Owner's relative occupies flat without permission- rights?

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  • Owner's relative occupies flat without permission- rights?

    I have an elderly (65) relative - in law who has somehow ended up in my empty flat while we were trying to start renovation. He is not paying rent.

    There was no verbal agreement for him to stay, he was just storing his stuff there while away on a long trip. He just moved in on his return as we had given him the keys to get his stuff.

    Have asked him nicely to move out, but is refusing......

    as he has no rights, can I go in and change the locks while he is out?

  • #2
    You did not grant any letting to him, You did not ever allow him into occupation. He is therefore a trespasser. Sue him for trespass.
    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


    • #3
      Originally posted by qwerty89 View Post
      as he has no rights, can I go in and change the locks while he is out?
      Removing relatives is always hard, because they think a bond / relationship extends betwen relatives, how ever far removed the relative is. ( in law / cousin ). And some will abuse that relationship.

      I would change the locks, but change the locks when he is out, then tell him immediately, by phone or text that the locks have been changed, as if it's easy for you to change the locks, giving him advance notice that he cannot stay there and you are changing the locks, could give him the opportunity to change the locks himself, thereby denying you access to your own flat ( Yes it does happen ).

      Once in control of your own property ( locks changed ) it is then easier to say. " Why do you want to gain access, we will return your stuff to your house, tell us when you will be in" -- otherwise once he gains access, he could just sit down and refuse to move !. Don't let him in if you are there.

      Who is paying for the gas and electric he is using ? ( just a thought ) He is taking the "piss", change the locks, and relatives like that should not be spoken to again afterwards.

      Best of luck.

      Comment


      • #4
        relative is trespassing!

        Try to meet with him and put it to him nicely that if he doesnt go of his own accord you will be forced into litigation. Confirm your position in writing giving him seven days before instructing solicitors.

        In your shoes I might say that I had intended to lease the property and entirely without prejudice to the requirement that he leaves forthwith that you would consider a formal letting to him....

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by quarterday View Post
          Try to meet with him: You would consider a formal letting to him....
          To:- qwerty89

          Irrespective of whether you intend to use the flat for yourself or rent it out, issues can sometimes be clouded because this is a "Landlordzone".

          If someone has decided to stay at YOUR flat, univited, and is intent on staying there and refuses to go, NO way do you offer him a tenancy. He is a Trespasser, and the police should be called.

          Tell you what, give me your address, or anyone elses on here, I will invite myself in, and refuse to leave. Then hope I am offered a tenancy ( ast ) for your spare bedroom.

          This is not a tenancy / Landlord law matter, but a tresspass matter. Storage facilities as a member of the family were given. Now you are returning to redecorate etc, so his belongings go. He has no rights. Forget litigation, he is a trespasser, so call the police, but go there when he is in, and then call police while you are in the flat ( 999 / 112 )

          Your verbal agreement was he could store some "stuff" until you returned, you have now returned. All you need to say is you returned, found out he was sleeping there, which is unacceptable, and he refuses to leave.

          Forget landlords / tenancies . This is tresspass.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks guys, that puts my mind at rest. This man is really pushing his luck, he has taken possession of my flat, which is my income and livelihood. I am in mortgage arrears because its not rented....

            He has the cheek to tell me I have no right to visit my flat while he is there!!

            The fact is he knows that the flat is not in my name but in my husband's, (his brother) but he is out of the country for a few months, and I am left to sort out this mess!!

            Will I still be in a position to try and change the locks in his absence, what if he calls the poilce on me and ask's me to produce documents? I have always managed the flat rentals in the past without any problems, this only occured cos it was empty for renovation......

            Comment


            • #7
              Can he produce any documents to say that he has the right to stay there?

              Also, what on earth does your husband think about this? Are you estranged, and so the brother is trying to 'reclaim' family property?

              Comment


              • #8
                no, not that I am aware of, but he may have been paying utility bills, and I think has even applied for council tax? I know he has all his personal post delivered there like pension and bank statements....

                I was getting empty property rebate on the council tax for six months so did not check until recently......

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jamesknight0 View Post
                  Can he produce any documents to say that he has the right to stay there?

                  Also, what on earth does your husband think about this? Are you estranged, and so the brother is trying to 'reclaim' family property?
                  no not estranged, he is away abroad to sort out property nightmares there!! This property was only brought in 2007 and the deposit for it came from the re-mortgage of our joint house, we have been married for over 20 years now so the brother has no rights whatsoever....

                  My husband has also tried reasoning with this man, but he is not listening to reason, basically my husband owes his brother some money, and he is now using this as an excuse to force the money out of us. But we are stuck as we are living hand to mouth cos of negative income.....

                  we cannot pay him back until the flat starts bringin in rent!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by qwerty89 View Post
                    we cannot pay him back until the flat starts bringin in rent!!
                    Tresspass and owing the brother money are two different things, but it makes it clearer as to why the trespass occured..

                    Borrow money, pay him back, then force him out. Or force him out ( physically ) then pay him back / let him sue you for the money.

