My landlord thinks I’m a lodger – please help me

by Readers Question

13:43 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

My landlord thinks I’m a lodger – please help me

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My landlord thinks I’m a lodger – please help me

I moved into a room 2 years ago in a flat that has 3 other people renting out rooms. My landlord thinks I'm a lodger - please help me

The owners DO NOT live in the flat.

I recently lost my job and have become past due on my rent.

In a recent discussion with my landlord regarding the possibility of eviction he told me I’m a lodger and therefore have no rights and he can ask me to leave within seven days and can physically move me out.

My letter of agreement does say between owner and lodger but the owner has never lived in the flat.

Am I a tenant?

Am I entitled to at least 14 days notice even if my letter of agreement says 7 and won’t the owner need to get a court order to take possession?

Nikolas Tzanis



Comments

Mark Alexander

14:01 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Nikolas

Based on what you have said your landlord is wrong.

You are a tenant.

Your landlord will need to get a possession notice from the Courts to evict you.

The notice periods which are required prior to seeking a possession order are either 14 days or two months depending on whether or not you are in default. The two month notice period tends to be the norm for reasons I will not go into here.

If your landlord harasses you call the Police and your local council Tenancy Relations Officer. If they don't have a Tenancy Relations Officer tell them you want to speak to the person performing the TRO function.

If you landlord evicts you illegally the TRO is empowered to get you back into the property.

Note that if you fall into arrears or cause damage to the property your landlord can take legal action against you which could affect your credit status and also prevent you from obtaining another rented property.

Speak to a benefits adviser ASAP.

Mark Alexander

15:17 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "02/09/2013 - 14:01":

PS - legislation over-rides contracts. Therefore, no matter what the contract you signed actually says, it is the legislation that counts.

Mary Latham

16:57 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Mark is right and if your landlords does not serve you with the correct Notice covered by Sections 8 or 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and obtain a Court Order he will have evicted you illegally and you will have a case against him.

As Mark has said you are putting your tenancy in jeopardy if you do not pay your rent and you are also risking not being able to get another landlord to take you if this landlord does take legal action to evict you.

Do not delay in claiming benefits because they will only pay from the date of the claim and if your landlord knows that you have claimed he will feel more secure about getting is rent and may give you time to catch up - landlords have overheads to cover and some landlords are just not in a position to allow a tenant to continue to live in their properties without paying rent, tenants often don't realise this and think that the landlord just does not understand their situation.

I hope that you get it sorted out quickly

 
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Vanessa Warwick

18:26 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Nikolas,

I am sorry to hear of your plight.

I concur with Mark and Mary that you are a tenant, not a lodger.

They have already given very sound advice.

I would add that open communication with your landlord, keeping him informed of your situation, making a part-payment if you can are all good ways to work with the landlord, rather than against him/her.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

13:07 PM, 3rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "02/09/2013 - 14:01":

Thank you Mark I do appreciate the reply.

I will speak to my local Housing Aid and let them know what is going on.

Mark, do you know once the notice period of 14days expire and if i have not found new accomodation how long does it normally take for the possession order to be granted and what time frame would the courts allow me to leave?

Mary Latham

13:34 PM, 3rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nikolas Tzanis" at "03/09/2013 - 13:07":

If the landlords has served a Section 21 Notice you have 2 months before he can take it to court. If he has served a Section 8 Notice he can take it to court after two weeks and it depends on how many cases are in the queue before him. If he has not served a correct notice he will not get a court order at all. From your post this landlord has not served the correct notice and therefore if he tries to make you leave he will have broken the law. Please go an ask for advice from your local authority because they will contact the landlord and warn him not to evict you illegally.

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My book, where I warn about the storm clouds that are gathering for landlords is here >>> http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1484855337

Mark Alexander

13:45 PM, 3rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nikolas Tzanis" at "03/09/2013 - 13:07":

Hi Nikolas

Putting your landlord in a position whereby he/she needs to get a possession order and bailiffs to get you out is very bad news for you as it will cripple your credit history and also your chances of being able to rent another property. Please, for your own sake, avoid that at all costs and follow the excellent advice offered by the very experienced landlords who have commented above please. By all means show this discussion thread to your landlord.

It may well be that your landlord can't afford the rent any more than you can afford to pay it right now. It's those types of situations that cause frustrations and unpleasantness between landlords and tenants. Remember, your landlord could also be facing financial ruin as a result of your crisis. Try to keep a level head regardless of how emotive your landlord might become. Communication is the key to a successful outcome in these cases.

To answer your question specifically in terms of how long an eviction could take please see this thread which is written by the UK's most experienced tenant eviction specialist >>> http://www.property118.com/how-long-does-it-take-for-a-tenant-eviction/42533/
.

13:50 PM, 3rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Thank you Mary and Mark,

Yes im trying hard to work out a repayment plan but the owner is a bit prideful and doesnt like the idea of me living there with a past due amount unpaid. I would think its best for her to recoup as much money as possible as evicting me wont get her money back soon.

Mark or Mary,

If the owner serves me with a 7day notice and sticks to the idea that im a lodger can they get a possession order from the court without proving im a lodger? In other words how do i stop the court from treating me as a lodger if i dont know when or how they get that order

Mark Alexander

14:02 PM, 3rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nikolas Tzanis" at "03/09/2013 - 13:50":

Hi Nikolas

Just to leave no stone unturned, why might your landlord think you are a lodger?

Is your agreement definitely between you and the property owner (landlord) or you and one or more of the landlords other tenants? Who do you pay your rent to?

If you pay your rent to the property owner and you can prove that and if it can be proven that the property is NOT the property owners principal private residence then there is no logical reason why the Courts would grant possession on the basis of you being a lodger. Point to note however, if you are a lodger then the Courts don't need to grant possession either, your landlord could just change the locks and remove your belonging the first time you leave the property. If he does this, and you can prove that you were a tenant and not a lodger you could claim significant compensation. However, this is not a simple or cheap process so you would need the backing of a charity such as Shelter or your local council tenancy relations officer. They are not obliged to give you this backing and they only have so much resource so they do cherry pick their cases. If they have any reason to believe the case is anything other than clear cut and you will make the perfect witness and see the case through to it's conclusion they may not give you the backing you will need.

You best bet is to develop rapport with your landlord and if possible, raise the money from friends, family or loans to pay off the arrears.
.

14:07 PM, 3rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Mark, the owner attempted to tell me im a lodger before i knew what that meant. The letter of agreement says "between owner and lodger" . However 100% absolutely the owner does not live in the property so my best guess is that they take this approach hoping that tenants dont know there rights. I will inform them that i know mine and hope they dont illegally lock me out. As a tenant do i have the right to change the lock on my room and garden back door?

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