Eviction by co-tenant but there is no tenancy agreement?

by Readers Question

9:08 AM, 1st April 2017
About 2 years ago

Eviction by co-tenant but there is no tenancy agreement?

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Eviction by co-tenant but there is no tenancy agreement?

I have been living in a shared three bedroom flat in London for almost a year. I have just been asked to move out within a month as my flat-mate feels we don’t get along.

I would like to know what my legal rights are, as I understand an official termination must come from the landlord? Our situation is tricky however as when I initially moved in there was no official landlord as the building was being sold to another landlord (so the flat-mate that had me move in was speaking with an interim housing office).

We have now had a landlord for approximately 9 months. Unfortunately we don’t have a contract.

I would appreciate your advice, as it would be complicated for me to move out at the moment due to health issues (I was in an accident).

I really appreciate the help.

Tiffany



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:12 AM, 1st April 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Tiffany,

Without an agreement can I ask how you pay the rent what proportion and who to?

Shay Richards

11:23 AM, 1st April 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "01/04/2017 - 09:12":

Hi Neil, There are three people in total in the flat, we split the total rent and pay the flatsharer who has been there the longest (and who has asked me to move out). She pays the landlord directly. My name is on the council tax and I have been in contact with the landlord, but I'm on no other bills.
Many thanks for your reply.

Puzzler

12:43 PM, 1st April 2017
About 2 years ago

Why does your flatmate have priority in that s/he has asked you to move? Why don't they move?

Shay Richards

15:23 PM, 1st April 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi, they have been there longer than me and they pay the landlord so they feel like they have the right to tell me to leave. I'm trying to understand legally if that is accurate, or if a dismissal must come from the landlord.

Gary Dully

10:45 AM, 2nd April 2017
About 2 years ago

I would assume that you have a tenancy by default because the actual tenant has been subletting ;

When they accepted the rent they became your landlord, which gives you legal rights.

Although if it was a local authority property the lady who instigated the sublet would be facing up to two years in prison, because subletting a local authority property has become a criminal offence.

You should seek legal advice from the local authority or CAB.

Here is shelters viewpoint

Subtenants
You might be a subtenant if you rent a room or all of a property from another tenant rather than from the owner.

Are you a subtenant?
You could be a subtenant if another tenant rents the place you live and you then rent it from the tenant.

For example, a tenant rents a house from the council and then the tenant sublets a room to you as a subtenant.

The tenant is your immediate landlord. The owner of the property is called the head landlord.

Most lodgers are not subtenants.

Rights of subtenants
Your rights depend on:

the type of accommodation you live in
whether you share with your immediate landlord
the date you moved in
what your tenancy agreement says
Subtenants have a valid tenancy for as long as the immediate landlord's tenancy continues.

Subtenants can have different types of tenancy, depending on their living arrangements.

If you don't live in the same building as your landlord, you're probably an assured shorthold tenant.

If you live in the same building as your landlord but don’t share living accommodation such as the kitchen and bathroom with them, you're probably an occupier with basic protection.

If your landlord's tenancy ends
If your immediate landlord's tenancy ends, your rights to stay in the accommodation depend on the type of tenancy you have and whether your immediate landlord had permission to sublet to you.

Whether or not you have permission for your subtenancy depends on:

what type of tenancy your immediate landlord has
what it says in your immediate landlord's tenancy agreement
whether the head landlord (the person your landlord rents from) agreed to the subtenancy
If the head landlord accepts rent directly from you, your tenancy is likely to be permitted. This is true even if your subtenancy did not originally have permission to sublet, for example because your immediate landlord's tenancy agreement said that subletting is not permitted.

By accepting rent, the head landlord accepts that you have the right to occupy the accommodation.

Eviction of subtenants
You can be evicted easily if:

the tenancy ends for the person you rent from and your subtenancy has not been accepted by the head landlord
you live in the same building as your immediate landlord
Subletting your home
Subletting is only allowed in certain circumstances. Tenants who want to sublet usually need permission from their landlord.

You may be allowed to rent out a room. But if you attempt to sublet the whole of your property without permission, your landlord may be able to end your tenancy very easily. This is particularly likely if the landlord is a council or housing association.

If you sublet your property to another tenant without permission, and have made a profit from subletting, your landlord may be able to take you to court to claim damages. This may also be tenancy fraud if you rent from a council or housing association.

Organisations often work together to identify tenancy fraud and may:

take photographs of tenants to confirm their identity
visit unannounced to check who is living at the property
conduct interviews and investigations to gather evidence
run a telephone hotline where people can anonymously report illegal subletting – cash rewards may even be offered for information

I hope this helps

Robert Mellors

15:15 PM, 2nd April 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Shay Richards" at "01/04/2017 - 11:23":

Hi Shay

If you moved in after the original tenant, and there is no written tenancy agreement (with you named on it) with the Landlord, then you are probably a lodger (or possibly a sub-tenant of the main tenant, i.e. a tenant of the person that pays the rent to the Landlord). The first thing you need to do is check and clarify whether you are:
1. A joint tenant of the whole property (with the owner as the Landlord)
2. A tenant of one room in the property (with the owner as the landlord)
3. A sub-tenant of the main tenant, (i.e. your only "contract" is with the main tenant, not with the owner landlord)
4. A lodger of the main tenant.
Without a written tenancy/licence/lodger agreement, it is difficult to determine for sure, so you may need to seek some legal advice over your true tenancy status, as this will make a massive difference to what tenancy rights you may or may not have.

Being on the Council Tax bill does not establish your tenancy status, so should not be relied upon as evidence one way or the other.

Mandy Thomson

14:18 PM, 4th April 2017
About 2 years ago

"when I initially moved in there was no official landlord as the building was being sold to another landlord (so the flat-mate that had me move in was speaking with an interim housing office)."

This strongly suggests to me that you're the lodger of your flatmates, and the fact that you pay rent to them (although you might expect one "lead tenant" to collect the rent from co-tenants in a house share) backs this up.

If you are a lodger, your resident landlord (your flatmates) need only give you a up to a month's notice to quit (no reason needed) and would not need a court order to enforce it; they can simply change the locks after the notice has expired.

I would suggest contacting the owner of the flat to confirm this. If you don't know how to find them, check Land Registry. Order a copy of the Title register and the Proprietorship (B Register) section will show who the current registered owner is and their address.

Mandy Thomson

14:30 PM, 4th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "02/04/2017 - 15:15":

Shay can't be a sub tenant of her flatmates as they are living in the property; if she hasn't got a tenancy with the flatmates' landlord, then she is the lodger (a licencee) of the tenants, which isn't illegal, though might be breaking the terms of the flatmates' tenancy agreement if their landlord hasn't given permission.

paul smith

11:43 AM, 8th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Remember to write to the tax office with your co-tenant and landlords details. Always interesting to see what they are declaring v what you are paying (especially when actual cash is involved in rent payment)


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