Ex-girlfriend refusing to move out

Ex-girlfriend refusing to move out

22:01 PM, 16th August 2013, About 10 years ago 16

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I am the tenant of a one-bedroom flat. I moved in almost two years ago. I have a one-year fixed term tenancy which was renewed about ten months ago.Ex-girlfriend refusing to move out

My girlfriend who I have now broken up with moved in with me. She didn’t pay towards the rent and bills for almost a year due to not having an income. She then paid half the rent and bills for a year, before refusing to pay anything more when we broke up recently.

I would like to move out at the end of my tenancy but my girlfriend is refusing to move out. She has been to the council who have advised her that she cannot be evicted at short notice and that she should stay put until forced to move. She applied to take over the tenancy but her application was rejected as her stated income did not cover the rent.

The lettings agent who acts for my landlord tells me that I am liable for all costs if she refuses to leave the property at the end of the tenancy and that it may take six months for the agency to go to court and get her out.

I asked her to leave verbally two months before the end of the tenancy and the agency have emailed her a written request with about six weeks notice, saying that they require vacant possession at the end of the tenancy, and asking her to confirm she will leave the property by then. In their email to her they said she has no right of possesion as she is not the legal tenant. They have also said that they will take pre-emptive legal action if she does not confirm that she will leave the property.

My questions:

1. Is she correct in thinking I can’t ask her to leave without a court order? She is not on the tenancy agreement, but is not obviously an excluded occupier either as I am not the landlord.

2. Is the lettings agent correct in saying that I would be liable for all the rent and court costs until she can be evicted?

3. The lettings agent says they would give permission for me to change the locks at the end of the tenancy if she refuses to move. Would that be an illegal eviction or is it an option open to me?

Changing the locks doesn’t appeal to me but nor does paying someone else’s rent for six months or a further six months of cohabitation, with the eviction notice being in my name.

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

22:37 PM, 16th August 2013, About 10 years ago

If I was faced with the same scenario I would also seek advice here. From what you have said I am 99% certain that you have done everything that you need to do and that you could just bag up her stuff and change the locks. My understanding is that you being a tenant makes her as much an excluded occupier and your lodger as it would if you were a resident landlord who owned the property. I might be wrong though and I am prepared to be corrected on this. As I said, I would raise the question here to clarify my own thoughts if one of my tenants posed the same question to me. Hopefully one of the people who can quote legislation as if they'd written it will be along shortly.

23:00 PM, 16th August 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "16/08/2013 - 22:37":

As Mark Says, your ex has the same rights as a lodger. Basically, you have to give her 'reasonable notice', which you have done, and then you can quite legitimately change locks or do whatever you need to keep her out of the property. Obviously that doesn't include physically removing her.

Occasional contributor to this site Tessa Shepperson runs a site called http://www.lodgerlandlord.co.uk where I am sure she has explanations of suitable eviction options. Some time ago I wrote this http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index/lodgers_excluded_occupiers/0-38 but I suspect Tessas site is more comprehensive.

Jay James

10:57 AM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

I've just read the thread header. This is one of my biggest fears should I have a gf come live with me.You really have my sympathy! Considered comments later..

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:03 AM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jay Jay" at "17/08/2013 - 10:57":

Well Jay Jay, pre-nups, lodger agreements and condoms ain't romantic but it's either that or you takes you chances. Same advice to the ladies.

Jay James

11:32 AM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "17/08/2013 - 11:03":

lol, condoms, well erm I sorted that over ten years ago, snip snip. Still, best be careful and be sure to use them! Pre-nups are yet another area of vagueness in UK law, still they are best used with both parties taking legal advice before signing, then a judge is more likely to abide by them. Me being me, that's still not clear cut enough, so I think it unlikely I'll ever live with a partner. I

Mary Latham

12:08 PM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dave Reaney" at "16/08/2013 - 23:00":

I agree with Dave. There is no danger of her saying that she was legally evicted by you because you are not the landlord and she is not your tenant. Despite that fact that you have no contract with her she is sharing your home and therefore you have the legal right to ask her to leave with fair notice and to enforce that notice by removing her belongings, but not her, and changing the locks when she is not inside of the property. You have done the right thing my emailing her to ask her to leave because you now have evidence of written Notice.

