Subletting/lodger tenant - what are my rights.

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  • Subletting/lodger tenant - what are my rights.

    Hi all, I need your help as it would appear that I am in imminent danger of losing the home that I have resided at for the past 4.5 years.

    Back ground info is that the property is a housing association property in the name of a family friend. 5 years ago he decided he no longer wanted to live in this country and emigrated overseas leaving me responsible for the property including managing arrears of £2200 and what had now become a very downtrodden property.

    During this period the HA were intent on evicting him both for the rent arrears and what was obvious to them as an absent tenant. Only with my intervention and payment of £1500 to clear the arrears and regular payments over and above the normal rent have matters become quiet on the HA front of late.

    Now, yesterday out of the blue he turns up and serves me 1 month notice to get out of the property. No thank you for keeping up the rent payments or reducing the arrears to a level less than 8 weeks rent, just notice to get out.

    I'm philosophical on these things and appreciate that I have had a reasonable place to stay over the past 4.5 years - even though I've completely redecorated the house from top to bottom.

    My question; do I have any rights whatsoever?

    I have kept records of every payment made and the utility bills are in my name.

    I'm now loathed to continue making payments to the HA but am mindful that this will accelerate eviction and will mean that we are all out of a home. I just feel that it is very unfair but I accept life is not always fair.

    Any thoughts and advice would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    The landlord was not resident, you are therefore a tenant. Your landlord must treat you as a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy. If the landlord wishes to give you notice, it must be at least two months ending at the end of a rent period.

    It was unwise of you to pay rent owing by the previous tenant. You did that voluntarily. Redecorating was also a voluntary action on your part and you are not entitled to be compensated.

    Why have you accepted such a situation?

    I would definitely stop paying rent to the housing association. That has always been your landlord’s responsibility or was that what you both agreed before he emigrated?

    Comment


    • #3
      dilemma of unauthorised sub-tenant

      I do not agree with the previous posting. Continue to pay rent direct to the Housing Association who, by virtue of having accepted rent from you,would seem to have accepted you as a tenant and tell the gentleman who let you in that you are not willing to give up possession. You have acted to your disadvantage to pay yourself arrears which accrued when he was in occupation and this, arguably, estopps him from just evicting you.



      I think you need to go to a Housing Advice Centre or Solicitor or CAB to obtain the services of specialist legal advice. there will be letters to write and a defence to serve if the gentleman tries to evict you. From what you have said therre was no suggestion that this was to be a temporary arrangement. At the very least if you are to yield up possession to the gentleman who has returned from abroad he should pay you (beforehand) the arrears that accrued before you took up occupation and possibly damages. If that gentleman had keys; change the locks as a precautionary measure.

      You need to keep the Housing Association on side; hopefully they will favour you over the previous tenant who was a defaulter. You dont want the Housing Association to view you as agent for the original tenant.

      Comment


      • #4
        Housing associations and councils don’t simply accept substituted tenants. They have criteria for choosing tenants. They have merely gone quiet about the arrears and suspected absenteeism.

        If/when the returning landlord does things correctly and issues a section 21 notice it does not require any reason.

        Comment


        • #5
          unauthorised assignee

          Originally posted by Poppy View Post
          Housing associations and councils don’t simply accept substituted tenants. They have criteria for choosing tenants. They have simply gone quiet about the arrears and suspected absenteeism.

          If/when the returning landlord does things correctly and issues a section 21 notice it does not require any reason.
          The Housing Association may in point of fact be saddled with kitty as a result of accepting payments from her. Really they ought to have denied payments from her and obtained possession but by accepting rent and arrears from her she has a good and arguable case to remain in situ. She needs a good housing lawyer to fight her corner. I am by no means sure, with all respect that the chap who went abroad for five years can serve a s21 notice; it would depend on the terms of the lease that was granted to him as to whether any tenancy purportedly granted by him is valid. My view would be that the HA's agreement has been assigned.

          Wot do our legal heavyweights in this forum think?

          Comment


          • #6
            Post #5 must be wrong. Old T still has a tenancy until it ends, one way or another, and kitty's rent payments do not alter that.
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the advice and guidance. So it seems I have basic rights at best and 2 months notice is what I can expect from the reurning landlord provided a section 21 notice is served. Continuing to pay the rent is not advisable as I'm effectively covering the landlord payments.

              The housing officer has met me at the house on numerous occasions and often encourages me to hand the keys in as she is aware that the tenant is absent.

              For now I'll take your advice and seek legal advice and I may contact the HA for advice if it is forthcoming.

              Thanks again for your help

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, by all means seek advice. However, you should expect that one or other of the returning landlord or the housing association will make moves to evict you. This is the time to find suitable alternative accommodation that you are happy with. You don't want to be rushed into accepting something equally as unsuitable, do you?

                You should pay rent to your returning landlord. What did you and your landlord agree as to rent payments?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                  Yes, by all means seek advice. However, you should expect that one or other of the returning landlord or the housing association will make moves to evict you. This is the time to find suitable alternative accommodation that you are happy with. You don't want to be rushed into accepting something equally as unsuitable, do you?

                  You should pay rent to your returning landlord. What did you and your landlord agree as to rent payments?
                  I expect my landlord or the HA will make moves to evict me but I hope I'll have my day in court. In the meantime, the search for alternative accomodation starts in earnest.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You may have a claim against the original tenant for the arrears you cleared for them. This will depend on what (if any) discussions there were regarding this.
                    PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Do you intend to share with the members what you initially agreed with the returning landlord with regard to your rent payments?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                        Do you intend to share with the members what you initially agreed with the returning landlord with regard to your rent payments?
                        The returning landlord left the property with no intention of ever returning - it was 5 years ago! In that time he never once contacted me or the HA. All the steps I made were my choices including reducing the arrears and had no input from the landlord. Had I not paid the rent the landlord would have been evicted. The HA knew the landlord was absent and in fact issued two seperate notices to quit, the last in April 2009 - all the while I continued to make rental payments. No rent was paid to the landlord, it was paid to the HA direct.

                        I hope that clarifies things.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another question if I may;

                          The landlord doesn't have a key to the property, can he forcibly enter and change the locks?

                          Cheers

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The landlord doesn't have a key to the property, can he forcibly enter and change the locks?
                            he can forcibly enter (anyone "can") but he may not (it would be, without court sanction, illegal...).

                            Trouble is, if he did, you're stuffed...

                            Can sue for illegal eviction, but that takes time, money & patience...

                            Did the Landlord pay his tax I wonder?? Would be respond to a threat to tell the tax-man?? Naughty thought, no-one would do that...

                            Cheers!

                            Lodger
                            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


                            • #15
                              Of course the landlord intended to return. Otherwise he would have informed the housing association that he was vacating, so that the property would go to other tenants of the housing association's choosing, that meet the housing association's criteria. The returnee clearly considers you to be his tenant. What did you think was going on? Didn’t you think it was odd not to pay rent to your landlord, but pay the housing association instead?

                              The landlord cannot forcibly enter and change the locks. You are an assured shorthold tenant with all associated rights. But your landlord probably did not have the authority to grant you such a tenancy in the first place.

                              It is my guess that once you either leave voluntarily or he obtains a court order to evict you, the housing association will evict him too.

                              Comment

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