Landlords benevolence has backfired – please HELP!

by Readers Question

13:18 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Landlords benevolence has backfired – please HELP!

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Landlords benevolence has backfired – please HELP!

I allowed a homeless couple with no children, I knew, to move into my second home, they were evicted for non payment of rent, but as I knew them I took a pity on them as they came to seek my help and had tears in their eyes, so as a fool I offered to help them! Benevolence has backfired - please HELP!

I had a 2nd Home, it was empty property undergoing slow renovations at my own pace, so I had no rush to complete it as I was not going to rent it out, so I took pity on them, and offered to move them in one of the finished rooms, but only on a temporary bases until they find a suitable place to rent somewhere else, I expected them to have stayed no more than one or at the most two months. so I drew no contract with him, or gave him any written terms and conditions of their stay.

It was for free, no rent to be paid, as I knew them, and they were somewhat like friends in need, so I bend backwards to help them in their hour of need.

When 3 months had gone, they were still there, and were not really trying to look for any place, I could see they were slowly buying and gathering more stuff and filling my place up, so I warned him that he should not bring in any more stuff as I had only allowed him space for one room and use of kitchen facilities and bathroom, but they started to make my home as theirs, filling in one cupboard after another and by 6 months they had half of all kitchen units filled up with their stuff.

So I became furious, and told them they must either leave or pay me some money towards utility bills, as they were using 95% utilities including winter heating bills I paid, so we reached an amicable solution that they must pay me £150 per month towards utility bills and 50% council tax,.

14 months later, I am now being intimidated, and total amount they have paid me is only £950. And continue to refuse to leave when I ask them to find another place.

So now I am trapped, I cannot force him to sign a contract, or a tenancy agreement as Newham Council has now made it mandatory for all private landlords to obtain a selective license, so I cannot force a contract or charge then rent until I can apply and get a Selective license, He has threatened me at various times, does not respect me the fact how I helped him when he became homeless, and does not appreciate anything at all, he lacks understanding English as he is from Romania.

I am stuck, I don’t know what to do. It is costing me money to put him in my house for free, and her even tried to install a huge 3 foot diameter satellite dish on my Chimney stack, I ordered him to take it down at once as he did not seek my permission as well as I had told him that the accommodation was only temporary and he must not try to make it as permanent, I also warned him about the need for a TV licence if he must watch any TV or satellite programmes, but he seems to care little for UK laws.

I need desperate help to get rid of him legally.

I will never help anyone again, lesson learned hard way. Never feel pity on anyone any more, cruel world out there, and the law is on these piss takers side.

Can any of you offer any helpful suggestion please?

Thanks

Mike



Comments

Tessa Shepperson

13:28 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

You should be able to evict them but the procedure you use to do this will really depend on whether you have accepted any rent or not. If you have accepted rent then it will be an AST and you will need to serve a s21 notice and evict them that way.

If they have NOT paid any rent, then it cannot be a tenancy as rent is an essential part of a tenancy. They will probably have a license to occupy which you will be able to terminate and then evict them using the same procedure used for squatters.

For DIY help - if you have created a tenancy have a look at this page http://www.landlordlaweviction.co.uk/

If they have a licence I describe the procedure in this kit here http://evictingsquatters.co.uk/

Sadly it is not a good idea for landlords to help people they feel sorry for. I have seen a lot of occasions when landlords who have done this have come unstuck.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

13:29 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Oh dear Mike... what a mess. Do you have a paper trail to prove that all monies given to you by them were for utilities and not rent ? Did you give them receipts for this money stating it was for utilities/bills ?

They will argue they were paying rent if you cannot prove the reason for these funds.

I suggest that you need legal advice. Is there a free half hour legal clinic or community law centre who you could go to for help?

I don't know if you could evict more quickly because they are non rent payers - but the local law firm will.

In the meantime no matter how angry and upset you are, please don't do anything physical out of your frustration... I know its hard.... I have had something similar.

Hopefully Tessa Shepperson (our resident property lawyer here) will be along shortly to advise.

DAVID BREWSTER

13:31 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

I have a similar situation. Allow a friend to stay in my property free of charge but the only difference is that she pays all the bills directly.

Always assumed that I could ask her to leave at any time as it is not a commercial contract.

