Question about my friend's forced eviction (he's a lodger)

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    #16
    Originally posted by jta View Post
    That's a rather insulting statement to make to people that spend many hours giving free advice. This site is impartial, it always has been, to tenants and landlords alike.

    Before you start claiming partisanship perhaps you could spend a few months/years actually reading the forum.
    I've been here before. At a previous place, the landlord sold the property without notice, and I was woken one day by new owners trying to unlock my door. Strange day, that was. I did a lot of reading. I know most of you try your best, but I am astonished at certain posts in defence of the landlord in this case, whether it's seen as insulting or not.

    Originally posted by mk1fan View Post
    I agree. Just because you don't like the answers given doesn't mean they are wrong or prejudiced.

    If you had actually spent anytime here contributing to the forum you'd see that we [the forum] regularily 'berate' landlords for bad behaviour as well as tenants.
    I know, which is why I am surprised.

    Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
    I think the OP may be misunderstanding the main issue here - that the friend is a LODGER, not a TENANT, and therefore there is very little legislation coveirng the rights and wrongs surrounding their tenure in the property.

    Illegal eviction is something fully governed by tenancy legislation and treated very severely by courts in the case of tenants, who rent sole or joint possession of a property without a resident LL also living there. When you are a lodger, there are fewer rules and regulations, and the LL allowing them use of the room within their home has much more freedom to end the agreement and kick them out with minimal notice.

    Your friend "may" have a case to claim back a few days rent, but claiming illegal eviction is not an issue here, and I doubt any compensation would be forthcoming, so perhaps best to drop that term and concentrate on an attempt to get the overpaid rent back, but even here, I wouldn't hold my breath!


    By the way, accusations about where member's loyalties lie, is totally unfair to those here with much more knowledge and understanding of this subject who have given you valid advice. Just because you may not agree with that advice, does not mean it is wrong!
    What? Advice can be wrong, come on now.

    I'm not trying to make a big fuss about the "illegal eviction" thing - I know lodgers have basically no rights.

    But I do believe that they have at least the right to a refund when it's not their decision to pull out of an agreement, as is the case just about anywhere else in business.

    Comment


      #17
      Originally posted by 8086 View Post

      What? Advice can be wrong, come on now.
      Nobody has said that advice can't be wrong. You, however, appear to have made the leap from disagreeing with advice therefore it must be wrong.

      Just as with an AST, statute over rules the terms of the agreement.

      If you know so much then why are you here asking for advice?
      There is always scope for misinterpretation.

      If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

      Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

      Comment


        #18
        Originally posted by 8086 View Post
        But I do believe that they have at least the right to a refund when it's not their decision to pull out of an agreement,
        It doesn't mean that a court would agree with you.

        This isn't a black and white situation and there are always two sides to every story. As I said before, I think a claim could go either way. Either the lodger made an implied offer to surrender by voluntarily moving out (and I really don't see how you can argue that it wasn't voluntary), or he didn't and he fully intended to continue to utilize the paid-for 'facilities', such as sleeping in his room, using the washing machine and kettle, etc, for a further ten days (or more). With the former scenario, no refund of rent. With the latter, if we accept that it was the LL who terminated the licence, then the lodger has a case.

        But it doesn't really help the lodger's case that he handed back the keys, even if he did it just to avoid arguing. He could have easily refused and continued the argument, and contested any claim by the LL for the cost of changing the locks. I suspect he'd have been ready to argue a bit more if he hadn't actually already moved out, and had had nowhere else to stay that night.

        Only a court can definitively decide, based on all the facts and evidence, whether or not there was a surrender by operation of law. But what is a certainty is that the LL has a valid defence to a claim for a refund of rent. This isn't me 'defending' the LL; I'm just advising you of a possible defence to a claim. It's just the way it is, that sometimes a defendant may have a valid defence, even if you'd like to believe they don't. It certainly doesn't help in terms of winning a claim if you cannot even contemplate the possibility that the defendant might just have a valid defence, because you need to understand how you may lose in order to plead and argue a claim to your best advantage. Apologies if my advice went over your head.

        Comment


          #19
          "I've been here before. At a previous place, the landlord sold the property without notice, and I was woken one day by new owners trying to unlock my door. Strange day, that was. I did a lot of reading. I know most of you try your best, but I am astonished at certain posts in defence of the landlord in this case, whether it's seen as insulting or not."
          How does your above personal experience and subs research apply to this OP? Your LL was under no obligation to inform T that property was up for sale but he was duty bound to inforn buyer that property was tenanted.
          Most senior members offer advice on legal precedent & experience. We are not infallible, as the final arbitor is the Judge hearing the case. You have our opinions, please keep us informed of any Court case outcome.

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by westminster View Post
            Apologies if my advice went over your head.
            Lol.

