Problems with landlady

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    Problems with landlady

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for some advice.

    I moved into a shared flat 2 months ago for a 6 month term until end of August. There are 3 bedrooms. I have one room to myself, I share with 2 guys who share a room, and 2 girls who share another. There are no other bedrooms in the property. Basically, the landlady comes in and out whenever she pleases, she even took some posters from the wall in the guys bedroom. She also doesnt 'allow' me to use the oven, or some light switches (says we should use lamps), even though this is not in the contract.

    When i ask her about this, she says she is 'sharing' the property, rather than renting. However she does not sleep here, but she does come in whenever she pleases and is extremely rude.

    She now wants me to leave at the end of the month. This is fine, as long as I find another place, as I want to get away from her, however if I don't find another room I will have problems so I need to know my rights.

    Can she say she is 'sharing' accomodation if she does not live/sleep here? She may have it as her primary address (she studied law, im guessing she has tricks), and so does this make it sharing? What are my rights in this case?

    I'm going to citizens advice bureau tomorrow for advice but maybe someone on here can help me.

    Thankyou.

    #2
    If there is no additional bedroom in the property ,and your LL sleeps elsewhere then I cannot think she can class it as her main or principal residence. This means that she is not a residential LL and cannot just ask you to leave with such short notice. It sounds as though you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and she must give you at least two months' notice.

    What does your Tenancy Agreement say about the notice period, just out of interest? (It may not be legally enforceable but it would be interesting to see what type of tenancy she thinks she has granted you!)
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      The tenancy agreement says nothing about notice. It says that it is a six-month term commencing 27/2/10, terminating 26/08/10. Then it says rental cost, deposit, and some conditions of the flat (e.g. no extra heating - its bills included, keep flat clean, etc.).

      I have been a good tenant, have not caused any problems. The landlady apparently had a complaint from a neighbour about noise, however that was just one time and can't see it affecting anything. She says that I do not respect her flat as I sometimes leave the kitchen messy. However, in the flat, we all get along very well, and she should surely not even be allowed in without our permission.

      I asked her how much notice I would need to give her to leave previously, however she then 'thought' that this meant I was leaving, and she left me a letter saying that I will be leaving on the 26/04/10.

      Also today, she asked me if I would be leaving on the 26th or before. I said I would leave the weekend before - this was via E-Mail. Because I E-mailed her saying that I would leave, will this affect my rights at all?

      Thanks.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by BN1988 View Post
        The tenancy agreement says nothing about notice. It says that it is a six-month term commencing 27/2/10, terminating 26/08/10. Then it says rental cost, deposit, and some conditions of the flat (e.g. no extra heating - its bills included, keep flat clean, etc.).

        I have been a good tenant, have not caused any problems. The landlady apparently had a complaint from a neighbour about noise, however that was just one time and can't see it affecting anything. She says that I do not respect her flat as I sometimes leave the kitchen messy. However, in the flat, we all get along very well, and she should surely not even be allowed in without our permission.

        I asked her how much notice I would need to give her to leave previously, however she then 'thought' that this meant I was leaving, and she left me a letter saying that I will be leaving on the 26/04/10.

        Also today, she asked me if I would be leaving on the 26th or before. I said I would leave the weekend before - this was via E-Mail. Because I E-mailed her saying that I would leave, will this affect my rights at all?

        Thanks.
        No - assuming you have an AST, she cannot require you to leave before at least 26th August if you do not want to. If she ties to pressure you into going before that, it could amount to harassment or illegal eviction, which is a prisonable offence.

        If you all have your own individual ASTs, then she may be entitled to access the communal areas, but not your bedrooms without your consent in advance.

        It sounds as though she may be claiming she is a resident landlord, in which case you would have fewer rights. However I cannot see how any such claim would stand up in court - she clearly does not live there.

