Landlord won't let me leave — how do I make her?

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    Landlord won't let me leave — how do I make her?

    Hi all,

    I apologise in advance for my tendency to write short novels, I'll try and be as concise as I can.

    *edit* SHORT VERSION: I have a nightmare live-in landlord who won't guarantee my privacy and security as my stuff has gone missing, she's dirty and messy and lets herself and friends wander around my room/bathroom. I'm trying to end the tenancy early as she won't let me keep locks or cameras. I have signed an AST and my deposit is in a safe scheme, although not sure she did it in the right timeframe as I never saw the certificate. I want to use something as leverage to leave early without paying her the full 4 remaining months and getting my deposit back, as she's surely obliged to guarantee my peace of mind somehow. Thanks for any advice.



    LONG VERSION (for who's feeling brave/has time on their hands): I am currently having issues with my live-in landlord in my fixed term tenancy which I'd like to end early—end date is set in February 2017.

    I've realised after some time spent in this house, which I absolutely love by the way and treat with a lot of respect, that her lifestyle is not compatible with mine. At all. I think most landlords would be delighted to have me as a tenant considering I check all the boxes in credit history, full-time, well paid employment, I am extremely clean, quiet, never caused a single issue to anyone and always been extremely reliable in payments and taking care of my living space. Which is why I never thought living with a landlord would cause me any kind of problems, as I treat every home I live in as my own and make sure to keep it in top notch conditions. And I automatically assumed a home owner would naturally do the same, being in their own property.

    However, she turned out to be a bit of a nightmare: dirty, messy, doesn't pay for cleaners, doesn't even want to split the cost to the point that I end up doing the whole cleaning simply because I refuse to live in a dump. It breaks my heart as the house would be absolutely stunning if only it would be taken care of properly.

    She also has the habit of wandering around my own room and private bathroom and helping herself to all my products, and obviously anything that's mine in the fridge/food cupboard...needless to say the same applies to friends she brings around, who insist on using my bathroom instead of hers, which causes me real discomfort as I feel like I have to clean it every time they've been in it (yes, I am this obsessed with cleaning. What can I say, I like hygiene and they don't exactly come across as the cleanest people on the planet).

    I always let it go being confident I would leave at the end of the contract regardless, since I like to avoid conflict considering there's money involved and I find it wiser to not provoke someone who's unreliable, moody and immature (just for reference I'm 26 and she's 25). And I always thought, if nothing valuable disappears, no harm done...UNTIL NOW.

    I tend to not be around during weekends and I obviously know people are here when I'm away. I never get informed when her friends are in the house, by the way, despite me asking her for permission or always giving her a heads up whenever some of my friends are invited. A week ago I came back to find the house a complete mess, lots of my stuff moved, my bathroom considerably dirtier than I left it and some money missing from my room. Now I don't have cameras in my room but I know for a fact lots of people were here and she admitted to it. She however flipped out on me when I mentioned my missing money—despite trying to give it back to me and insisting I don't insult her by returning it, but also blaming me for making the whole theft up...—and she refuses to let me put locks on my door. The only thing I asked her is to have my privacy and my belongings' security guaranteed, and the only way to do it, as she can't guarantee it for me, is to lock my stuff up.

    She refuses to give me permission to do so, saying "she doesn't feel comfortable not knowing what goes on behind closed doors!" (hilarious...as if I would be the nutter in the situation), she refuses to let me keep a camera, saying she'll remove it when I am not around, and she refuses to let me leave early unless I pay her the full 4 months remaining. Now I am pretty sure considering her habits, and the theft incident, she should be legally obliged to guarantee my own security and peace of mind but as this is not a shared house the situation is trickier; the tenancy is in my name only and she doesn't show up as a live-in landlord in it.

    I am honestly so frustrated as I only want to live comfortably, and I genuinely make extra efforts to ensure my home is treated extremely well. I feel like I don't have a way out of this and I've realised, after enough years spent sharing spaces, that my standards are unfortunately too high for most of the housemates out there. I have options in terms of alternative accommodations, for myself only, but she won't let go of this and quite frankly, after all I've endured, I refuse to get out whilst still paying rent to this slob.

    Before you mention it, I've tried negotiating and I've tried the gentle, conversation-way solution, I said I'll help her do viewings with other tenants, but she won't cave in and I don't understand why she'd want to have someone in the house who clearly doesn't like her and doesn't feel comfortable around her.

    WHAT DO I DO.

    Now that the issue has been brought up by me I can only assume the next parties will be much worse considering how petty she is and more of my stuff will be missing or disappear (I can't put everything in a safe as it's not big enough, and I can't always travel with computer, work documents...etc).

