Tenant left without paying rent and bills

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  • Tenant left without paying rent and bills

    Hi,

    I'll keep it brief and hopefully someone will be able to help me.

    I live in a houseshare with 8 people and we recently asked one of the tenants to move out as we all agreed we were not getting along as well as all of the other housemates. we sent a polite email and he responded saying not a problem and asked if he could have 1 month to find somewhere else to live and asked for extra time to pay bills and rent.we happily agreed.

    So it comes to the day and he has already left in the morning before anyone was up.

    He now basically is refusing to pay anything. I can cover his rent with his deposit so rent is not a problem. The £140 bills he has not paid however is a problem. He has NOT signed any sort of contract but has agreed via emails and texts that he owes the money.

    Do you think I have a case to go to the small claims court?

    Thank you in advance to anyone that can help with my situation.

    Liam

  • #2
    Is this a joint AST tenancy (in England/Wales)?

    With nine tenants?

    Or are one or more of you the tenant and you let rooms to lodgers?

    Who did the 'tenant' who moved out have a contract with? (I mean an oral contract, to pay rent)? Was it within a fixed term?

    (Is this a licensable HMO? If so, is it licenced?)

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi, thanks for replying.

      Basically the landlord does not live with us. We all send a portion of the rent (depending on size of room) to the landlord and he leaves us to pay the bills (gas,water,council tax etc.. ) We are in a contract with the landlord but because the tenant in question was only here for a month or so we totally forgot to re-new the contract with his name on.

      (Is this a licensable HMO? If so, is it licenced?)
      I'm not sure what this is, sorry.

      Thanks

      Liam

      Comment


      • #4
        Can't help if you don't answer my questions. Joint tenancy with nine tenants? Lodgers? Nature of contract of so-called tenant who moved out??

        See this link for an explanation of HMO.

        Comment


        • #5
          When you last signed a contract - were there 9 tenants mentioned on it? Are those 9 people the current 8 plus the missing person.

          If that is a yes & a yes, where in the list was the missing person - 1st, 2nd, 7th?
          (Westminster - referesh my memory if this was relevant - J used to feel so)

          Comment


          • #6
            The whole legal tenant vs. equitable tenant thing was one of J's cherished bandwagons. An equitable tenant still has a contractual obligation/liability, so it was never really that relevant IMO. Only relevant perhaps in very specific circumstances.

            Reading between the lines, in OP's case I suspect that there are fewer than 9 tenants on the tenancy contract and the so-called T who moved out is one of the tenants' lodgers.

            Comment


            • #7
              yes it is a HMO. about 2 months ago there was 8 people, all signed to a tenancy agreement. then one person moved out and we found the new tenant in question. we never re-printed the contract for signing with the new tenants name on so it currently has the current housemates and the old tenant on it. and yes it is licenced.

              sorry for confusion.

              Liam

              * i thought it would be as simple as he has via email/text clarified that he owes the money, and now refusing, that smal claims court would be a simple solution *

              Comment


              • #8
                So, eight tenants on a joint tenancy contract, then you take in a lodger.

                (He couldn't be 'added' to the existing tenancy contract without the agreement/signed consent of the LL and all the joint tenants - you could not 'grant' a new contract by 'reprinting' it for signature. If there was no general agreement, including the LL, to vary the terms of the contract, and the outgoing 'old' tenant didn't serve NTQ in a periodic tenancy to end that tenancy, then the so-called 'old' tenant remains a tenant).

                Then you decided you didn't get on with the lodger, so you asked him to go.

                (N.B. if the lodger was actually a tenant, on a joint tenancy, then the only lawful way to evict him would be for the LL of the property to obtain a court order to evict all of you).

                Sure, you can try claiming via the county court small claims track. I don't know what the lodger's email/text says, but that would seem to be the only written evidence you have that he is liable for any further rent or bills. There is always the witness statements of all the other tenants, however, as to what was agreed with the lodger.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't see the relevance of the status of the tenant/lodger/room-mate.

                  If he had a verbal contract to pay "x", then he is contracted to pay "x".

                  You have a case to go to "small claims court", but as with any other verbal contract, it is harder to prove.
                  The fees for taking it to court are relatively small, so it's worth a try.

                  Make sure that a "Letter Before Action" is sent.
                  Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                    I don't see the relevance of the status of the tenant/lodger/room-mate.
                    It's relevant because OP describes the occupier as a tenant, and if the occupier was an AST tenant, then, firstly, the other tenants could not ask him to leave.

                    OP also said "We all send a portion of the rent (depending on size of room) to the landlord"; if the occupier was a joint AST tenant, then the occupier's rent would be payable to the LL, not the other tenants.

                    Comment

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