Getting out of unlicensed HMO

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    Getting out of unlicensed HMO

    Hi everyone, I have a question about ending my fixed-term contract early on the basis that I am living in an unlicensed HMO. I've been to speak with the city council and they said based on the information I gave them it sounds like an illegal HMO and they will be sending someone out to do an inspection. The woman at the council also told me that if they are in fact found to be running a licensable HMO without a licence my contract would be null and void, but I can't find any information online to back up this claim. Everything is focused on protecting the tenants' right to live in the house, but I just want out (with my deposit)! Any insight would be appreciated!

    #2
    The main problem with inspecting HMO's is the inspector getting in to the property itself. It might pay to make yourself available to assist the council officer.

    Have you thought about approaching the landlord and telling him that you need to leave early for some good reason or other as ask if he/she would be sympathetic and release you from your contract?

    Where is your deposit protected?



    Freedom at the point of zero............

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      #3
      The landlord is an owner/occupier so my deposit is not protected. I did try to speak with him about being uncomfortable with the increasing number of tenants and was told they need the money so they will continue taking in tenants and any verbal agreements we had about the number of people in the house are no longer valid. Needless to say he is not sympathetic and for that reason I reported him. The issue now is that he is going to know it was me who reported him and I do not wish to be living here as the situation will undoubtedly worsen if/when he is forced to spend money on fire code violations etc...

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        #4
        So you are a lodger and just have to give 'reasonable notice' - suggest you do so - if you pay rent weekly just give a week's notice.

        How much deposit is this man holding? He would have to give valid reasons for trying to with hold money.



        Freedom at the point of zero............

        Comment


          #5
          If only! I have a six month fixed-term contract.

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            #6
            But that is not valid if you are living in same house as LL and you rent a room. You are a lodger and not a tenant on as AST.

            What of the depsosit?



            Freedom at the point of zero............

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              #7
              Unfortunately excluded occupiers (lodgers) are required to complete the contract. The landlord can evict us whenever he wants, but we are not able to leave without losing our deposit. As mentioned, the deposit is held by the landlord because he is not required to protect it as an owner/occupier.

              Does anyone have experience with the aftermath of an illegal HMO inspection?

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                #8
                That contract is almost certainly not valid.

                Call shelter to discuss your rights, and what might happen if the HMO is illegal.
                They have a great deal of practical (and usually tenant helpful) advice.
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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                  #9
                  As there is a contract yes I think you are bound by it: But as jp suggests, call Shelter 0808 800 4444.

                  I cannot see why the contract would not be valid...
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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                    #10
                    Yeah, contract is definitely valid and binding. It sounds a bit dodgy but that's just because there is almost zero protection for lodgers out of respect for a landlord's right to live undisturbed in his property. Thanks for the advice anyway, I'll see what Shelter has to say.

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                      #11
                      A contract where the lodger cannot get their deposit returned and has to stay for 6 months (against normal evict at will notice from the LL side) is so one sided as to be unfair.
                      The principle of lodger agreements is that they are (usually) informal and (mutually) mutable.

                      It would take a court to decide if it is valid or binding, but I suspect it is neither.
                      It also purports (from what you have said) to be an AST, which it isn't.
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        FYI for anyone who finds this thread later and is in a similar situation. After speaking with Shelter and the City Council I've confirmed that the contract is valid and that living in an unlicensed HMO is not a basis to break the contract. Only recourses are to wait and see if the City Council finds it uninhabitable and orders all tenants out or arrange a surrender via mutual agreement with the landlord. Thanks to everyone for the thoughts!

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