                    So it's not realy tresspass, He is pissed off because you owe him money, and is making you suffer, and some may say, serves you right. But, unless you can guarantee to pay him back, he wont move out, BUT, it's your flat, and it's easy to prove, you have the lease / deeds / bill of sale / whatever you have, so as to get him out, and if those are with your husband, he can fax / mail them to you -- simple ( call the police when you have the documents ) but assure the brother you guarantee to pay him back, but also say you will have him removed for trespass, because if you don't he will never get his money back.

                    You can easily say the owner is abroard and he authorises you ( he can send you a fax / letter ) to carryout the the removal of the trespasser.

                    Your action is to 1) remove a trespasser from your property. 2) sort out ( afterwards ) the money you owe him. in that order. He has every right to sue you for monies owed, but not to steal your property ( be it a flat or a car or T.V. )

                    ( negative income never bothers me, as I would never pay more than a house was worth, not market values, but actual worth. Long story, and not lets get involed in that argument )

                    Good luck in this family dispute, the hardest ones to resolve !
                    R.a.M.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      [QUOTE=ram;193700]
                      Borrow money, pay him back, then force him out. Or force him out ( physically ) then pay him back / let him sue you for the money.

                      How do I force him out? the police won't get involved, they say its a civil matter and I need to get a court orde, I don't have the funds to do that.

                      I need the the cheapest solution.....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes, you do need a [civil] Court Order. Perhaps seek a 'no win, no fee' solicitor, as the Defendant ought to be mad to pay both sides' fees anyway.
                        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


                        • #13
                          I think I have a simple solution to both problems:

                          Work out how long the debt will take to be repaid by the rental payments you would otherwise have received. If it is less than 3 years, send the brother a tenancy agreement for that amount of time and rent. Also send him a section 21 giving notice to leave on that date.

                          Enclose a letter explaining that if he wishes to have the flat in lieu of the debt the deal has to be formalised. Explain that by signing the tenancy, he is agreeing what you suggest. Ask him to sign letter to indicate agreement and return to you.

                          This will save 'face' on both sides, and should restore good relations with hubby's family.

                          Is that sensible?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by qwerty89 View Post
                            How do I force him out? the police won't get involved, they say its a civil matter and I need to get a court orde, I don't have the funds to do that.

                            I need the the cheapest solution.....
                            Regarding above post, you don't want a tenant who is behaving the way he is now. You owe him money and he is quite capable of sueing you. You need to redecorate, not have a trespasser.

                            ======

                            I have had police round to remove an unwanted visitor but you probably complicated the matter telling the police about renting / tenancies, and of course they don't want to get involved in that instance.

                            I see no reason why you can't call the police to say there is a trespasser in your home, and he refuses to leave, and you are in fear of what may happen when you try to escort the trespasser to the front door, and you want a police officer present to ensure there is no breach of the peace. ( he is trespassing )

                            I too have had Police saying "it's not their job" but if you write to the police station, and also send copy to "the home office" then that is SURE of a reply from them, I sent the letter ( shown below **), which resulted in a police officer from local station telephoning me. ( In your case, if they phone you, dont mention tenancies / rent, - just that he stored stuff, but is now tresspassing )

                            I have even sent police round to letting agents, because they are notorious for withholding information to any Managing company ( as opposed to Managing Agents ) In another letter ( same incident ) because letting agents refused to give a forwarding address, I wrote the following, whereby they then visited the letting agents.
                            "I hereby accuse xxxxxx and Co of xxxxxxxx Street xxxxxxx of aiding and abetting , in this case of Trespass and illegal entry"

                            ================================
                            **

                            To :-
                            Inspector of Police, xxxxx Police station
                            xxxxxx Road, xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx

                            c.c. The Home office.

                            I am deeply concerned that trespass and burglary is rife and your department are allowing this to go unchecked.

                            I visited your station this week, and was basically told to go away and anyone can enter our premises without fear of prosecution. ( qwerty89, they had a key ) This I find totally unacceptable from a Police force.

                            Enclosed is my report of the situation which you did not keep, and told me to go away as you would not do anything about the matter.

                            For your files, are pertinent extracts from “The Theft Act 1968” and “Postal Services Act 2000” which it seems, you are oblivious to. ( this is not relevent to qwerty89 )

                            Please re-read my complaint and act upon the enclosed laws. ( on reverse of this ) My other complaint is that the car mentioned has a false keepers address record.

                            We know one of the trespassers is a “Police Officer” -- is this why you told me to “Go away” ??????

                            I am not often at xxxxxxxxxx , so please don’t call round without first assertaining that I am free that day. Tel xxxxxx or Mobile xxxx

                            Your resultant feedback that you have apprehended these 2 ( Try surname of xxxxxxxx ) within next 5 days will be appreciated

                            Thank you.

                            ================================
                            ================================


                            Good luck ...
                            R.a.M.
                            Last edited by ram; 23-02-2010, 12:19 PM. Reason: added first line

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The only time you can eject a trespasser without a court order is when you are resident in the property. So, if you come home from the shops, or even holiday, and find someone on the sofa you can eject him using reasonable force. Your relative is not in that situation and so you need a court order. In any event there has to be doubt as to whether he is a trespasser since you gave him a key. As has been said, family situations can be difficult to assess legally as it can depend on whether there was ever an intention to enter into legal relations. Do not waste time involving the police. They will tell you it is a civil matter and they will be right.

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