Nightmare Landlady Taken Up Residence in Living Room and Trying to Harass and Evict

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    Nightmare Landlady Taken Up Residence in Living Room and Trying to Harass and Evict

    Summary - Two-bed flat, both rooms let, non-resident landlady, verbal contract (therefore periodic tenancy by default, month-to-month in this case, or so I understand), deposit not protected, landlady and son routinely let themselves in, son sometimes crashes overnight in living room; other tenant moved out recently, landlady then moves into his old room until it is re-let, son stays each night during this time, room is re-let (to two guys, leading to a potential over-crowding issue), landlord and son continue to stay using living room as a bedroom. Arguments ensue, physical threats and verbal abuse used against us, Plod are called but won't remove them. Plod are called again after a second argument where landlady feigns a screaming fit. No action taken.

    Finer details - we (as a couple) rented a room in a two-bed ex-council flat, where the other room was already let to another guy. The shared areas are the kitchen, living room (with balcony), toilet, bathroom. We agreed a monthly amount plus two weeks deposit, all by bank transfer, but in the end she took the two weeks as money for the roughly remaining two weeks of the current month so that the next month's payment would take us up to month-end. There was no written contract, but my understanding is that the default is an AST running periodically, month to month. Days later she then asked for a further two weeks "deposit" saying if we moved out that would cover us for the two weeks notice she wanted if we decided to move. Paying a deposit seemed a good idea to me as she was guaranteed not to bother protecting it, making it harder to evict us, in theory.

    The landlady was living elsewhere at the time, as was her son, but part of the cheap deal was that we agree to give permission for him to crash in the living room once in a while, provided he let us know in advance. The living room has a kind of flat single-sized bed in place of a sofa. Access to the kitchen is via the living room.

    The landlady would routinely turn up to collect her post with maybe a few hours notice by text, but would then stay and tidy up, move our things from the communal areas (which are also full of her stuff), use the washing machine, generally fuss around, then cook a meal for herself and/or for her son.

    There is also a daughter who has a key and gets mail addressed there, but she has only appeared once in six weeks, just briefly.

    The son had previously visited only rarely, according to the other tenant, but the first time we came across him was a few days after moving in when we found him cooking for a friend with no warning at all. After an argument he agreed to text us in future but his visits became more frequent and often he would turn up in the small hours of the morning then hang around most of the day.

    When the other tenant moved out the landlady moved in to his room and the son then came to stay every night, without giving us notice each time. If I was up late in the living room when he came home in the small hours I would be requested, with hostility, to vacate the area by the landlady (which would have been amicably between me and him if left alone, but still inconvenient to me).

    The room has now been re-let to two guys (friends, not a gay couple), one sleeping on the floor - meaning there are four renters in a two-bed flat. In addition to this over-crowding, the landlady and son have taken up residence in the living room - him on the bed-cum-sofa, her on the floor. When they are in there with the door shut it becomes very awkward to use the kitchen, or the balcony for an outside smoke. Arguments have arisen as a result and physical violence and verbal abuse were hurled at me, resulting in Plod being called. Today, mid-morning there was another argument about me using the kitchen, then the son returned home to join in the row, which resulted in the son bursting into my room whilst my gf was alone in bed, then with me being told to leave the communal area and finally followed by the landlady maniacally screaming repeatedly as if being attacked or raped. I think the son was quite embarrassed at this stage. Again Plod were called to attend (by me) but were not willing to remove them from the flat as they claimed to live there, citing their own secure tenancy.

    So what the hell do I do?

    I'm reluctant to involve the Council as I imagine they'd take a lot of prodding into action, yet they may ultimately talk to the Housing Association, which may possibly throw up illegal subletting issues. This could get everybody thrown out, including us.
    I'm also concerned that the landlady firmly believes we have no tenancy or legal contract and may therefore do something silly like chuck our stuff out, leaving us having to prosecute after the event.

    All we want to do is pay our rent, let her make her gains (illicit or otherwise) and have our "quiet enjoyment".
    Short of going to the trouble and possible expense of obtaining a harassment injunction of some sort (which also involves proving that we have an AST against a landlady who will argue that she is a secure tenant with mere lodgers) what can we do? What body is there to step in and help reasonable people deal with an irrational landlady who won't let go of her concept of "their family home" and won't respect our legal rights? Our combined incomes mean the availability of legal aid is a bit borderline and winning might not mean we recover our costs in practice as the landlady is somewhat stoney, though she possibly has an asset we could put a charging order against.

    She's told us she wants us out in two weeks (which became "tomorrow" during that same first big argument) and the son threatened to put our stuff out. I've insisted she serves us the correct Notice-To-Quit but she will not acknowledge the need. My gf is really worried about returning one day to find her possessions gone.


    It seems crazy that the more unreasonable this person is the easier it is for them to get away with it and the harder for me to get anyone to help.


    Any ideas?

    Incidentally, my local Council don't have a Tenant Relations Officer either.

    #2
    'phone Shelter, 0808 800 4444 see.
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...dvice_helpline
    - open until 8pm


    You have an AST tenancy: Landlord can (legally) only force you out by serving valid notices, then taking you to court etc.. As she did not live there when you started to her moving in later does not change this..

