Problems with landlady

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    #16
    OK so the police came round last night, they said they thought it was illegal and that I should be treated as a tenant. However, they couldnt do anything as they are criminal law not civil law, so i'll still need to go through citizens advice bureau etc.

    She was saying to the officer that I am a licensee, not a tenant. I've been reading some articles on this, and to be a licensee you need to live in the same property as the landlord - so surely this is bogus?

    Any advice on this? How can I find for sure if I am a licensee or tenant? Shes very sure that she is 'sharing' her home, not renting to tenants - in order to share does she need a bedroom/to sleep there ?

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      #17
      Do you get on with the other tenants? if you do, get copies of there tenancy agreement if they exist and if possible a signed declaration to say they occupy a room and the LL does not live in the property. If the number of tenants exceeds the rooms then it might be challenging for her to prove residence.

      Also did I not read there were five people in one property? are you in England/Wales because that many unrelated people would surely class the property as a HMO.

      I think your LL is realising the sky is falling in on her and trying foolishly to bully her tenants out

      Comment


        #18
        I get on really well with the other tenants, we're looking for another flat to move into together.

        There are 5 of us here, in a 3 bedroom property.

        I'm thinking maybe the landlady used to sleep in the property with the 'tenants' or 'licensees' but got greedy and rented the last room.

        I really need some advice urgently as to whether I should legally be treated as a licensee or tenant as it completely changes my rights.

        Comment


          #19
          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.
          s.1(3A) Protection from Eviction Act 1977

          (3A)Subject to subsection (3B) below, the landlord of a residential occupier or an agent of the landlord shall be guilty of an offence if—
          (a)he does acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier
          or members of his household, or
          (b)he persistently withdraws or withholds services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises in question as a residence,
          and (in either case) he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that that conduct is likely to cause the residential occupier to give up the occupation of the whole or part of the premises or to refrain from exercising any right or pursuing any remedy in respect of the whole or part of the premises.
          It is generally the local council, not the police, who bring a prosecution for illegal harassment/eviction, so contact them immediately. It is both a civil and a criminal offence carrying a potential custodial sentence, but the police are not always clued up on this aspect of the law. (Having said that, do call the police if she tries to have you physically removed, or physically prevents you from gaining access).

          Also note that civil awards for damages can be hefty. See links in this thread
          http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=27703

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by BN1988 View Post

            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.
            It is likely it is an HMO (house in multiple occupation) and requires a licence, in which case she could potentially be prosecuted and fined for not having a licence or not complying with safety regulations which apply to HMOs (so you could also report her to the local council for this).

            It is also possible that the lease of the flat only allows the leaseholder and their family to reside in the flat, but it would not be "illegal" for non-family members to live there, it would just be a breach of the lease. The freeholder could take legal action to enforce the provisions in the lease.

            But whatever the landlady's reasons, it's not your problem and it doesn't entitle her to illegally evict you; so just concentrate on asserting your tenancy rights.

            You say you get on well with the other tenants. If I were you I would ask them if they'd mind if you changed the lock to prevent the landlady gaining access (you are legally entitled to do this, so long as you keep and replace the original lock at the end of the tenancy). If it's a Yale-type lock it is apparently easy to change the inner barrell at very low cost. You'd obviously have to provide the other tenants with new keys (and instruct them not to give one to the landlady).

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by BN1988 View Post
              I'm thinking maybe the landlady used to sleep in the property with the 'tenants' or 'licensees' but got greedy and rented the last room.

              I really need some advice urgently as to whether I should legally be treated as a licensee or tenant as it completely changes my rights.
              In order for the landlady to be 'resident' she (or a member of her family) must actually live there, not just have the property down as her principal residence for tax purposes, say, or be on the electoral roll at that address.

              It would also affect your status if the flat is in a conversion (not purpose-built) and the landlady lives in one of the other flats.

              If the landlady is not resident, you are a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy.