        I can understand why you would be happy to leave (she sounds horrible), but don't allow yourself to be bullied into it. I advise you to write to her pointing out that you have been advised that she is NOT a resident landlord, you have an AST whose fixed term does not end until 26th August and that if she continues to try to evict you before then, you will sue her for harassment and illegal eviction. Whatever notices you have or haven't given her are invalid as the fixed term is still running.

        Keep a copy of your letter and keep your nerve! Once you have found somewhere else, you could approach her again and ask if she would like to agree an early surrender of the tenancy. If she says yes, all well and good. If she refuses, then you must stay (or at least pay rent) until 26 Aug.
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your advice.

          I'm looking for rooms now, and I will go to view them, but it is very hard for me to find a place as I only have 4 months left here and so finding such a short term let is very difficult. I will go to the citizens advice bureau tomorrow for extra backup, and I'll phone her to talk to her this week sometime.

          I'm going to be very calm about it and just tell her what I'm doing and that I'm not going to leave. I have a feeling a nightmare of a landlady like this will also be very tricky about the deposit I gave her so I'd better be careful hey!

          Do you think she has a right to come into the flat, then complain to us (its essentially harrasment). She often comes in and complains that her 'armchair protectors' must be used and that there is some washing up to do. Its extremely annoying when you're a grown man and you get along with all the other flatmates (who all hate the landlady just as much as me).

          Also, she is planning on moving into my room when I leave! She has told me she is bringing her things on the 26th so wants all of my things out by then. My flatmates have said they cant imagine anything worse than to live with her so they're planning to move out soon after I do (or possibly find a place together).

          Thanks again.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by BN1988 View Post
            Thanks for your advice.

            I'm looking for rooms now, and I will go to view them, but it is very hard for me to find a place as I only have 4 months left here and so finding such a short term let is very difficult. I will go to the citizens advice bureau tomorrow for extra backup, and I'll phone her to talk to her this week sometime.

            I'm going to be very calm about it and just tell her what I'm doing and that I'm not going to leave. I have a feeling a nightmare of a landlady like this will also be very tricky about the deposit I gave her so I'd better be careful hey!

            Do you think she has a right to come into the flat, then complain to us (its essentially harrasment). She often comes in and complains that her 'armchair protectors' must be used and that there is some washing up to do. Its extremely annoying when you're a grown man and you get along with all the other flatmates (who all hate the landlady just as much as me).

            Also, she is planning on moving into my room when I leave! She has told me she is bringing her things on the 26th so wants all of my things out by then. My flatmates have said they cant imagine anything worse than to live with her so they're planning to move out soon after I do (or possibly find a place together).

            Thanks again.
            No - she cannot insist anyone moves out before the end of their fixed term! I really think you need to make it clear to her that she risks being prosecuted for this.

            Nor should she be coming in and nagging you about minor things all the time.

            Good luck with your hunt for somewhere nicer. In some ways it would be very satisfying for everyone to move out together, wouldn't it? The problem is, if they move out before the end of their tenancy fixed terms, she could sue them for the rent for the whole fixed term.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

            Comment


              #7
              I agree with MTG that your landlady is clearly NOT a resident landlord and that you all have "Assured Shorthold Tenancies" - no matter what the landlady calls them. Your rights are set out in a huge number of Acts of parliament, but primarily the Housing Act 1988. You can NOT be made to leave for ANY reason at ANY time by ANYbody unless a court order has been obtained under either section 8 or section 21 of the above act.

              Your deposit should have been registered (protected) in one of 3 government approved schemes. Getting the money back at the end of the tenancy shouldn't be too difficult, but if it is unprotected you may need to get it through the courts at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.