The Letting Agent is correct if you do not give vacant possession you remain liable to pay the rent etc. Simply moving out yourself and leaving the agent to remove your lodger is not enough. If you have been given permission to change the locks this is as much as the agent/landlord can do to help you.

She has obviously not been honest with the local authority and if she explains the facts to them they will see that she has been made homeless and that they have a statutory duty to find her somewhere else to live. They have given her the advice that would be given to a tenant with a legal right to occupy. The email from you asking her to leave is enough to prove that she is unintentionally homeless and perhaps you could give her a copy of your tenancy agreement to support her claim because it is in your best interest to help her.

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Jay James

12:26 PM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

I use to let rooms to lodgers some years ago as a resident landlord and got burnt once or twice. It really put me off and I've done some research but cannot remember or cite my sources so am happy to have you all take my comments apart. I found the following:

When letting as a resident landlord;
* tenants are lodgers , not tenants.
* lodgers of resident landlords have far less rights than with Assured Shorthold Tenancies, perhaps virtually none.
* contracts (written or not) are the only significant way of giving lodgers rights.
* unwritten contracts are a potential nightmare for both parties,
* despite lack of lodger's rights, a landlord may be seen as the bad guy in a court case,
* it's best to not give a single flexibility beyond the contract, that you are not prepared to keep up long term, in case the lodger claims this as their right under the contract,
* make sure you actually live in the property if you are claiming to be a resident landlord,
* where you sleep at night, eg with a bf/gf at their place is your business not your lodgers, (relevant when considering being a resident LL),
* make any agreement a formal written contract for clarity,
* don't hold back from spelling out the most detailed and fussy sounding aspects of living in your home as part of the written contract, as lodgers will pick on any detail in the future to get their own way, eg when to be quiet overnight,
* be realistic and even handed with lodgers, not domineering, it doesn't hurt to be nice now and then,
* be wary, very wary of HB/LHA, study it till you die or avoid it,
* some councils try to impute rights for lodgers where such does not exist and lodgers often take this as gospel and become amateur lawyers and spout their rights at the LL,
* eviction under both AST and of lodgers is a matter for civil law, not criminal law.
* a LL must use a variety of lengthy and pain-in-the-neck civil law procedures to evict a AST tenant,
* resident LLs have only to be reasonable when evicting lodgers,
* all tenants and lodgers must use cumbersome and lengthy civil law procedures to get back into the property if they feel they have been unfairly or illegally evicted. They, like a LL cannot use criminal law procedures to get back in.

Mary Latham

12:32 PM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jay Jay" at "17/08/2013 - 12:26":

All good advice for a live-in landlord but this person does not own the property and therefore he is in a much stronger legal position especially since he has the legal right to give notice and leave the property but cannot do so without giving back vacant possession. She would have no case at all if she tried to take legal action against this man unless she could prove that he removed her by force.

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Sally T

12:34 PM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

The original post says his GF paid half the rent/bills for a year, does this give her more rights than a lodger who would of paid a weekly rent?

Jay James

12:55 PM, 17th August 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sally T" at "17/08/2013 - 12:34":

Mary Latham will be able to give a more sound answer, but no, I imagine that the gf will not have increased her rights by contributing financially for a time. there was no tenancy. Her arrangement was with the bf, not the bf's LL. Certainly, the period of financial contribution was both preceded and followed by a period of no financial contribution. I imagine a judge might consider that she has no rights because she was under an informal arrangement (and not a formal tenancy) as indicated by the bf being resident and the lack of paying market rates for the time she was there.

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