated, thank you! Do you have any sources about the 4 months requirement? Couldn’t find anything online.

                    Thank you

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Yasmenaax View Post
                      I have initiated an investigation with the council into the HMO circumstances. Your advice is much appreciated, thank you! Do you have any sources about the 4 months requirement? Couldn’t find anything online.
                      Assuming that you are a tenant (there's a good checker on the Shelter website - which might be useful to point your landlord at)..

                      There are a number of ways a tenancy can be brought to an end, but for a landlord to end the tenancy, there are only two options (other than by agreement with their tenant).
                      The first is notice under section 8 Housing Act 1988 - this notice has specific grounds that have to be satisfied to make the notice effective.
                      There is no requirement for the tenant to leave when the notice expires and the landlord would then have to take the tenant to court to enforce the notice. The court would test that the grounds are satisfied and would either issue a possession order or not.

                      The most common notice is a section 21 notice, which has no grounds and is simply a notice requiring the tenant to leave. It can only be used when the tenancy is more than four month's old and has to expire after any fixed term of the tenancy.
                      It also has to meet a number of other conditions, one of which is a minimum term - which is normally two months, but is now 4 months, because of Covid regulations.
                      If the notice is valid, the tenant still has a right not to leave and can then be taken to court for a possession order to be awarded.

                      Both notices have to be in specific formats and can only be issued if particular criteria are met.

                      So, as it stands, I don't think a section 8 notice is possible, because I can't see you matching any of the grounds for one.
                      And it's too soon for a section 21 notice, and there are lots of things that a landlord has to have done to be able to issue one (if it's a licensable HMO there has to have a licence, you have to have been given a copy of the property EPC (or at least shown one), there are documents that have to be provided when the tenancy starts and so on). The informal nature of this tenancy makes a valid s21 almost impossible to serve.

                      And, because there's no written rental agreement, any possession process is going to require a court hearing.

                      And if the s21 notice is invalid and the landlord waits for it to expire before they find out, they have to start all over again.

                      All of this is likely to be a shock to your "landlord", but they're not likely to have legal processes in mind when they want you to leave.

                      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


                        #12
                        jpkeates,

                        Thanks for the link, according to the checker I should be one.

                        What you have said makes complete sense, totally agree, and I feel more assured now so thanks again for your help and level of detail into this.

                        I’m also pursuing it with some law firms to be completely on the safe side, mainly to get some agreement on the tenancy aspect.

                        Cheers

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Glad to help.
                          Point your landlord at me or here generally if they want some help themselves.
                          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
                            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                            Glad to help.
                            Point your landlord at me or here generally if they want some help themselves.
                            I will be more than happy to do so!

                            Comment

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