            I do understand that there could be a defence, but it's really only a good one if it's fabricated in some way to sound like events happened in a different way to how they actually did. I mean, giving the keys back on the basis that if you don't, you'll not be able to get in anyway, and you'll be charged for the locks being changed, well that doesn't sound like just simply giving the key back.

            But anyway, I've slept on it, and I can see your point more clearly today.

            Originally posted by mariner View Post
            How does your above personal experience and subs research apply to this OP?
            When it happened I was doing a lot of reading, and I found this forum, so I was saying that I know that you have a go at landlords if they do wrong, from what I have seen here.

            Originally posted by mariner View Post
            Your LL was under no obligation to inform T that property was up for sale but he was duty bound to inforn buyer that property was tenanted.
            It was more than simply selling the house. It was sold as vacant, no notice was given (are you kidding, of course we need notice!) and the landlord didn't protect our deposits, and did a runner. The last we heard from him, he said the house might be repossessed by the bank, but then a week later new owners turned up, and given the time that it takes to sell a house, it's apparent that he knew he was selling it, and knew what would happen. I have tried to take action against him but unfortunately he can't be located.

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by 8086 View Post
              It was more than simply selling the house. It was sold as vacant, no notice was given (are you kidding, of course we need notice!) and the landlord didn't protect our deposits, and did a runner. The last we heard from him, he said the house might be repossessed by the bank, but then a week later new owners turned up, and given the time that it takes to sell a house, it's apparent that he knew he was selling it, and knew what would happen. I have tried to take action against him but unfortunately he can't be located.
              Mariner was not suggesting that you didn't need to be given notice seeking possession, he was saying that your landlord was not obliged to tell you that he was selling the property. When a property is sold with a tenancy in place, the sale does not affect the tenancy and the tenancy remains in place exactly as before. The new owner/landlord simply steps into the previous landlord's shoes, so to speak, and he's legally obliged to inform the tenant that he's the new owner/landlord.

              Quoting from Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, s.3

              3 Duty to inform tenant of assignment of landlord’s interest.
              (1) If the interest of the landlord under a tenancy of premises which consist of or include a dwelling is assigned, the new landlord shall give notice in writing of the assignment, and of his name and address, to the tenant not later than the next day on which rent is payable under the tenancy or, if that is within two months of the assignment, the end of that period of two months.


              In your case the new owner was unaware of your tenancy, but the new owner nevertheless became your new landlord. The new owner/landlord was not entitled to evict you without obtaining a court order. If you were unlawfully evicted, without a court order, then it was the new owner/landlord who committed the offence (albeit the old landlord continues to have joint liability under s.3(3A) LTA1985 until the tenant is informed of the assignment of the landlord's interest by either the old or new landlord. And, obviously, the new owner would have had a claim against your landlord for misrepresenting the property as vacant).

              Comment


                #22
                I'm aware of those points, in the end I came to an arrangement with the new owners and essentially was paid off to get out of their hair ASAP. It wasn't their fault, after all, and they were very understanding when I explained the rights we had as tenants. They seemed like they would have been good landlords, and they were actually planning to rent the house, but it needed renovating first so we had to go, even if only temporarily. Their suggested rental price was (in my opinion) way over the top for the house and location, even with renovations, so we left it.

                My point was that the landlord was selling it as vacant and the new owners expected to buy a vacant property, so we should have had section 21 notice at the very least. But then, he was a bit crap from the beginning - his address wasn't even on the agreements, but we didn't know very much back then, so didn't recognise it as an issue.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by 8086 View Post
                  My point was that the landlord was selling it as vacant and the new owners expected to buy a vacant property, so we should have had section 21 notice at the very least.
                  Not really; a s.21 notice doesn't end a tenancy. What the landlord should have done is actually evict you if he wanted to sell with vacant possession.

                  But it's the new owners who had a potential claim against the LL for misrepresenting the property as vacant. I cannot see what claim you would have against the LL for not evicting you; you suffered no loss as a consequence of this non-eviction.

                  You came to an agreement to surrender your tenancy with the new landlord in exchange for money. You could, alternatively, have refused to surrender the tenancy, and the new landlord would have had to serve notice and obtain a possession order in order to evict you.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    What the landlord should have done is actually evict you if he wanted to sell with vacant possession.
                    Well, yes. 2 months prior to the sale, a section 21 notice should have been served, I believe. Unless I am totally misunderstanding the purpose of s21.
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    But it's the new owners who had a potential claim against the LL for misrepresenting the property as vacant. I cannot see what claim you would have against the LL for not evicting you; you suffered no loss as a consequence of this non-eviction.
                    I was out a portion of the rent (that I had curiously been asked for a few days early - and foolishly handed over, as a 'favour'. While it could be argued that I had every right to stay there until I had used the time that I had paid for, I felt it was fairer on the new owners to leave and attempt to recoup my loss later. Unfortunately I haven't been able to, but I think I did the right thing.

