Unsigned lodging agreement/pay weekly cash (my view periodic excluded occupier)

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    Unsigned lodging agreement/pay weekly cash (my view periodic excluded occupier)

    Firstly please do not judge me. In 2008 I lodged with X when I had a fixed term job for 6 months down South (6 hours from my Yorkshire parental home). A contract was signed, it was clear and I was given a copy to keep. X liked me so much and felt I had been such a reasonable tenant he wanted to remain friends.

    January 2016 after time off work with depression I got another job down South with the same employer. I got in touch with X over facebook (lost touch) and asked if he still took lodgers. He said no not formally because no longer needed money but if I got stuck he could help me out and I could take daughter's room whilst she was at uni. I said it would be no longer than 3 months because I was looking to purchase my own home. I would also look for somewhere else to rent in area. Unfortunately my job turned out to be temporary due to funding and I no longer had a reason to purchase in the area.

    As soon as I walked through the door (despite the friendly communication on facebook) he was not particularly pleasant nor nice towards me. There was no how nice it was to see me. It was funny looks. I went looking for somewhere else to rent as was always my intention. I found somewhere and was about to sign contract.

    X was quite abrupt and said 'no, no, no' - you said you were looking to buy a house and you'd need 3 months - you should stay here and he shook his head and was unpleasant. He was like 'none of your procrastination' - 'how old are you?'

    I felt guilty and pathetic because I'd lost a lot of confidence due to depression/become less streetwise. I paid weekly cash (to his partner) and kept out his way. I sometimes ate out and avoided them. I hated going down the stairs to go to the gym in case I bumped into them. I would put off taking a shower sometimes if I thought I'd bump into him.

    In April 3 months had passed and it was now harder to get another place (only 8-9 months fixed term job in area) but not impossible. He approached me with his partner and suggested it would leave me in a difficult situation to suggest I go (I think this is due to her influence/no bullying behaviour when she around). He asked for higher rent - more than many local landlords charging, but still market.

    He suggested the written agreement from last time should be got out and amended. I agreed and didn't mind this at all. I felt a bit stuck and decided it was better to keep out of his way (out sailing most weekends). When I was on my way out one day he got out the written agreement and my old phone number/old parental (permanent) address was on it. I briefly read through it. He offered no polite conversation and I felt quite anxious. It was quite detailed about things I wasn't allowed to do (use TV before children etc).

    He agreed to take it back and make contact amendments on computer and produce a fresh copy for me to sign and retain. As it happened he kept the unsigned old contract with penned address amendments to himself. He never showed me the contract again. I viewed it briefly once in April and never signed it.

    I carried on paying his wife cash weekly. I was never given a rent book nor receipt. I felt unhappy but a bit stuck. When his daughter was home from university he was funny and asked to go into my room to get a pull out bed. I said 'yes' (when I'd cleared personal items (knickers actually)) Due to his tone I offered to move out because my employer (a university) could offer me accommodation (cheaper!) now the students had left. He rejected this and said 'oh no, no'

    In September an incident occurred. I needed to work away in Yorkshire for 2-3 weeks. I drove off (last minute call) and left a message asking to pay rent by cash transfer (I didn't want to hand over that volume of cash). He was aggressive. I got upset and was 40 minutes down road to York. I offered to come back (to avoid bother) and he accepted it so they could be handed cash in advance (no receipt given). I felt like I was having a heart attack and forgot to pay for petrol. I then had to set off next day and miss my meeting. He was happy to witness this and didn't care.

    I am a land lawyer by training before I got ill. My understanding was that because I paid them cash weekly (this contract had never been acted on and was a work in progress) it was a periodical tenancy and they had a right to a weeks notice.

    I said I was leaving last week and asked what they would consider 'reasonable notice'... He produced the agreement I'd seen once in April, never been given a copy of nor signed. One of the clauses was being owed a months notice. He said contracts can be oral (true enough) and got nasty. I said how about until end of October as compromise. He was aggressive and said 'no' first week in November (full 4 weeks). He was verbally abusive about the fact due to 'me' the grandparents couldn't visit and his daughter couldn't have her room back. He also pointed out I'd had depression and he couldn't have just thrown me out after 3 months. I was fit enough to work and find accommodation. I do feel bullied by him though.

    He has never kept his legal obligation to give me receipts/rent book and kept this contract from me which I'd forgotten and felt I never committed to because it was kept from me nor signed. I saw it once in April. If I'd have signed it, had a copy so could remember its terms, I'd have given the month's notice.

    I've given him his week notice. There is evidence I pay weekly because I facebook message sometimes and say left weekly rent under computer and they put 'thank you' when get it.

    I was thinking of removing all my belongings. Writing a letter pointing out the contract is unsigned and I saw it once - pointing out the bullying behaviour. That he was paid cash weekly and is owed a weeks notice at common law. Taking lots of photos of room to prove undamaged. Posting keys through the door and asking for no further contact.

    I am just worried the unsigned contract might help him win against me in small claims court.

    #2
    I would move out and pay the landlord the final week rent.
    They are unlikely to chase you through the small claims court and, even if they do, are unlikely to win very much.

    You need to sort this out and move on.
    The details don't really matter, the only dispute is how much you'll owe the landlord, as you want to move out.
    So do that and argue the amounts afterwards - if it crops up at all.
    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


      #3
      Thanks.

      I guess detail not that important. Other than I don't feel I could have intention to create legal relations with someone who has been bullying me - if I was anxious I was less likely to have fully read the terms and accept them. Then again proving this different matter.

      Surely the lack of rent book is neither in his favour.

      Equally the aggression about being paid cash (perhaps hiding something from Inland Rev?) I doubt it because there is a tax free allowance to take lodger.