Is it legal?

I would say that in my experience, when it comes to money it overrides personal issues.

David Brewster

Jon Dahms

13:46 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

If you decide to go down the 'Tenancy' route DO make sure you contact the Local Authority Benefits department to see whether they are receiving Housing Benefits. The going rent for your house is probably quite high and they may have been tempted to put in a fraudulent claim. If this is the case a) it gives you leverage and b) you can ask the Council to pay you direct if they are more than 8 weeks behind.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

16:34 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Jon - the local authority will not tell a landlord anything without a tenant's permission. Such folks as these wont give permission. As you suggest, playing the "fraudulent claim card" may be a lever to get information from the council, it may not

Romain Garcin

16:53 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

If they are deemed to have a license IMHO you'd still need to serve them with a valid notice to quit before starting proceedings.

With a tenancy, it could be the same if the rent was low enough so that it wouldn't be an AST. However, £150 per month is above the threshold (£1000 pa, I believe) so you'd have to follow the AST procedures.

As suggested, probably a good idea to seek legal advice on how to proceed.

Anthony Endsor

21:24 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Are you reading this, Shelter? This is what happens when good Landlords try to help the homeless.
Sorry to hear about this Mike. Other than what's already been suggested I can't really add much. Hopefully will be a lesson to others.

Mike

23:20 PM, 6th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Thank you all, for your valuable input, as far as I am concerned with this particular property, as I only offered them my heart felt help, by providing them rent free emergency accommodation for a short term, I offered this as a friend and not as a landlord.

There is a danger in classifying me as a landlord, as I explained firstly it is my second home, that I had no intention of renting out to anyone. Secondly to be considered a landlord in Newham, one must get registered with the Council and get a Selective License to be able to rent a property in Newham. Therefore it is important that there should be no confusion as to my rank, I am and was acting as an owner of a property simply trying to help a friend with rent free short term accommodation, not as a landlord, as that could land me in hot waters with Newham Council, who won't like anyone renting property without a license, and one can face a heavy fine etc. Hence why I said my case is very tricky, I need to tread carefully, one wrong move and I could end up much worst....all for what....trying to help a homeless couple! rightly someone said that law does not look at common sense, and common sense amongst council is now very rare, and a hard find.

Anthony Endsor

6:52 AM, 7th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mike " at "06/08/2014 - 23:20":

Hi Mike.
Apologies for classifying you as a landlord, when in fact you were only trying to help a friend.
It really does infuriate me though that this happens when people try to help. Where is the protection, or the thanks for helping? This is what the world has come to now and it's very sad. Whatever the situation regarding licensing etc, aside from that, the Council should be helping you as you are helping them take someone off the street. They should never have allowed it to escalate like this, but helped this couple to find a permanent home.
I wish you luck with this Mike, and hope it all gets sorted in a satisfactory manner soon.

Mark Alexander

7:55 AM, 7th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Mike

I have thought hard and long about this and the following advice is offered without liability.

From what you have said I don't think you have created a tenancy. On that basis, if I were you, I would probably take a flyer.

I would have a word with the tenants and tell them that you are having the rest of the work done a week on Monday so they have until next weekend to clear out their stuff.

I would then arrange for builders to turn up on the Monday to quote for the work.

In the meantime I would pop into the local Police station, take a copy of this discussion thread, and explain what has gone on and that you may need them to arrest the occupants for trespass if they fail to move out.

If the occupants are still there at midnight on Sunday, I would call the Police and ask them to be in attendance when the builders turn up.

There is a risk that this could backfire.

The reason I wouldn't go down the possession route on the basis of a tenancy is that that would be an admission of breaking the law, i.e. letting without a licence.

The risk is that the occupiers will get legal aid and/or a no-win-no-fee lawyer to act for them. If that ends up in Court and you lose then you are back in the same position with regards to having committed an offence of letting without a licence. You would be incredibly unlucky if that was to happen but clearly you can't just bury your head in the sand forever. The property is worth far more than the costs of getting it back in your possession. I very much doubt that it will go that far though.

To cover your own backside I think you should buy a Litigation Warranty before you do any of this. Please see >>> http://www.property118.com/barristers-opinion-fraction-cost-2/65841/
.

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