                    I was also out my deposit, since the new owners did not have it.

                    I was faced with suddenly needing to find a new place to live, without any deposit saved and (at the time) very low income. I ended up borrowing money from a friend, but if that hadn't been possible, I would have been in a position to have to take out a loan for a deposit and moving costs, which isn't free.

                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    You came to an agreement to surrender your tenancy with the new landlord in exchange for money. You could, alternatively, have refused to surrender the tenancy, and the new landlord would have had to serve notice and obtain a possession order in order to evict you.
                    It wasn't a lot - but it did cover the cost of the removal van. Had we refused to leave, what would we have done? Stayed a couple of months and then moved anyway. So why not do it sooner? The new owners had work to do, and it wasn't their fault that they were lied to.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by 8086 View Post
                      Well, yes. 2 months prior to the sale, a section 21 notice should have been served, I believe. Unless I am totally misunderstanding the purpose of s21.
                      I think you might be. A s.21 notice has no effect on a tenancy. It is not a notice to quit, and it does not oblige the T to vacate; it merely entitles the LL to apply for possession after notice expiry.

                      So if the old LL had served notice under s.21 two months prior to the sale, then it would not have ensured that he could sell with vacant possession. It would only ensure that the new LL could apply for possession immediately after purchase - that is, *if* the deposit had been protected. But it wasn't, so the s.21 notice would have been invalid, so a claim for possession would fail.

                      I was also out my deposit, since the new owners did not have it.
                      The new owner/landlord was nevertheless liable for returning the deposit to you. He took over all the old LL's liabilities.

                      Had we refused to leave, what would we have done? Stayed a couple of months and then moved anyway. So why not do it sooner?
                      If the tenancy was a periodic AST, it would have taken the new owner/landlord at least four months to obtain a possession order as from the date of serving a s.21 notice (he'd have had to comply with deposit protection requirements as at that date before serving the notice). If the tenancy was still within the fixed term, then the new owner/landlord could not have obtained a possession order till after fixed term expiry under s.21.

                      Why not do it sooner? Because it apparently left you out of pocket. It was your decision to be nice to the new owner/landlord and agree to surrender the tenancy. The old LL is not responsible for any financial loss suffered as a result of this decision.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by westminster View Post
                        The new owner/landlord was nevertheless liable for returning the deposit to you. He took over all the old LL's liabilities.
                        The problem I have with that is that I can see this would be the case had they entered into the sale with the knowledge that there were tenants, but having not known that we were there, how does it automatically become their responsibility to return my deposit out of their own pocket?

                        Originally posted by westminster View Post
                        Why not do it sooner? Because it apparently left you out of pocket. It was your decision to be nice to the new owner/landlord and agree to surrender the tenancy. The old LL is not responsible for any financial loss suffered as a result of this decision.
                        The way I (and my solicitor) saw it, it wasn't the new owners' responsibility, and that the old landlord was responsible. The fact the new owner gave me an incentive to leave sooner, was irrelevant.

                        Anyway, this is getting pretty far from the point of this thread. If my friend wanted to write a letter, what are some key points that he *needs* to include? Does he need to say that he *will* take legal action, or just that he *may*?

                        Comment


                          #27
                          I think you were misadvised by your solicitor (was he/she specialist in landlord and tenant law?)

                          On the day of completion, the new owner became the new legal landlord, with all the landlord's liabilities and obligations.*

                          The fact that he didn't know about the tenancy doesn't relieve him of these liabilities; it just means that he'd have had a case to claim against the vendor for damages and/or any consequent financial loss.

                          ===
                          * And under s.3(3A) LTA1985 the old LL remained jointly liable until you'd been given notice of the assignment of the LL's interest.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Originally posted by westminster View Post
                            was he/she specialist in landlord and tenant law?
                            Yes. Reccommended by shelter after I went to them for advice.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by 8086 View Post
                              Anyway, this is getting pretty far from the point of this thread.
                              Yes, but it's interesting to discuss legal issues. That's partly why I post on here. It's not entirely about selflessly helping others.

                              If my friend wanted to write a letter, what are some key points that he *needs* to include? Does he need to say that he *will* take legal action, or just that he *may*?
                              All he needs to do is demand £X, say why he believes he's entitled to £X, give a deadline for payment, and say that if payment is not received by that date then he will have no option but to issue a county court claim.

                              Originally posted by 8086 View Post
                              Yes. Reccommended by shelter after I went to them for advice.
                              I still think you were very poorly advised if you were told that the new owner/landlord had no liability in respect of refunding your deposit.

                              Comment

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