Can I get out of a 6month sublet tenancy due to worrying behaviour?

by Readers Question

9:22 AM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Can I get out of a 6month sublet tenancy due to worrying behaviour?

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Can I get out of a 6month sublet tenancy due to worrying behaviour?

A tenant of a landlord is subletting a room to me. I don’t know if the actual landlord is aware. At first she was nice to live with, but very quickly it appeared she has severe depression and behaves weirdly. Get out

She uses all of my things, she comes in to my room, eats all of my food, despite me telling her on several occasions that this is not on.

I feel uncomfortable to leave any valuables in the room and thus affecting my privacy and personal space.

I want to leave but I still have 3 months left on contract.

Is there any way out?

Sam



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:24 AM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Sam,
Can I ask what type of agreement you signed and is it in the tenant's name or the actual landlord?

Steve From Leicester

11:06 AM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

In legal terms you're probably classed as a paying guest rather than a tenant. because you don't have exclusive possession of the property. This is the case even if you've signed a tenancy agreement.

You certainly have no legal obligation to the landlord because your arrangements have been made without his or her involvement. Its also highly unlikely that you have any legal obligation to the tenant, especially if the arrangements have been made without the landlord's consent.

Its one of the very rare occasions where I'd be tempted to just pack your bags and go.

Rob Crawford

11:22 AM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

If this is a casual arrangement and the landlord has not given his permission to sublet (most don't), I would make a log of everything that you are not happy with and in the meantime start looking for new accommodation. Once you have found somewhere just leave. I doubt very much that she will follow up on anything especially if you sight harassment and invasion of privacy as a reason for leaving.

Paul Franklin

12:21 PM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Just go, nothing will happen. In the very unlikely event that she took court action to try to recover some money from you for rent left unpaid, you have plenty of counter claims.

Jamie M

19:45 PM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Run for it, before she does something really bad, it's only a matter of time.

21:29 PM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "16/05/2016 - 09:24":

The agreement is in the tenant's name but refers to her as the landlord. I have recently converted my old wireless tablet into a cctv camera, which alerts me when there is movement in the room. Today when I was alerted, I checked and saw my flatmate sleeping in my bed and watching my TV. The room has a lock, which I use everytime I leave the flat. However, she has a spare key because the room use to be hers at one stage. I'm in a difficult situation as she suffers from bipolar disorder, and when I have raised an issue before, she has locked herself in her room for weeks, rarely eating and not even showering. However, I feel violated and not sure what my rights are. Here is my contract:

Contract for the rental of Bedroom and Flat share

This contract is made on the 02 -03-2016, between **TENANT** (hereafter Landlord) and **MYSELF**(hereafter Tenant). Landlord hereby agrees to rent to Tenant the property Bedroom located at **ADDRESS**, under the following terms:
This agreement is beginning on 14/03/2016 and ending on 14/09/2016. It shall be converted automatically to a month-to-month lease upon expiration of the tenancy term unless either party notifies the other in writing at least 30 days prior to the tenancy expiration, that the party does not wish the tenancy to continue.
• Tenant shall pay Landlord **MONTHLY RENT AMOUNT** on the 14th day of each month for the rent of that month. Payment shall be made in the form of Cash, Personal guaranteed cheque or online payment transfer.

• If the rent payment is not received by Landlord by the end of the day for each month. Tenant shall pay a £40 late fee for rent more than 7days late.

• If Tenant’s personal cheque is returned or dishonoured, Tenant shall pay £20 for servicing of Bad Cheque plus any applicable late fees and all future payment will be made by money order or cash.

• Tenant shall pay a security deposit of £400.00 prior of moving into the property and Landlord shall hold deposit in trust during the tenancy term. Interest shall not accrue on the deposit while it is in the Landlord’s trust. No more than 14days following Tenant’s vacating of the property, the Landlord shall return the deposit less any charges for damages or cleaning of the property.

• No persons other than Tenant shall occupy the property for more than 5 consecutive days without the Landlord’s written permission. Additional rent may be charged for such occupancy.

• Tenant hereby acknowledges receipt of the property in good condition. Tenant agrees to leave the property in the same condition in which it was received or pay the Landlord’s costs of restoring the property to that condition.

• No pets or smoking is permitted in the property.

Tenants Name, signature and date:
**Signed by me**
Landlord’s name signature and date:
**Signed by tenant**

21:34 PM, 16th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jamie Moodie" at "16/05/2016 - 19:45":

She already has. I have installed CCTV using a free app on my tablet. I caught her sleeping in my bed and watching TV. She has a spare key for my room as it used to be her room for a while before I moved in!

Mandy Thomson

17:24 PM, 17th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by " " at "16/05/2016 - 21:29":

Hi Anjlee

Paul and Steve are correct, you are a licensee (a lodger) not a tenant, even if you have signed an agreement designed for a tenant letting a complete self contained property.

The person you're living with IS your landlord if you are paying rent to her for a room, and she in turn is the tenant of HER landlord, the person who owns the house or flat, (who could in turn be a tenant under a long lease to yet another landlord, and so on...).

As a licencee, as opposed to a tenant, you don't "own" your room, you simply have the use of it (in law, a tenant is deemed to own the property they're renting until the agreement ends), which gives your landlord the right to enter the room. However, this DOESN'T waive your rights to your privacy, your right to the use of the room (known as "quiet enjoyment") nor the ownership of your personal possessions!!

If you think of how hotel rooms are entered by hotel staff, this is exactly how a lodger landlord should enter a lodger's room - at an agreed time, for an agreed purpose (which can be to just inspect) but respecting your privacy and possessions at all times.

However, your landlord isn't doing this - she's behaving unreasonably. It's more common for it to be the other way around - but it's the same situation - although you're in a fixed term on your agreement, you could not reasonably be expected to put up with this. The most that could happen is your landlord takes out a claim in the small claims court against you for rent for the remainder of the fixed term, but it sounds like you've got plenty of evidence to prove her unreasonable behaviour, so she's unlikely to be successful.

However, as someone else suggested, if she doesn't have permission to rent the room, she probably wouldn't want to risk rocking the boat, especially if she's claiming council tax discount or any other benefits and hasn't told HMRC (which she must do if the rent you pay is above the Rent a Room Scheme threshold...)

Graham Chilvers

17:35 PM, 17th May 2016
About 2 years ago

This person has sublet the accommodation to you and taken a deposit from you which must be registered. As such, as soon as you made a rent payment and were given a key, you have exclusive legal right to that part of the property. Your Landlord has no right of entry without giving you 24hrs notice. To enter otherwise is illegal and is harassment. Eating your food is plain theft and could be reported to the police. As you only have to return the property to the Landlord in the same condition, there is nothing in the agreement to say you can’t change the lock. Personally with the evidence you have that she has breached her rights and limitations as a Landlord, I would report her to your local Housing Standards Officer, so her conducted is noted and then I would leave.

Mandy Thomson

17:56 PM, 17th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Graham Chilvers" at "17/05/2016 - 17:35":

Hi Graham

It is only mandatory to protect deposits where there's a full tenancy under an AST or an assured tenancy https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview, although deposits taken for other kinds of tenancy agreements and licences CAN be protected in one of the schemes, but it's voluntary.

I was in a hurry when I initially responded to the post, and missed the comment that was added afterwards about the lock on the room door which COULD turn it into a contractual tenancy, but NOT an AST, IF the landlord told the lodger she didn't have a key and wouldn't be entering the room unless the lodger invited her in.

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