Permitted Occupier’s rights?

by Readers Question

8:39 AM, 26th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Permitted Occupier’s rights?

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Permitted Occupier’s rights?

My tenant has given his notice after being 3 months in arrears with his rent. However his partner [now ex-partner], who is named as Permitted Occupier, is refusing to leave the property.

What rights does this PO have or can I just go and change the locks after the tenants notice expires?

Many thanks

Johnoccupier



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:43 AM, 26th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi John,

I found a response Chris Sheldon of LettingSupermarket gave on a similar thread >> http://www.property118.com/tenants-daughter-comes-age-ast/69789/

"Strictly speaking the occupier does not have a right to stay on, they were only permitted occupation whilst the tenant was in occupation. Therefore if the tenant was to leave the property suddenly the tenant would still be liable for the rent and therefore responsible for the state of the property and the normal route should be followed to evict the tenant.

If, as an example, the tenant had gotten into arrears and agreed to leave the property on a certain date (obviously fully documented with a surrender of tenancy), left but in effect gave the occupier permission to stay on, firstly you have not received vacant possession of the property and the tenant is still liable for rent and secondly the eviction process is very quick and covered under the criminal justice and public order act. You would have to make an emergency application to the courts for an interim possession order. If from 24 hours once the order is served the tenant has not left the property the police have the right to access the property and remove the occupier (if it reached this point i would advise taking a locksmith with you as the police aren’t renowned for being gentle when it comes to gaining access). A final hearing would follow 7 days from that date and then a final possession order if the tenant cannot present a valid defence.

It is unlikely that it would reach this point as most occupiers would leave when the tenant left, it is however very important not to demand rent from the occupier as an occupier under the terms of the tenancy agreement is not responsible for this and it could be perceived in law that by accepting rent you are in fact creating a new tenancy with the occupier and thus giving them the same rights as a tenant on a new contract."

John Roberts

10:26 AM, 26th March 2015
About 4 years ago

The PO obviously has no intention of leaving after the tenancy ends. She has been to the local Housing Services and look as if they condone her just staying on and they have advised her:
"We believe that were this landlord to remove Kristina (assuming she had not already left) without a court order, he would commit the criminal offence of illegal eviction which could ultimately result in an unlimited fine and/or prison.This landlord needs to get good legal advice.".
This view seems to bear out what you have said so I had better do as they say, get a good lawyer and wave goodbye to the £2K rent arrears - a happy lot is a landlord's lot eh?

Romain Garcin

11:21 AM, 26th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi John,

If your tenant does not gives you vacant possession by the time his notice takes effect you would be entitled to claim double the previous rent.

Now, you might not ever see that money, however it might be an useful tool to motivate him to get rid of his ex-partner: As the tenant I believe he could simply tell his ex-partner to leave then change the locks.

From what I have recently read, the council's opinion may be incorrect. However I do agree that you need good legal advice before attempting to change the locks.

John Roberts

11:53 AM, 26th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Unfortunately his ex has their new baby so the tenant will not do anything to make them homeless, especially if it doesn't cost him anything!
As usual the landlord will come out as being callous, throwing a mother and child out on the street - pity the Social Services aren't more responsible.

Mandy Thomson

13:51 PM, 26th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi John

I agree with Neil's post insofar as the tenant could still be deemed to be in occupation by permitting his partner to stay there.

However, in order to avoid a legal mess, it's important that you don't accept rent from the occupier or do anything to support her staying there, or she could possibly argue, or at least attempt to argue, that you'd granted her a tenancy - see this post from last year http://www.property118.com/benevolence-backfired-please-help/67570/

If you can, work with her and the local authority to get her rehoused, as she's clearly in priority need (as she has a young child and also if she is facing eviction within a month or less). Make sure she has a copy of the AST and her partner's eviction notice to give the housing department. As we know, local authorities have frequently practised "gatekeeping" in the past, but after the recent judgment against Southwark Council http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2015/02/southwark-gatekeeping-all-of-the-wrong/, this is hopefully changing. It will also depend on whether the area has a housing shortage and/or is a more affluent area, so they have the resource to rehouse her more quickly.

Gary Nock

19:43 PM, 26th March 2015
About 4 years ago

I personally would not try and evict without a court order. This could get very messy.

As far as I am concerned there's no such thing as a permitted occupier. They are either a tenant or children of the tenant.

Rob Crawford

20:40 PM, 28th March 2015
About 4 years ago

I think some of the responses here has over complicated the issue. The tenant has served notice as such even if his partner was considered a tenant the tenancy agreement has now been terminated and assuming the notice period has lapsed neither party has a right of possession and as such either remaining in the property can be evicted by the courts.


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