    The only things I can think of are:

    - Deposit: she put my deposit in a protection scheme, but hasn't provided me with any documents and I don't actually know if she did it within the 30 days window or later. Can I use the non compliance as leverage to negotiate, saying I'll leave when I want, she'll pay the whole deposit back and I won't claim compensation for not having received the PI and the documents? Will this hold a case in a court, when and if it comes to it? I never asked for it, but for sure she never mentioned, via post or email or text, any certificate or else.

    - Calling the police as she does drugs quite frequently in the house and the amounts I've seen are more than enough to get her locked up. This is an extreme solution and I wouldn't even want to threaten her with it as it would cause lots of additional drama, which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid, as I've had enough drama for a lifetime...

    - Claimed she breached the clause of our agreement which states she has to guarantee my quiet and comfortable living in the property, etc etc, this would be connected to the theft and the hygiene issues obviously, but it looks like a rather weak argument, would it hold in a claim?

    No, there is no break clause.

    Yes, it's only a few months to go. But I am genuinely worried for my belongings and the state of my room/bathroom, and it only really takes one evening to damage someone's things, or steal them.

    She's being unreasonable as I don't actually want money, I'd like to avoid any claim and only use it for leverage, I just want to go in peace and let her crack on with her fun, without it affecting myself or my stuff.

    SORRY! I know this is a lot to read, thanks if you made it this far, any advice is extremely appreciated.

    #2
    So in short you rent a room in this house where the landlord also lives?

    If so that makes you a lodger and not a tenant on an AST. Give one weeks notice and leave.

    What is soooo difficult about that? Pay no more rent. As you are not on an AST (landlord lives in same premises) there is no need to give long notice. If she does not refund your deposit sue in the county court.
    Didn't take in the rest of this hysteria.



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

    Comment


      #3
      I did actually sign an AST when I moved in. She's only mentioned as the landlord in it, except for the fact that on our details page, both of our addresses are the same.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
        If so that makes you a lodger and not a tenant on an AST. Give one weeks notice and leave.

        What is soooo difficult about that? Pay no more rent. As you are not on an AST (landlord lives in same premises) there is no need to give long notice. If she does not refund your deposit sue in the county court.
        Didn't take in the rest of this hysteria.
        (I haven't read OP's post as it is way too long)

        Hold on a second.

        The length of notice is determined by the agreement. OP may be help liable if (s)he tries to breach the agreement.

        Being a lodger does not mean being able to do as you please.

        Comment


          #5
          You can LEAVE any time you like - this evening of you like.

          However, depending on the agreement (which sounds like it can't have been an AST, even of it says it was..) may mean you remain liable for rent for some time.

          I would keep notes of all the unreasonable behaviour: Report to Police if necessary. And give 1 weeks notice, pay to end of that, and go (today if you like).

          Landlord can then sue you if they choose to: Doubt she will but you never know: Really doubt she'd win...
          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


            #6
            Lodger should give 1 rental period Notice IMO

            OP you may have signed an AST at start. Fact is your LL resides in same property means you are a lodger and LL did not have to protect deposit. If LL fails to repay, then sue for full amount in SCC.

            Comment


              #7
              @theartfullodger that's exactly what she said: leave when you want, but you'll still have to pay me. I am puzzled as it always seems the law is awfully unfair when it comes to landlords, yet I have been a good and reliable tenant (lodger) but it looks like there's no action I can take against this without having the doubt of losing money over it (if she takes this to court there's still a chance she might win as you said...small but there is), despite her being in the wrong and not allowing me to live comfortably.

              @mariner if the contract I signed is not relevant to the current situation, does this mean I don't have to rely on it, and there would potentially be no other consequence than losing my deposit? I'm sorry for being so inexperienced but I genuinely never thought I'd be in such a situation.

              Comment


                #8
                If you contract for a fixed term licence there is no right to end it early just because it is a licence. However, unlike a tenancy:

                (a) Either party can bring the arrangement to an end if there is serious breach of contract;

                (b) If the lodger leaves owing "rent" the owner is under an obliagtion to mitigate his loss.

                It is not clear in this case whether there is a tenancy or a licence.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                  If you contract for a fixed term licence there is no right to end it early just because it is a licence. However, unlike a tenancy:

                  ...

                  (b) If the lodger leaves owing "rent" the owner is under an obliagtion to mitigate his loss.
                  Why is this the case for a licence?

                  I believe that even for other types of fixed term contracts (e.g. mobile phone, gym, etc) the consumer is on the hook for the whole of the term.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think it has to depend.