              Comment


                #8
                I agree with all that has been said above but do be prepared for things to take a turn for the worse after you send a letter that effectively declares a 'mini war' on her and her approach. She will be able to detect that you have 'taken up arms' and have got some good advice. It will, by the sound of it, not please her at all and she may try and up the ante further. That would not be sensible from her but she may try and bully you out even more and make other threats that have no substance in law.
                Of course I hope she takes the other approach and backs off completely realising she is in the wrong and that you can then part on reasonable terms at an agreeable future date. Good luck.
                chas

                Comment


                  #9
                  A letter from a solicitor or from the local council can often help to ‘focus’ a rogue landlord.
                  I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Did you pay a deposit and if you did has your lanflady protected it in one of the schemes and given you the details of it? If she "thinks" she is a resident landlady she probably hasn't as resident landlords do not have to comply with this law.
                    If not, there are many, many threads on this subject on the forum.
                    If there are any mistakes in my posts - it was the computer's error, not my fault.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I did pay a deposit, 1 months rent (£550). I will need to ask her if it has been protected, but I did notice she had leaflets about deposit protection in the living room so that makes me think it is protected. I'll ask her but we arent on good terms at all anymore.

                      Phoned her today, explained my situation and was very reasonable - I said i'm looking for a new place, but its very hard for me to find somewhere for 4 months (its all the time I have left in the town). I said I have tried various letting agents, all telling me 6 months minimum. She then started arguing, saying that there are plenty around. There really arent. I'm trying to find a shared flat, but she has annoyed me so much that I will still fight with her after I leave and was thinking I could maybe go to the police for advice? I may also visit a letting agent and see what they think - maybe get some documents on the laws behind this. I went to the citizens advice bureau but unfortunately they were closed today.

                      She got very very angry on the phone today and I was completely calm. She hung up on me twice, and called me a 'Stupid, Stupid Boy', and kept saying 'I want to sleep in my bed!!' and all sorts of rubbish.

                      Also, by coincidence, I passed another resident on the stairs today, an elderly guy, and he was asking where the landlady lives. Basically, he was saying its illegal for her to rent this flat or even 'share' this flat, except with family. Possibly a special contract for this block of flats.

                      I think shes having trouble from the other residents, and so she wants to move in so that she can avoid any lawsuits/fines. The fact that I do not want to move is really aggravating her now as it would mean she will get in serious trouble.

                      I'm thinking i'll go and see the police next week and i'll go to a few letting agents this weekend.

                      Thanks again for the advice

                      Comment


                        #12
                        She has now gone completely crazy.

                        I was in the shower, and I left my laptop on in the living room. She knocked on my door and asked me to go to the living room. In there was some big-ish guy who I think is supposed to 'intimidate' me. She was saying, move the laptop as she is sleeping on the sofa, and is not leaving until the 25th when I 'leave'. I have phoned the police and they will try to send a unit round but obviously its not high priority.

                        I am so so so so angry right now. I was planning to have some friends over for cocktails and its completely ruined everything.

                        I think i'm just going to go out but is there any advice anyone can give me?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Like you, I can see this going very badly. If you get back and discover the locks changed or a 20 stone bloke putting your belongings in the hallway, call the police immediately (999 is fine) and tell them you are being illegally evicted.

                          Even if she moves back in, she does not become a 'resident landlord' in so far as her rights over your tenancy - if she wasn't there at the start then your tenancy remains an AST until she gets a court order to remove you.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by BN1988 View Post
                            She has now gone completely crazy.

                            I was in the shower, and I left my laptop on in the living room. She knocked on my door and asked me to go to the living room. In there was some big-ish guy who I think is supposed to 'intimidate' me. She was saying, move the laptop as she is sleeping on the sofa, and is not leaving until the 25th when I 'leave'. I have phoned the police and they will try to send a unit round but obviously its not high priority.

                            I am so so so so angry right now. I was planning to have some friends over for cocktails and its completely ruined everything.

                            I think i'm just going to go out but is there any advice anyone can give me?
                            I would think that this could be classed as harassment which is a criminal offence. Other more learned posters may confirm or not.
                            If there are any mistakes in my posts - it was the computer's error, not my fault.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I agree. Report her to the police, ask them to attend and stress that you believe she is attempting to illegally evict you.
                              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                              Comment

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