Problems with fellow tenant

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    Problems with fellow tenant

    Hi,

    I am currently renting a small two-bedroom flat with a 'friend', and have been since September 2008. We originally signed a standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement with our Landlord when moving in, and this has been renewed several times; the most recent being in December 2009 for a fixed 6 month term. This fixed term expired in May 2010 and turned into a periodic agreement, which has only just been terminated by the Landlord.

    The issue I have is that I am pretty certain my flatmate has broken the agreement on two counts:
    • By having additional people live at the property this summer. There have been 3 in total, each for a month at a time (give or take a couple of days) for a total period of around 3 months. The tenancy agreement states for the tenants "Not to assign, or sublet, part with possession of the Property, or to let any other person live at the property"
    • By operating his own registered company from the property since August 2009. A check on the Companies House website reveals the registered office of the company is our flat. The tenancy agreement states for the tenants "Not to receive paying guests or carry on or permit to be carried on any business, trade or possession on or from the Property"


    The situation (as you can imagine) has deteriorated rapidly with this unacceptable behaviour of my flatmate. Whilst I was aware he was running his own business (he has had several clients visit in the past) - I was unaware of our flat being its registered office until I checked via Companies House. He was also completely unreasonable with people living at the flat - I wasn't consulted about it, when I was told I got next-to-no notice (less than 2 days in one instance), and he was dishonest about how long they would be living for. As a result the Landlord has (understandably) terminated the periodic tenancy agreement.

    I plan to go to my local Citizens Advice Bureaux to get some formal advice on what to do next regarding court action against my flatmate but I wanted to pose the situation to this forum first - in your opinion(s) has our tenancy agreement been broken and what can I reasonably claim back via the courts? As I say I plan to go to my CAB and get some formal advice but am looking for a rough ballpark assessment of the situation from people with more experience of these things than myself.

    Thanks for reading and regards,
    Paul

    #2
    On the basis of what you say nothing at all.

    From what you say you had no contract with your flatmate and suffered no financial loss.

    The two of you had a contract with the landlord - the breaches you mention might possibly be the grounds of an action by the landlord and even then the most he could reasonably expect would be to evict you both - monetary damages would be unlikely as he would also have to show monetary loss.

    Comment


      #3
      Presuming the 'termination' by the landlord is a section 21 notice, the first thing to realise is that it ISN'T a notice to quit. It just reserves the landlord the right to apply to the court for possession after the expiry date of the S21.

      An application for possession under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act is a 'no fault' action, ie the landlord does not need a reason. And as he does not have to give a reason, you are going to find it difficult that your flat mates actions were the cause of the eviction. If you read your tenancy agreement carefully you will find things that you have done in breach of the agreement and you will also find that you are 'jointly and severally liable', so you are responsible for your flatmates actions (and he, yours).

      Comment


        #4
        Snorkerz, no the termination was simply standard notice from the landlord to end the periodic tenancy agreement that came into force when the fixed term was completed. My use of 'termination' was a bit misleading - apologies.

        I have ownership of all the utilities - both the water and electricity bills have increased significantly for the period there were 3 people at the property. I proposed a split 3 ways for the period there were 3 people living at the property (entirely reasonable) - flatmate rejected it. I'm guessing this would be equally difficult to enforce legally?

        Comment


          #5
          FWIW there are only 2 ways to end a periodic tenancy agreement - sections 8 or 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. Obviously, you can go when the LL asks you, if you want to, but you can not be made to go - see http://www.tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/i...g_evicted/0-21

          The utility bills are slightly different. Although the actual payment of the bill is the responsibility of whomever the utility company have a contract with (ie whoever is on the bill) you could probably sue your flatmate. I would work out your portion of the bill based on ½ when there were 2 of you, ¼ when there were 4 of you etc. Then sue for the balance. It would be wise to negotiate first, and send a letter before action, but the court process is quite straightforward at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.

          Comment

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