                    If you are a telecom company you have lots of customers at the same time making use of your service. If one customer defaults there is nothing you can do to mitigate your loss; you will not go looking for a new customer to replace the one in default because you will always be looking for new customers anyway.

                    In the case of a licence to let a room you cannot sit back because you can take steps to find a new lodger.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      LMO Please complete & paste http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ll-new-posters
                      What you signed is a valid Contract, but not an AST as LL lives in the property, so tech a Licence to Occupy (Lodger) not T.
                      How frequently do you pay rent and when?
                      At best, LL can only retain 1 complete rental period cash from your deposit if you walk out tomorrow. IMO

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

                        England.

                        Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

                        The contract clearly states it's and AST in which I am the sole tenant. It doesn't mention her as a live in landlord but just as a landlord who is entitled to have access to the premises on office hours on weekdays etc.

                        Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

                        01/09/2016

                        Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

                        6 months.

                        Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?

                        The rent is due every calendar month on or before the last day of the month.

                        Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

                        The deposit was required and it was paid on the 26/08/2016 along with the first month.

                        Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?

                        Yes.

                        Thank you everyone for your inputs. I am quite confused about the contract matter as it is most definitely not a licence...it probably should have been considering the situation but it is titled as and AST and it is exactly the same as other contracts I had prior to this without live-in landlords.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It doesn't matter what the agreement says it is, what type of tenancy you have depends on the facts of your situation.
                          Even if the document says its an AST, it may not be one.

                          There's a tenancy type checker on the shelter web site, which asks a series of questions and gives you a reasonable answer.

                          Even if it's not an AST, most of the terms will still be applicable.

                          I think the issue is essentially that a) you have to leave an unacceptable situation and b) how much that's likely to cost you if the landlord takes action to seek compensation for any loss they incur from your breach.
                          And then is b) worth doing a).
                          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
                            It doesn't matter what the agreement says it is, what type of tenancy you have depends on the facts of your situation.
                            Even if the document says its an AST, it may not be one.

                            There's a tenancy type checker on the shelter web site, which asks a series of questions and gives you a reasonable answer.

                            Even if it's not an AST, most of the terms will still be applicable.

                            I think the issue is essentially that a) you have to leave an unacceptable situation and b) how much that's likely to cost you if the landlord takes action to seek compensation for any loss they incur from your breach.
                            And then is b) worth doing a).
                            Thanks for this and apologies for the delay in replying. I did check and as you and others suggested I have been given the wrong type of agreement. I apparently am an excluded occupier, which means I have very little rights BUT am still tied by the contract somehow. Now she appears to know very little about this, and doesn't seem to realise the agreement was wrong so I am avoiding talking about it as I am trying to figure out if this can give me any advantage at all on her, but the chances seem slim.

                            She agreed to let me put a lock on my door if no damage is done to it and doesn't require her to replace at the end of the tenancy but she insists in keeping one key which basically solves no issues at all and only causes me to spend additional money, on top of the money I have been robbed of, to take care of it, with no peace of mind whatsoever.

                            I am just wondering if any of you have experience in regards to court cases in which landlords have been sued for being in breach of the agreement because of their behaviour (the famous quiet enjoyment clause which is ever so difficult to define). I am not saying I'd like to go to that—it's way too time consuming for my work schedule at the moment—but I would definitely like to know if considering the theft and drug habits and strangers having access I would have any chance at all to defend myself and seek any kind of compensation.

                            Because at the moment she would either keep a key to my lock—and replace it if I'd change it, I assume—or let me go only at the condition that she'd keep my deposit, which quite honestly, considering I've acted as a cleaner for the past months on top of everything else, seems more like an insult than any kind of compromise.

                            Shelter said I don't have many rights in this, but that if the locks are not mentioned in the contract I am allowed to install my own and retain all copies of the keys, unless they're left with an agent in which case they would need to have one, but they would also be forced to give the 24hr notice before entering the premises; but that's not the case.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I don't think you are going to get anywhere looking for compensation.

                              I think you need to find somewhere else to live, because (basically) life's too short to not be happy.
                              It will probably cost you your deposit, and the landlord would probably be able to try and claim you'd breached your contract and seek compensation for any loss arising from that.
                              Any loss is liable to be negligable / low, and the landlord may simply not bother if they have the deposit.

                              The issues you raise would all be good defences to any claim the landlord did try to make.

                              You could even try and get your deposit back when you were safely living somewhere else, but that might simply reopen a can of worms you'd be better off out of.

                              That advice clearly involved you breaking the agreement that you made and isn't something that many people (I suspect) would agree with.
                              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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