              You can get further advice from various sources: the private tenancies officer at the local council, Shelter, CAB, or a community law centre.

              Comment


                #22
                Cheers.

                I've got friendly with some of the other residents now who have a solicitor and are trying to prosecute her due to the fact that she is not allowed to rent the flat.

                I'm going to go to the citizens advice bureau on monday and hopefully something will work out. She is really going to try hard to throw me out next weekend so I need to stand my ground. Tempted to change the lock on my bedroom door before then.

                She mentioned to one of my flatmates that she is planning to hold all/some of my £550 deposit for 'cleaning'. So it seems i'm going to have trouble getting my deposit back too. But thats a seperate matter. Is there anything I can do before then to protect my deposit? I've done a small inventory and taken some photos in my room.

                The landlady lives at another address, around 10 minutes away. She put that address on my contract - so i'm thinking that will also work against her as it shows that she lives there, and not here.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by BN1988 View Post
                  Cheers.

                  I've got friendly with some of the other residents now who have a solicitor and are trying to prosecute her due to the fact that she is not allowed to rent the flat.

                  I'm going to go to the citizens advice bureau on monday and hopefully something will work out. She is really going to try hard to throw me out next weekend so I need to stand my ground. Tempted to change the lock on my bedroom door before then.

                  She mentioned to one of my flatmates that she is planning to hold all/some of my £550 deposit for 'cleaning'. So it seems i'm going to have trouble getting my deposit back too. But thats a seperate matter. Is there anything I can do before then to protect my deposit? I've done a small inventory and taken some photos in my room.

                  The landlady lives at another address, around 10 minutes away. She put that address on my contract - so i'm thinking that will also work against her as it shows that she lives there, and not here.
                  You are doing all the right things - well done. I would definitely change your bedroom door lock and if possible, the external door locks too. Is she still camping out in the property or has she left?

                  As far as your deposit goes, as you say, that is a separate issue and it may have to be something you sort out once the more urgent problem of her trying to evict you is dealt with. You cannot protect it yourself (that is her job!) However, you can check with all three deposit protection schemes as to whether there is a deposit registered with them in your name. If not, it means she has not protected it. However, it is relatively straightforward to issue an online claim to get it back (the letter before action for this usually works) and you could even threaten to sue her its return PLUS for 3x its value, which is the penalty for LLs who do not comply with the legislation. Don't worry about that for now - we can help you with it once you have moved out, if she persists in being stupid about it.

                  In the meantime, do seek the advice of the solicitor and do not let her browbeat or bully you into anything you do not want to do.

                  Good luck - let us know how you get on. I am so sorry you are having to go through all this. She sounds really vile.
                  '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


                    #24
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    s.1(3A) Protection from Eviction Act 1977

                    It is generally the local council, not the police, who bring a prosecution for illegal harassment/eviction, so contact them immediately.
                    Yes. Here's s.6 of 1977 Act:

                    6. Prosecution of offences.

                    Proceedings for an offence under this Act may be instituted by any of the following authorities:
                    (a) councils of districts and London boroughs;
                    (aa) councils of Welsh counties and county boroughs;
                    (b) the Common Council of the City of London;
                    (c) the Council of the Isles of Scilly.
                    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


                      #25
                      Well she has backed off a little bit, and hasn't slept here again. But she seems to be pretty sure i'm moving out, for some reason (according to a flatmate). She is also continuing to come in the flat and harass us about washing up and other minor things. I really want to put a stop to this now and she just doesn't understand.

                      Haven't managed to see anyone at CAB yet but tomorrow I should be able to...

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by BN1988 View Post
                        She is also continuing to come in the flat and harass us about washing up and other minor things. I really want to put a stop to this now and she just doesn't understand.
                        So change the locks, as previously advised, and put a stop to it.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by BN1988 View Post
                          Haven't managed to see anyone at CAB yet but tomorrow I should be able to...
                          Have you tried contacting your local council?
                          I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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