CAB gave lodger dodgy advice

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  • CAB gave lodger dodgy advice

    You may remember I asked the members for advice about my prospective lodger’s Sky and AOL contracts recently. Anyway, she moved in.

    After three days she said "can I have the key for my bedroom door?". I replied that I don’t lock any bedroom doors. Everyone in the house has been referenced and had identities checked and recorded. She said "I don’t feel safe and I am going to have to move out". I said fine. We agreed that as she’d paid for one week, she’d leave at the end of the week which was Saturday 1 April.

    Saturday came and went and I saw no attempt at moving out and neither was the second week’s rent forthcoming. Every day for the next few days I reminded her about moving out. Somehow I didn’t get a sense that she was doing anything about it. I reminded her that I wanted her to move out and that Saturday 8 April will definitely be her last day.

    She came home on Thursday night and we had a talk. She said "I have received advice from Citizens Advice and they told me that I’m not a lodger I’m a tenant and you must give me four weeks’ notice". I told her that she is a lodger and she simply had a licence to lodge with me and that Saturday 8 April will be the last day I’ll allow access to my home.

    I’m annoyed at her and now I’m annoyed with Citizens Advice. They seem to have given this person misleading information. I don’t believe that she properly explained the nature of our agreement and by her own admission did not show the CAB a copy of her signed licence to lodge.

    Why did the Citizens Advice Bureau wrongly "advise" her that I had to give her four weeks’ notice? I’ve been trying to find any published advice on this matter carrying their name (so far in vain - I may stop at their office instead). I am asking the members for their thoughts on this please.

  • #2
    The trouble with the CAB is that they totally rely on what people say to them - and why not - everyone is entitled to assume they are being told the truth until it is shown otherwise.

    She has obviously given the CAB information which made them suggest she is a tenant rather than a lodger and the absence of showing them the agreement to counter this has only added to the problem.

    I personally would stick to my guns and allow access only until 8th April as stated and ask her to remove her things by then. If she doesn't, then you will have to change your locks and pack her stuff up for her to collect - not a nice scenario, but if thats the way she wants to run things....!

    So far as you are concerned, keep the CAB out of it - it will only complicate matters though be polite and helpful if they do contact you.


    • #3
      Negotiations with local authority

      I have just taken a call from my local authority housing advisor (LAHA).

      The LAHA has been given a copy of the licence to lodge by my lodger. The LAHA confirmed that they understood that my lodger is a lodger not a tenant. We discussed the circumstances leading to my lodger giving verbal notice to leave.

      The LAHA asked if I would consider allowing access to my home by the lodger until Monday 10 April. I refused.

      The LAHA then negotiated that I return the balance of the deposit, which is effectively one week’s rent. I said I would only return the money if the lodger left on Saturday 8 April. I reminded the LAHA that I had incurred additional expense in changing the locks, which amounted to almost a week’s rent anyway.

      To me this was a useful discussion, because it underlined what I have been saying to my lodger, since she said “I don’t feel safe and I am going to have to move out".

      So, it is now evident that the lodger is making alternative arrangements. About time! She’s done nothing to help herself for the last ten days.

      Actually, I suspect that the local authority will view her as being intentionally homeless...


      • #4
        I wouldn't disagree with anything you've said, but I can understand the lodger's wish for a lock on her door, even if she had to pay for it herself. As an employee of CAB, I think they would appreciate a written note from you pointing out that their advice was wrong. As said above, the lodger may well not have told the full story, but if she did, the advisor could give the same wrong advice again. CAB advisors are generalist advisors in most cases rather than specialist, though they have plenty of sources of info to draw on, so should have (and usually do) give the right info - if they are given all the facts!


        • #5

          Having thought about it, I now don’t believe that my lodger visited a CAB office at all.

          When she said "I have received advice from Citizens Advice and they told me that I’m not a lodger I’m a tenant and you must give me four weeks’ notice" - she was merely trying to buy herself four weeks’ accommodation for free. That was never going to happen in my house.

          She left on 8 April as I told her. Thank goodness the inconvenience and bad atmosphere only lasted two weeks.


          • #6
            Not the first time CAB's name has been taken in vain, but I guess it means that most people think we DO give good advice.


            • #7
              And the CAB, like any solicitor or other representative can only give advice on the story they are given unless the advisor possesses the unlikely gift of being able to lie detect!!!


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