      Small Claims Court (did my barristers training years ago/not up to date). If he paid to file a claim against me - I coughed up a compromise. Would I be liable for his fee for filing claim? Or offered two weeks rent out of court as a compromise. Surely no judge would have any sympathy. I know the law - lack the experience of what happens.

      The amount of money owed is £315 (he would claim).

      The aggression about being paid cash (well its not in this unsigned written agreement). So its like he sticks to it when it suits him kind of thing (hence long story)

      Comment


        #4
        Rent book not required for lodgers.

        Bullying always unacceptable. Look up law on harassment definition of harassment - but you need to move away from this scr+at.

        Easy with Google to report tax fiddler's to HMRC. Also benefit fraud if you think he was getting any.

        Sorry it's happened, hope next home better
        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


          #5
          theartfullodger,

          https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ho...-lodgers-have/

          I thought were owed rent book.

          No benefits. He is wealthy and has a yacht! I do think this business affairs are dirty though. Even so should be allowed one tax free lodger up to (I think £7500) in own home.

          Thanks

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by LEW1982 View Post
            Small Claims Court (did my barristers training years ago/not up to date). If he paid to file a claim against me - I coughed up a compromise. Would I be liable for his fee for filing claim? Or offered two weeks rent out of court as a compromise. Surely no judge would have any sympathy. I know the law - lack the experience of what happens.
            If you agree out of court you reach whatever settlement you can mutually agree on.
            The small claims filing fee for a claim of £315 would be £50 (£35 if done online).
            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


              #7
              jpkeates,

              Thanks for your help. I don't need stress of disputes. I'll probably just wait to see if he does this. Better than just handing over money. If I was to offer settlement (say until end of Oct, extra two weeks) - strong burden to settle out of court isn't there... I doubt there will be much sympathy nor any costs awarded to him. Not that I want to but I don't need the stress.

              I went to see another house assuming he was owed weeks notice and agreed to move in next weekend. Plus its unpleasant now and I am working in the place where house is.. (40 mins up road)

              Comment


                #8
                Another question on the unsigned lodging agreement

                On my earlier post I said I'd moved in with an old friend January 2016 and paid him and wife weekly cash in hand. No rent book given. But I have recorded payments on facebook by saying 'left £105 under computer' - she has confirmed and said 'thank you' (not best way - he has turned nasty and I avoid them, don't especially want to see him/her to hand over cash).

                In April (as I said) he showed me a contract once on way out (it has my writing on it) but I didn't sign it - he said he'd type up new one with amended details (my new mobile no etc) and we'd discuss it next day, he'd give me fresh copy to sign and keep.

                This never happened. He has been intimidating and unpleasant around me. It wasn't one of those 'can I have it?' I've had depression and was off (professional) work for 8 years. He is big and strapping, I'd forgotten to be street wise. Basically he has enjoyed my loss of confidence in dealing with people - misjudged friendship

                I continued to pay him weekly cash and the relationship stayed casual, but they promised I could stay up to Christmas. I would have expected nature of our relationship to change if contract signed - not weekly cash payments, properly evidenced monthly payments. I often mentioned moving out but he got quite unpleasant and said I should stay for longer because he'd done X or Y, but never mentioned being owed a months notice. There are a couple of facebook discussions where I offer to leave (daughter coming home etc) or say I have job interview miles away - they never mention being owed month notice.

                Anyway he has pulled out this agreement as I said (boring you) and says I owe months notice. He works on contracts (commercial manager) and was threatening and abusive - said fact unsigned didn't matter. I have a law degree and know it doesn't always. I didn't remember a contract I saw once though and didn't sign. Its terms I had forgotten.

                Some agencies told me to leave and not pay/other agency said insist to pay rest by cheque and get him to sign something to say you've left and not broken anything. He has been abusive and unpleasant so how can I even do this? I feel threatened by him and avoid him. I don't feel able to do this.

                My issue is how much interest would he get on £315 if went to small claims? It doesn't look like much. I am actually tempted to give him by cheque (when leave) a bit extra on grounds I deny contract, but good will gesture. We are in dispute and that is my settlement to him. I want no further contact. Hope no judge or court would have sympathy given circumstances with someone who chases small amount after a settlement has been given and I didn't sign the doted line

                Comment


                  #9
                  Didn't see the other thread but I suspect that the Mods will merge as they are related.

                  Apologies if this is repeating what has been said.

                  If you feel uncomfortable and need to move then;

                  a, find somewhere to move to.

                  b, move out as descretely as you can. Photograph the room as you have left it.

                  c, leave weekly rent payment (I assume it is advance) and a note saying you have left. Here is a weeks money in lieu of Notice and the keys. Photograph said letter and money.

                  Then await their response. If they wish to sue you then they have to establish that the terms of the agreement were agreed. Difficult with an unsigned contract. In the absence of verification of the agreement, then - IIRC - the reasonable approach on Notice is period is that it matches a rental period. As you pay your rent weekly then the rental period would be a week.

                  As for interest on £315, probably very little. This is not a commercial debt (which can acrue interest set out by statute). Besides, if a Court finds in their favour then is the additional monies (as yo have already paid one week) going to provide value for being out of abusive accommodation?

                  Don't forget if they relet within their degreed notice period then your potential obligation would be the vacant period less your notice payment.
                  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


                    #10
                    As a lodger, you must give 'reasonable' notice, but there are no set rules about what is reasonable (unless you have a contract). If you pay weekly it see,ms reasonable to give a week notice. Leave now - you are staying in someone else's home and for both your sakes you need to go.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Two related threads have been merged.
                      I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                      Comment

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