Evicted lodger now trying to sue me for £5000 at County Court?

Evicted lodger now trying to sue me for £5000 at County Court?

10:31 AM, 24th March 2022, About 3 months ago 17

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I recently started to rent out a room in my home. At first, the person seemed reasonable, but sadly I came home from work one night and found she was smoking cannabis at the entrance to my property. I share this main entrance with two other properties in my block.

I spoke to her and said this was unacceptable and went against her lodgers obligations in the agreement we had. “Not to use the property for any illegal and immoral activity”. She apologised and said she will move away from the property.

Later that evening I saw that she had an amount of drugs in her possession. I didn’t challenge her and was going to seek legal advice and I was deeply concerned. She had been here two weeks and I already had a sinking feeling.

then proceeded to tell me about her links to the polish mafia and she knew some really serious violent people.

I found that she had been coughing up flem and spitting in my cups.

I challenged her about this and things just went from bad to worse.

After consulting with the metropolitan police I changed the locks and evicted her as her behaviour was unacceptable. She has since got a solicitor and is trying to take me to small claims court and sue me for 5000 quid.

So I’m left now having to write a defence as to why I don’t feel like I have done anything wrong.

Help, please?

James



Comments

Rob Crawford

11:52 AM, 24th March 2022, About 3 months ago

It could get nasty so I would consult with a solicitor who knows the difference between a lodger and AST agreement. I suspect she will try to convince the court that she was a tenant (not a lodger) and that you unlawfully evicted her.

Fiona

9:10 AM, 25th March 2022, About 3 months ago

Not sure what contract you gave her. However. I recently came across something. Cannot now remember where. So can't link, sorry. But it pointed out that the "lodger" status only applies if the landlord is the OWNER of the property. Not themselves a tenant. I'm sure you are the owner. But just worth bearing in mind.

Blodwyn

9:17 AM, 25th March 2022, About 3 months ago

I am retired solicitor. As Rob Crawford advises very correctly, see a competent landlord and tenant solicitor. If you don't know one, ask Citizens Advice for a name, they ought to know. DON'T try to do a home made defence, with the greatest of respect, you will probably get it wrong.
Write your exes off to experience! Even if you get a costs order in your favour, grim experience tells me you won't see your money!

Peter

10:11 AM, 25th March 2022, About 3 months ago

When I was younger, I had similar problem. I took advice at the time, some years ago, and it was that your lodger is just a lodger if you are owner of property. She has no defence against eviction
However, she is entitled to notice equal to one period of rent. So if she paid weekly, then one week, if you paid monthly than one month.
It is likely from my experience, unless it’s changed, she would win some recompense for lack of notice.
However, It is not an illegal eviction.
However, you are right in my view to do what you’ve done when you view the whole thing in the round.
Living with somebody for a month that you hate is extremely stressful. I’ve done that and never will do it again

Rerktyne

11:26 AM, 25th March 2022, About 3 months ago

I wouldn’t consider a lodger! Instead I had very rich EFL students who I knew would bugger off back to their mansions after a few weeks! Generally polite and good mannered. The girls ate nothing as they wanted to be film stars. The boys were good company. Never ever house anyone who has recourse to the law! You cannot win even if you win! In this stupid country the awful tenant/lodger is still king and the landlord is for kicking up the arse!

NewYorkie View Profile

13:07 PM, 25th March 2022, About 3 months ago

Isn't it strange these days! When I was a kid in the early 60s, we had 2 lodgers in our council house. They were clean, tidy and law-abiding, and never complained. Just behind us was a big 'doss house' called Rowton House, and our 2 gentlemen were very grateful they didn't have to live there.

ajin oo

20:19 PM, 25th March 2022, About 3 months ago

She breached the contract first. If you gave her at least reasonable time like a week to move out. Thus she has no claim. Read this case law: Gibson v Douglas & Anor [2016] EWCA Civ 1266 (08 December 2016).
Some lawyers will advice you to concede but dont listen. Just maintain the truth. She was a lodger. She breached the lodger contract. You gave a one week or more notice. And you change the locks. That is the end.

Parallel Law Ltd

20:06 PM, 26th March 2022, About 3 months ago

We do not provide legal advice, but our common sense advice is to enter into mediation with the lodger/tenant so that a court hearing is avoided. Court hearings are very costly and take forever.

Luke P

20:50 PM, 27th March 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Parallel Law Ltd at 26/03/2022 - 20:06You don’t need a Court (not mediation) for lodger issues. If they attempt a Small Claim, they’d barely have a leg to stand on (possibly one period’s notice at best).

Smiffy View Profile

9:42 AM, 28th March 2022, About 3 months ago

this is nothing other than an attempted "shakedown", both the tenant and the solicitor are hoping to scare you into making a settlement to keep it out of court.

IF IT WAS ME, I would write back to the solicitor and request a full and final statement confirming the claim in detail and under which legislation they were bringing the claim.

I'd then respond to that disputing the claim in full, and state i will not respond any further other than to a court summons. It will probably then go away.

This also cuts out the opportunity for two firms of solicitors to run up accounts writing letters to each other, and forces the claimant into a corner.

If a summons is forthcoming, then I'd look at the finer points of law and start preparing my own defence. Being the defendant in Court is the best side to be on, the burden of proof is on them, you just need to dismantle that.

BUT, what I would do, doesn't necessarily suit everybody.

There really needs to be a change to allow solicitors to be held jointly and severally liable for the defendants costs, so that when this lodger disappears after the case, you can recover costs from the solicitor bringing the malicious claim.

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