    Anything silly by landlord, call Police.

    Do you think landlady is declaring her rental income she gets to tax man?? If she is claiming benefits (bet she is) has she told them she is sub-letting??
    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...

    Comment


      #3
      Move out.
      That's your single workable option.
      Take other action afterwards.
      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


        #4
        IMO you HAVE to involve Council private Tenancy Relations Officer re overcrowding/poss HMO.
        Lack of written AST may be a problem unless you have copy of ad or ind Witness to verbal Contract, LL will prob claim she only granted you accom as lodgers.

        Comment


          #5
          I almost stopped reading after seeing 'part of the cheap deal was that the son can crash in the living room'.

          What the hell did you think you were getting into????

          Albeit the overcrowding is wrong, the harrassment is wrong, and you more than likely have a room only AST, I think the most effective solution is to find somewhere else to live.

          Comment


            #6
            The OP is clearly an idiot. When you are presented with this kind of situation, you simply remove yourself from it. Only an idiot would stay, cheap deal or not.

            I have hardly any sympathy for all this.

            Comment


              #7
              Move out.
              Move on.
              Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
                The OP is clearly an idiot. When you are presented with this kind of situation, you simply remove yourself from it. Only an idiot would stay, cheap deal or not.

                I have hardly any sympathy for all this.
                Rule 26?........................
                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...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Not sure what this means, but your input above is some kind of naive flight of fancy. This person cannot benefit from anything you've said in the truly crappy situation as is described... you don't stay and fight for right when it's like this, you get out, quick, and you consider yourself lucky. Phone Shelter? Ludicrous! They've had the rozzers around numerous times, what are the good folk at Shelter going to add here? This is serious, not academic; get out.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    He means Forum Rule 26.

                    My situation arose because we'd spent over two weeks solid looking at over-priced, yet tiny places and with all sorts of dodginess, or rip-off agents requiring fees and references. I wanted to keep other options open but my partner had a forced deadline approaching and was simply exhausted. This seemed like a low-risk at the price and the landlady appeared to take a shine to my gf. We really liked the Bohemian kookiness of the place, the other tenant was cool, 'the 'son issue' in isolation would probably have been workable, in moderation, with some ground rules, but we never factored in HER sleeping on the floor too, nor the actual practical difficulty in enforcing our rights. We also wrongly assumed a rational person would wish to avoid rocking the boat regarding their sub-let and possible jeopardy to any Right-to-Buy and simply stay quietly in the shadows, taking their easy profit stream.

                    Clearly now we have to have an eye on the escape hatch, but finding another place will be hampered temporarily when my antipodean partner visits home, so buying time and keeping our stuff safe is the focus.

                    I'm mostly shocked that a LL may seemingly rent out single rooms in an HMO then later move into one of them themselves without raising harassment issues. The law on rooms in shared accom seem very imprecise. Not being able to remove an unwelcome person from your living room with Police help seems even more strange.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      There are times to fight. I do get that.

                      There are times to extricate yourself, as cleanly as possible, from a situation you have assessed ain't gonna get any better - and could get a whole lot worse.

                      I change the advice that I offer based on what I read... theartfullodger's is always the same... phone Shelter, check on their tax status, call the Police (I mean, come on!)...

                      You phoning up Shelter and them confirming to you that you have an AST, or not, isn't going to help you practically. Checking whether they're paying tax??? I despair (you already stated you don't care about that). Calling the police I'd be OK with, but he seems to think that's going to be different the next time to the previous couple of times! I'm starting to wonder whether he copies-and-pastes his replies.

                      What you need to do is follow your eye... straight to that escape hatch. You seen to be involved with some very volatile (NOT rational) people. Stop being an idiot. Move on!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        With 'room only' accommodation often people end up in crap situations when they don't have time to look properly. Usually due to an imminent new job and quick move, sometimes just down to sheer poor planning.

                        Start looking again now. Ignore the 2 week threat. It's highly likely though that now you're based in the area you can find somewhere else within a couple of weeks even if moving in might be a bit later. Don't say to prospective landlords you need to move ASAP though, that is pretty offputting. Give prospective landlords time to breathe, check you out etc.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Lost Property View Post
                          I'm mostly shocked that a LL may seemingly rent out single rooms in an HMO then later move into one of them themselves without raising harassment issues. The law on rooms in shared accom seem very imprecise. Not being able to remove an unwelcome person from your living room with Police help seems even more strange.
                          The law is pretty clear, but enforcing it can be difficult.
                          The police were wrong not to remove the trespassers.

                          Being right doesn't always help.
                          This place is not "Bohemian kooky" it is a shambles.
                          That you have not moved out already is a mystery.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                            The police were wrong not to remove the trespassers.
                            While likely correct... is it likely that anything different will happen on the 4th time, the 5th time? Maybe the same rozzers would visit and just act in the same way, they'll certainly keep a record of what happened on any previous visits and probably act in the same way as on previous visits. I call - no win situation.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I agree.
                              The police aren't that good on property law and are better at preventing breaches of the peace.
                              And who would take the risk of throwing out the owner of a property unless they were 100% sure of themselves.
                              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

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